A Cultural History of Jews in California

A Cultural History of Jews in California

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With this volume of the Casden Annual Review, we continue our policy of focusing on a single topic, and in this case the topic we have turned to is, quite literally, close to home: the Jewish role in California life. The aim of this volume is to stress the cultural aspects of the Jewish experience of coming to and living in the Golden State. While we cannot hope to present in this limited venue a comprehensive and detailed history of Jews in California, per se, it is our goal to consider a number of insightful perspectives on how the Jews, who settled in California, helped shape the Golden State's culture and were, in turn, themselves molded by cultural influences that were uniquely Californian. While this volume looks at the Jewish experience in California in general---nonetheless, particular emphasis is placed on Southern California. We begin our cultural history at a crucial moment in California history, the mid-nineteenth century in the after-glow of the California Gold Rush, where we encounter a European Jewish emigrant, fresh off the boat, who can (and did) get a chance to make a fortune in the pueblo of Los Angeles and, in doing so, helped define what California is. We conclude it with a personal meditation from one of the latest group of refugees to come to the west, the Iranian Jews who were forced out of their ancient homeland some thirty years ago and who found in Southern California a particularly hospitable (yet no less difficult) place to transplant their cultural roots. In between, we are treated to a few choice snapshots of how life developed and changed for Jews in California as California itself evolved and grew. We firmly believe that there is something special about the Jewish role in California and even more so in Southern California---that here on the lower left-coast Jews have had an Americanization experience that is significantly different from that which Jews have had elsewhere in the USA. Conversely, Southern California would be quite a different place without the Jews who made it their home.As of this writing, we have just learned that the longtime President of USC, Steven B. Sample, will be retiring in 2010. President Samplea#39;s support and enthusiasm for all aspects of research relevant to Jewish studies on our campus a€”fromanbsp;...

Title:A Cultural History of Jews in California
Author: Bruce Zuckerman, William Deverell
Publisher:Purdue University Press - 2009

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