American Israelites: Cincinnati and the Shaping of Jewish Community in the United States
Lecture by Dr. Karla Goldman
Cincinnati Jews both shaped and reflected the distinctiveness of Jewish experience in the United States. In building the first long-lasting national institutions of Jewish life, the city’s nineteenth-century Jews rightly claimed leadership in the creation of American Judaism and American Jewish community. Even the title of their newspaper suggested they were engaged in an unprecedented Jewish identity project. Through national Jewish leadership and local civic engagement, these Cincinnati “American Israelites” would model the possibilities of American Jewish life. They would show that Jewishness could fit seamlessly with Americanness.
Tracing Cincinnati’s rise and fall as a leading center of American Jewish life, Professor Goldman will show that the communal choices of Cincinnati’s Jews resulted in a particular kind of American identity – one that affirmed both difference and belonging. The impact of these choices on Cincinnati Jews would help shape the progressive political landscape of early 20th century Cincinnati and the enduring national structures of American Jewish communal life. This talk will be taken from Karla Goldman's current book project of the same name.
Karla Goldman is the Sol Drachler Professor of Social Work and Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on the history of the American Jewish experience with special attention to the history of American Jewish communities and the evolving roles and contributions of American Jewish women. She directs the University of Michigan Jewish Communal Leadership Program, a collaborative effort between the School of Social Work and the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies. Goldman previously taught at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati and was historian in residence at the Jewish Women’s Archive in Brookline, Massachusetts. She is the author of Beyond the Synagogue Gallery: Finding a Place for Women in American Judaism (Harvard University Press, 2017) and has published several book chapters about Cincinnati's Jewish heritage.
Sponsor: Proudly sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and the Center for the City of the University of Cincinnati