The Jew­ish Americans

Maris­sa Lingen
  • Review
By – October 10, 2011
This book is part of the series Major Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion. For the Jew­ish expe­ri­ence, Lin­gen chron­i­cles the waves of immi­gra­tion, the con­di­tions that made emi­gra­tion desir­able, and the new lives in Amer­i­ca wrought with pover­ty, suc­cess­es and prej­u­dice from the larg­er Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty as well as from with­in the more estab­lished Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty. Lin­gen gives voice, albeit cur­so­ry, to many of the waves of Jews includ­ing Span­ish, Ger­man, east­ern Euro­pean, and Mid­dle East­ern. She also remains true to pri­ma­ry sources, as in her use of the term yehud­ishkeit as opposed to the more rec­og­nized yid­dishkeit when refer­ring to Jews of the Colo­nial era. Through­out, bold­face type indi­cates words that are defined in the glos­sary. Most Jew­ish-based words are explained with­in the text itself. With first-per­son writ­ings com­ple­ment­ing the text and dra­mat­ic black-and-white pho­tos chron­i­cling immi­grant life, read­ers get a real sense of what it was like to arrive as a green­horn” in Amer­i­ca. There are minor inac­cu­ra­cies that do not detract from the elab­o­rate research, includ­ing a com­ment that Israeli cit­i­zen­ship is the only dual cit­i­zen­ship rec­og­nized by the US. Over­all, this work has many impor­tant facts and mov­ing sto­ry intro­duc­tions which pro­vide a well writ­ten overview of the Jew­ish immi­grant expe­ri­ence. The book con­cludes with a short list of promi­nent Jew­ish-Amer­i­cans, fol­lowed by a table show­ing immi­gra­tion num­bers from cen­sus fig­ures from 1790 to 2000 with a 2008 esti­mate, along with an index, bib­li­og­ra­phy, and use­ful Inter­net resources. Grades 4 – 8.
Dro­ra Arussy, Ed.D., is an edu­ca­tion­al con­sul­tant who spe­cial­izes in inte­grat­ing Jew­ish and sec­u­lar stud­ies, the arts into edu­ca­tion, and cre­ative teach­ing for excel­lence in Jew­ish edu­ca­tion. She is the moth­er to four school-age chil­dren and has taught from pre-school through adult. Dro­ra is an adjunct pro­fes­sor of Hebrew lan­guage at Drew University.

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