A New Book by Jeffrey S. Gurock Explores Jewish Life in New York Through the 20th Century
The Lower East Side, the Grand Concourse, Borough Park, Kew Garden Hills, Riverdale.
Over the last century, these New York City neighborhoods and others have been home to Jews of all stripes. A new book by Dr. Jeffrey S. Gurock, Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University, explores the nuanced and ever-evolving relationship between these communities and the New York City of their times. In Jews in Gotham: New York Jews in a Changing City, 1920-2010—the third in the series City of Promises: A History of the Jews of New York (NYU Press)—Gurock focuses on neighborhoods, exploring Jewish life within the streets of the metropolis and showcasing the reasons for New York’s continued preeminence as the capital of American Jews.
YU News: What would you say is one of the biggest moments for Jews in New York City over the last 90 years?
Gurock: In May 1948, there were 20,000 people at the old Madison Square Garden and arguably 50,000 people out on the street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. There was a rally to mark the founding of the State of Israel and speakers from a variety of backgrounds—religious and non-religious—all answered ‘Amen’ to the shehechayanu that after 2,000 years of exile, Jews were back in their land, sovereign. I talk about that moment in my book as a crowning moment after a decade which began with a catastrophe, the Shoah, and ended in triumph. Read the rest of this entry…