Postwar Stories: How Books Made Judaism American (Paperback)

Postwar Stories: How Books Made Judaism American By Rachel Gordan Cover Image
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The period immediately following World War II was an era of dramatic transformation for Jews in America. At the start of the 1940s, President Roosevelt had to all but promise that if Americans entered the war, it would not be to save the Jews. By the end of the decade, antisemitism was in decline and Jews were moving toward general acceptance in American society.

Drawing on several archives, magazine articles, and nearly-forgotten bestsellers, Postwar Stories examines how Jewish middlebrow literature helped to shape post-Holocaust American Jewish identity. For both Jews and non-Jews accustomed to antisemitic tropes and images, positive depictions of Jews had a normalizing effect. Maybe Jews were just like other Americans, after all.

At the same time, anti-antisemitism novels and "Introduction to Judaism" literature helped to popularize the idea of Judaism as an American religion. In the process, these two genres contributed to a new form of Judaism--one that fit within the emerging myth of America as a Judeo-Christian nation, and yet displayed new confidence in revealing Judaism's divergences from Christianity.

About the Author

Rachel Gordan is Assistant Professor of Religion and Jewish Studies and the Samuel "Bud" Shorstein Fellow in American Jewish Culture and Society at the University of Florida. She has published articles in academic journals including Religion and American Culture, Method & Theory in the Study of Religion, and Jewish Quarterly Review as well as outlets like the Forward, Tablet, Religion & Politics, the New York Jewish Week, and The New York Times.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780197694336
ISBN-10: 0197694330
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: March 8th, 2024
Pages: 312
Language: English