Food has been not only important in Jewish culture and history. It has been central to the Jews’ ideas about themselves and about others, as well as their social and communal practices. Historically Jewish communities functioned around the sanctity of food and communal control. How did migration to the United States challenge and expand Jewish foodways? How did the vast diversity of America and the abundance of food impact the way they engaged with food?
Hasia Diner is the Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University, with joint appointment in the department of history and the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. She is also director of the Goldstein Goren Center for American Jewish History. She has built her scholarly career around the study of American Jewish history, American immigration and ethnic history, and the history of American women. She has written about the ways in which American Jews in the early twentieth century reacted to the issue of race and the suffering of African Americans, and the process by which American Jews came to invest deep meaning in New York’s Lower East Side. Her most recent book, We Remember with Reverence and Love: American Jews and the Myth of Silence After the Holocaust (2009) won the National Jewish Book Award in the category of American Jewish Studies. She has also written about other immigrant groups and the contours of their migration and settlement, including a study of Irish immigrant women and of Irish, Italian, and east European Jewish foodways.