The Enduring Community: The Jews of Newark and MetroWest, by Helmreich,William
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- ISBN: 9780765804938 | 076580493X
- Cover: Nonspecific Binding
- Copyright: 12/31/1998
From its founding in the late seventeenth century, Newark, New Jersey, was a vibrant & representative center of Jewish life in America. Geographically & culturally situated between New York City & its outlying suburbs, Newark afforded Jewish residents the advantages of a close-knit community along with the cultural abundance & social dynamism of urban life. In Newark all of the representative stages of modern Jewish experience were enacted, from immigration & acculturation to upward mobility & community building. The Enduring Community is a lively & evocative social history of the Jewish presence in Newark as well as an examination of what Newark tells us about social assimilation, conflict, & change. Grounded in documentary research, the volume also make extensive use of interviews & oral histories. The author traces the growth of the Jewish population in the pre-Revolutionary period to its consolidation as a recognizable community in the nineteenth century, with large-scale settlement of German Jews in the 1840s & Eastern European Jews in the 1880s. The author delineates areas of contention & cooperation between these groups & relates how an American identity was eventually forged within the larger ethnic mix of the city. Jewish participation in politics, the establishment of Jewish schools, synagogues, labor unions, charities, & community groups are described together with cultural & recreational life. Despite the formal & emotional bonds that formed over a century, Jewish neighborhoods in Newark did not survive the postwar era. The trek to the suburbs, the erosion of Newark's tax base, & deteriorating services accelerated a movement outward that mirrored the demographic patterns of cities across America. By the time of the Newark riots in 1967, the Jewish presence was largely absent. This volume reclaims a lost history & gives personalized voice to the dreams, aspirations, & memories of a dispersed community. It demonstrates how former Newarkers built new Jewish communities in the surrounding suburbs; an area dubbed "MetroWest" by Jewish leaders. The Enduring Community is must reading for students of Jewish social history, sociologists, urban studies specialists, & readers interested in the history of New Jersey. The book includes archival photographs from the periods discussed.