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Jewish and African-American Cemeteries as Borders Uncrossed - WATCH NOW
Originally aired December 2020
Why do Americans tend to separate their dead along communal lines rooted in faith, race, ethnicity, or social standing? Dr. Kami Fletcher and Dr. Allan Amanik, editors of the anthology Till Death do us Part: American Ethnic Cemeteries as Borders Uncrossed (University Press of Mississippi/Jackson, 2020) discuss the physical and symbolic borders of America’s ethnic cemeteries and what these divisions reveal about American history. Drs. Amanik and Fletcher share the histories behind the development of New York’s Jewish cemeteries and the 1807 founding of Baltimore’s African Burying Ground, and what the physical and invisible borders of these cemeteries tell us about how Americans negotiated race, ethnicity, religion, class, and national origin in the 19th century.
Jewish Immigrants in the American Antiques Trade - WATCH NOW
Originally aired November 2020
In the early twentieth century, Jewish cabinetmakers from Eastern Europe played a pivotal role in the emerging market for antiques and their reproductions. In this talk, Briann Greenfield and Erica Lome explore the lives and careers of two immigrants, Israel Sack and Nathan Margolis, who trained together in Lithuania and became noted authorities on Early American furniture. Their clients included some of the most famous collectors of their era, such as Henry Francis du Pont, J.P. Morgan, and Luke Vincent Lockwood. As an antique dealer and cabinetmaker respectively, Sack and Margolis exemplified a larger tradition whereby America’s oldest families depended on Jewish immigrant labor to preserve and reproduce their colonial heritage. This talk recovers their fascinating legacy and demonstrates their lasting influence on American decorative arts.
The First American Jewish Woman Novelist: The Story of Cora Wilburn and her Novel, Cosella Wayne - WATCH NOW
Originally aired October 2020
Cora Wilburn’s Cosella Wayne, published serially in 1860 and never before published as a book, is both the first novel written and published in English by an American Jewish woman writer and the first coming-of-age novel to depict Jews in the United States. Set in the 1840s, it opens up a whole world of which we know little: a world of crooked gem dealers who traveled to exotic places, like Australia, India, and Venezuela, visiting Jews in each one; a world where a Jewish child might be “rescued” from her non-Jewish father so that it could be raised by Jewish parents; a world where a Jewish “father” molested his daughter; and a world where that daughter took solace in the new, heavily female movement known as Spiritualism, becoming for a time among its best-known writers. The story of Cora Wilburn—who lived for many years in the Boston area—as well as the story behind that story, form the subject of this lecture.
Summer Haven: Jews in the Catskills During and After the Holocaust - WATCH NOW
Originally aired August 2020
Phil Brown of the Catskills Institute examines the lives of local residents, resort owners, guests, and workers of the Catskills resort area through the lens of the Holocaust. A haven for both survivors and earlier Jewish refugees, the Catskills offered Jews ways to release their rising fears during and after the war years by engaging in community life. Learn how Jews began to vacation without guilt in "The Mountains," launching the "Golden Era" of the resort area in the 1950s and 1960s -- and how Yiddish language and culture (and even Yiddish jokes) in the Catskills were a form of resistance.
Jewish Women in the Labor Movement - WATCH NOW
Originally aired July 2020
From sweatshop workers to union organizers, Jewish women have been on the front lines of the American labor movement since the beginning of the 20th century. As women and as Jews, their commitment to social justice and a more equitable world made these activists uniquely qualified and determined leaders of a major American movement—and they also laid the groundwork for the feminist movement. Learn about the activists who made lasting change from Judith Rosenbaum, scholar of women's history and CEO of the Jewish Women's Archive.
Jewish Life in Rural New England: How the Jews Got to Mars Hill, Maine, and Other Stories From the Field - WATCH NOW
Originally aired June 2020
From 2002 to 2006, Michael Hoberman conducted fifty interviews with over sixty Jews from various parts of rural New England for his book How Strange It Seems. In this talk, he will tell the story of how he found, interviewed, and maintained contact with this generationally, observationally, and occupationally diverse group of people.
Michael Hoberman teaches American literature at Fitchburg State University. His most recent book, A Hundred Acres of America: The Geography of Jewish American Literary History was published in 2018 by Rutgers University Press, was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2019 and has been favorably reviewed in, among others, the LA Review of Books, Shofar, and MELUS Journal. He lives in Buckland, Massachusetts.
"From Teeming Zion's Fertile Womb": The Curious Career of Judah Monis - WATCH NOW
Originally aired June 2020
Judah Monis was born in Italy, received a Jewish education in Livorno and Amsterdam, and traveled to New York in 1716, where he affiliated briefly with that city's Shearith Israel congregation. Why and how he ended up moving to Cambridge, Massachusetts, accepting a teaching position at Harvard and converting to Christianity is the subject of this talk hosted by the Jewish Heritage Center and presented by Michael Hoberman, the author of New Israel/New England: Jews and Puritans in Early America.
Return to the Catskills - WATCH NOW
Originally aired June 2020
Phil Brown, Founder and President of the Catskills Institute, discusses the Jewish experience in the Catskills; from the first Jewish boarding house before the turn of the 20th century, through the decline and current transformation. This presentation shows images of the hotels and bungalow colonies, the people who stayed and worked there, and the food and entertainment that sustained them.