For more than a century, the Lower East Side of New York City has been recognized and scrutinized as the largest and most vibrant immigrant Jewish neighborhood in America. In recent years a spate of art works, performances, and tourist productions have fostered increased interest in the neighborhood. This lively book explores the dynamics of Lower East Side memory and considers the changing ways that this unique neighborhood has been embraced by American Jews over the course of a century. Part 1, "The Dynamics of Remembrance," investigates multiple facets of life on the Lower East Side and considers the emerging repertoire of memory that took shape around the neighborhood. Themes include the naming of the Lower East Side, a century of photography of the neighborhood, and the colorful histories of synagogues and schools, restaurants and cabarets. Part 2, "Contemporary Recollections," examines the recent upsurge of interest in the Lower East Side as a site of Jewish heritage and cultural innovation. Topics include the creation of the Tenement Museum, walking tours of the neighborhood and visits to popular "period" restaurants, the experience of a documentary filmmaker, and the performance of memory in a refurbished synagogue. A generous selection of photographs enhances the book's wide-ranging insights into how the Lower East Side became a touchstone of Jewish identity and history.
Contributors include Stephan Brumberg, Hasia R. Diner, Joseph Dorman, Paula Hyman, Eve Jochnowitz, Seth Kamil, David Kaufman, Jack Kugelmass, David Lobenstine, Mario Maffi, Deborah Dash Moore, Riv-Ellen Prell, Moses Rischin, Jeffrey Shandler, Suzanne Wasserman, Aviva Weintraub, and Beth S. Wenger.
About the Authors:
Hasia R. Diner is Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University. Her books include In the Almost Promised Land: American Jews and Blacks, 1915_1935; A Time for Gathering: The Second Migration, 1820_1880; and Erin's Daughters in America: Irish Immigrant Women in the Nineteenth Century.
Jeffrey Shandler is a Dorot Teaching Fellow in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. He is author of While America Watches: Televising the Holocaust and editor of The Life and Work of S. M. Dubnov by Sophie Dubnov-Erlich (Indiana University Press)
Beth S. Wenger is Assistant Professor of History and Katz Family Chair in American Jewish History at the University of Pennsylvania. She is author of New York Jews and the Great Depression: Uncertain Promise and coeditor (with Jeffrey Shandler) of Encounters with the "Holy Land": Place, Past, and Future in American Jewish Life.