ACJC Research Seminar Series, Professor Deborah Dash Moore (University of Michigan), ‘Urban Origins of American Judaism’

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Date(s) - 28/08/2013
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm



28 August: Professor Deborah Dash Moore (University of Michigan), ‘Urban Origins of American Judaism’

More so than many American religious groups, Jews cast their lot with American cities. For roughly two centuries, Jews made their homes in some of the nation’s largest and most dynamic cities. Jews saw in urban space opportunities both to preserve traditions and to devise new patterns of living. Many American Jews sought to transform selected segments of the urban grid into recognizable Jewish places, putting a distinctive stamp on city streets, commerce, and culture. Thus urbanism as an aspect of Jewish life emerged as one of American Judaism’s distinctive features. In the United States, urban attitudes and assumptions became embedded in Jewish religious institutions, practices, and beliefs. Even after Jews moved to the suburbs, their American Judaism retained associational patterns and a commitment to pluralism associated with urbanism.

Professor Deborah Dash Moore is the Frederick C. L. Huetwell Professor of History at the University of Michigan, where she also directs the Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies. She is the author of To the Golden Cities: Pursuing the American Jewish Dream in Miami and L. A. (1994); a coauthor of Cityscapes: A History of New York in Images (2001); and a coeditor of the award-winning Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia (1997). Her most recent books include GI Jews: How World War II Changed a Generation (2004) and the edited works American Jewish Identity Politics(2008) and Gender and Jewish History (2010).