August 27, 2004 350 Years of Jewish Life in America is Subject of Library of Congress Publication

Press Contact: Audrey Fischer, Library of Congress (202) 707-0022
Public Contact: Meaghan Madges, George Braziller Inc. (212) 889-0909

"From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America" will be published jointly this fall by the Library of Congress and George Braziller Inc.

This compilation of essays by leading historians accompanies a Library of Congress exhibition marking the anniversary of the arrival in New Amsterdam (New York City) of 23 Jews fleeing Recife, Brazil, which passed from Dutch to Portuguese rule in 1654. It is to this singular event that today's American Jewish community traces its beginnings. The exhibition opens Sept. 9 in the Northwest Gallery of the Library's Thomas Jefferson Building and will be on view through Dec. 18, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Saturday.

"The Library"s collections, which currently include more than 128 million items, are rich in materials that document the history of the American Jewish community," said Librarian of Congress James. H. Billington."Taken as a whole, the essays offered in this new Library publication help us to grasp the uniqueness of the American Jewish experience while at the same time framing this experience within the overall context of American history and culture."

Edited by Michael W. Grunberger, head of the Library"s Hebraic Section and curator of the companion exhibition, the essays cover topics such as Jewish immigration to America, anti-Semitism, Jews and the Civil War, American Jewish women, American Judaism, American Jewish popular culture and American Jews and politics. The book is richly illustrated with items in multiple formats from the Library's collections. These include books, newspapers, manuscripts, photographs, posters, sheet music and maps - all documenting the progress of Jews in America during the past 350 years as they sought safe haven and found a home.

"From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America" - a 240-page hardcover publication with more than 100 color illustrations - will be available for $50 in bookstores nationwide and in the Library of Congress Sales Shop. Credit card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557. Online orders can be made at

The publication, exhibition and a series of public programs are made possible by a generous grant from the Abby and Emily Rapoport Trust Fund in the Library of Congress, a fund established by Bernard and Audre Rapoport of Waco, Texas, and named in honor of their granddaughters to support the Judaic programs of the Library.

About the Contributors

Hasia Diner, author of the chapter titled "A Century of Migration, 1820-1924," is the Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History and director of the Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History. She is the author of numerous books, including "Lower East Side Memories: The Jewish Place in America," "Hungering for America: Italian, Irish, and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration" and, with Beryl Lief Benderly, "Her Works Praise Her: A History of Jewish Women in America from Colonial Times to the Present," and, most recently, "A History of the Jews of the United States, 1654-2000."

Leonard Dinnerstein, author of the chapter titled "A History of American Anti-Semtism," is professor emeritus of history at the University of Arizona, where he taught from 1970 to 2004. He is the author of "The Leo Frank Case," "America and the Survivors of the Holocaust" and "Antisemitism in America," which won the National Jewish Book Award in History for 1993-1994.

Eli N. Evans, author of the chapter titled "The War Between Jewish Brothers in America," is the author of "The Provincials: A Personal History of the Jews of the South," "Judah P. Benjamin: The Jewish Confederate" and "The Lonely Days Were Sundays: Reflections of a Jewish Southerner."

Eli Faber, author of the chapter titled "Prologue to American Jewish History: The Jews of America from 1654 to 1820," is professor of history at the City University of New York, at both John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the University Graduate Center. He is the author of "A Time for Planting: The First Migration, 1654-1820," which is the first volume of "The Jewish People in America, as well as of "Jews, Slaves, and the Slave Trade: Setting the Record Straight."

Michael W. Grunberger, editor, is head of the Hebraic Section in the Library of Congress and curator of "From Haven to Home: A Library of Congress Exhibition Marking 350 Years of Jewish Life in America." In recent years, he has served as the Library of Congress curator for "Zion=s Call: A Library of Congress Exhibition Marking Israel=s Fiftieth Year" and "Scrolls from the Dead Sea: The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern Scholarship."

Deborah Dash Moore, author of the chapter titled "The Crucial Decades," is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Religion at Vassar College and director of the Jewish Studies Program. She has written widely on American Jewish history in the 20th century. Her books include "To the Golden Cities: Pursuing the American Jewish Dream in Miami and LA" and "At Home in America: Second Generation New York Jews." Her most recent book is "GI Jews: How World War II Changed a Generation."

Pamela S. Nadell, author of the chapter titled "America=s Jewish Women," is professor of history and director of the Jewish Studies Program at American University. She is the author of "Women Who Would Be Rabbis: A History of Women=s Ordination," editor of "American Jewish Women=s History, and co-editor, with Jonathan D. Sarna, of "Women and American Judaism: Historical Perspectives."

Peggy K. Pearlstein, who compiled the chapter titled "Suggested Reading in American Jewish History," is the area specialist in the Hebraic Section of the Library of Congress. President of the Research and Special Libraries Division of the Association of Jewish Libraries, she has written on American Jewish history and Jewish genealogy.

Jonathan D. Sarna, author of the chapter titled "American Judaism," is the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University and chairs the Academic and Editorial Board of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives. He also serves as chief historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History and of Celebrate 350 and most recently is the author of "American Judaism: A History."

Jeffrey Shandler, author of the chapter titled "American Jewish Popular Culture," is an assistant professor in the Department of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University. He is the author of "While America Watches: Televising the Holocaust," co-author (with J. Hoberman) of "Entertaining America: Jews, Movies, and Broadcasting and co-editor (with Hasia Diner and Beth S. Wenger) of "Remembering the Lower East Side: American Jewish Reflections."

Jack Wertheimer, author of the chapter titled "American Jewry Since 1945," is provost and the Joseph and Martha Mendelson Professor of American Jewish History at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He is the author of "A People Divided: Judaism in Contemporary America" and a series of studies on the changing institutional life of American Jewry in the postwar era.

Stephen J. Whitfield, author of the chapter titled "American Jews and Politics," is the Max Richter Professor of American Civilization at Brandeis University. He has served as visiting professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) and twice at the Sorbonne. He is the author of eight books, most recently "In Search of American Jewish Culture," and is the editor of "A Companion to 20th-Century America."


PR 04-152
ISSN 0731-3527