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there's a backstory i made errors this g twenty five to a jewish american businessman named mordecai know us had agreed to he was reading about their prosecutions and it all wrong with your foot and he decided that the solution to their misery was a colony in the new york state the european jews never changes to science but half a century later tens of thousands of jews began seeking refuge in america they settled in cities and communities across the country is today i'm back stories look supportive place for jews in american history off a look at how america has shaved it has taught me to haunt me in atlanta for example dave rabbit hole at an american flag before one of their celebration of the history of american tv today on backstory major funding for baxter is provided by the shia khan foundation the national
endowment for the humanities the joseph and rubber cornell memorial foundation and the author of mining davis foundations fb on the virginia foundation for the humanities business back stories this korean american history guys ms brown welcome to the show i'm brian balogh and i'm here with it it's a bright and we're happy to welcome yale historian joe and freeman to the show today she's filling in for peter own companies i don't have to join and we're gonna begin the show on august seventeenth seventy nine day that day president george washington is on trash paid his visit to the seaside town of newport rhode island and there's a wonderful welcome naturally for george washington would secure all everywhere this is jonathan sarna destroyed at brandeis university and for a restive since they were sort of open letters are read out to him that was for the cost of the town is of course the
first to welcome him then the christian clergy made a speech that was followed by the masons finally came the jewish or as they called it the speed bump congregation sarvis says there were only about twenty five hundred jews in the entire country and seventy nine the maybe the one tenth of one percent of the population you put had a small but prominent jewish community which was why its members were invited to address the president the wood to the newport synagogue a man named moses stations spoke on their behalf sir permit the children of the stock of abraham to join with our fellow citizens in welcoming you to newport jews although they had more rights in colonial america than they had in most places certainly did not have full rights in rhode island at least two
jews had been denied citizenship because of their religion many of the counties now states tied citizenship to a christian oath which meant shoes were often denied the right to vote or hold office standing before the president say she's chose his words carefully he knew the policies of the new federal government were still being flushed out and seventy nine deprived as the heretofore have been an invaluable rights to free citizens we now with deep sense of gratitude to the almighty this bowser of all of this behold the government erected by the majesty of the people a government which to bigotry gives no sanctioning to persecution no assistance but generally think that moses three shows is very hopeful that the revolution is really going to be a revolution and for everyone including jews what
he wants i think is to hear this directly from the president and washington well he got the message loud and clear a few days later he wrote back to the jews of newport the letter he penned is now considered one of the founding documents of american religious freedom written even before the first amendment had been ratified all gentlemen all possess a light liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship or happily the government of the united states which gives to bigotry no sanction to persecution no assistance it's a beautiful phrase getting the george washington said reassuring the jews that their home was in fact also he's humble shortz may the children of the stock of abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and
enjoy the goodwill of the other inhabitants while everyone chills citizen i am not familiar with any other country that was providing those kinds of rites to do was about time this is a much more radical statement about religious liberty it's not a matter of tolerate show in which you know means well maybe i shouldn't do it but i sort of tolerate you even though you don't deserve it is a matter of right it is policy but washington didn't stop there his staff reprinted the letter in newspapers throughout the young republic so everyone could read it washington was deliberately setting a precedent one that subsequent generations of americans have referenced to defend religious freedom
his letter has even been cited and several supreme court cases now it might seem obvious that jews are entitled to the same rights as other americans in fact that's on this point he sees a strong connection between george washington's promise and the place of jews in america today it's been a story of gradual acceptance and assimilation the moving from outsider to insider that's really the american story and if we want to understand a moment when the three presidential candidates can have closed jewish associations one he's jewish and two of them a jewish sons in law well the way i need to look at letters like george washington's letter to help us understand what the rate it yields all that help to shape the american dream today on the show we're marking the shares passover by exploring the history of judaism in
america to hear but two rabbis in cincinnati that hanukkah or american holiday also explored you're telling they offered a lot more than just what's in the live situation and we'll hear how the lynching of a jewish businessman in the early twentieth century galvanize american troops across the country but first let's tell the nineteenth century upstate new york now we just heard about jews increasing america's promise of religious freedom on september twenty fifth at twenty five a very public spectacle in buffalo took that idea one step further thousands of people filled the streets accompanied by a marching band they were celebrating the dedication of a city of refuge for the world duties on a nearby island and they all started walking in line headed by the cell phone line judge of islam or clove in judicial robe of friends and silky charm with her mind for wearing the middle of the bus to poll that's historian a rancher live he says the
man leading the parade work i know i was the most prominent american jew in the early nineties tree know i was a flamboyant newspaper publisher playwright and new york city sheriff could also been the us ambassador to tunis this new jewish colony was his idea no called it our act after the mountain in turkey where i never know a guy in the old testament landed his ark was that upon our call i thought his city air at oregon a wasn't aa son of a megalomaniac it might have been both i mean you know he's the guy that all walks around with a crimson wrote in with her and without goldin meadow on him calling himself the judge of israel there was just one small problem are at this huge colony didn't exist yet know is still needed to raise money for it he also had to persuade used to move their i think he was reading about their persecution senate paul runs in europe that were appearing
regularly in europe and in the levant and he decided that the solution to their misery was a colony inside the united states in new york state so what was it do know about the united states in eighteen twenty five that led him to think hah this is the ideal country for a jewish city of refuge you know the zeitgeist in the within the united states was one in which the old testament had a huge place within the american imagination and the idea that the united states was a reincarnation of the biblical israel those notions were as old as the puritans were who were saying that they were playing the british farrow and crossing the red sea and arriving at that the promise land but after the american revolution there was a second life of that kind of our thinking in which the american states were seen as the analogy of israeli tribes
so in creating this refuge city for jews was no more trying to help jews integrate or was he trying to create a place for them to be a people apart his plan is fragmentary we're not sure exactly what he was planning for the hundred of thousands of jews he was expecting or hoping for i think he wanted them to be a people apart perhaps something along the lines of the chinese city upon a hill to the american generals to have off a sacred community for the american world to see because if he just won them over you know he'd call them over without accommodating them on one island i mean the tension he was working with was on the one hand he wanted some kind of autonomy that's clear from what he says but on the other hand he knew that he needed to sell their land to american protestants there were hundreds of people in that recession but there were very
few jews if any i mean that you know i had for them drifting though that there's this big possession they're dedicating a jewish community and then most of the people who were there watching are not jewish so what what what was bringing those people went what counted american protestants feel about this new york and the eighteen twenties was a special place that was what we referred to as the brood over district that just saw waves of religious groups from the mill rights who became the seventh day adventists to the mormons you know so seeing a tight clothes in prison and proclaim himself a judge of his role was part of the reality you know this all comes together and make sense of a plan you know that on the face of it is a very bizarre a really basic question here i grew up in new york and sure that there isn't
an hour ad in upstate new york so what had happened why why does all fall apart when it seemed to have such a dramatic beginning well first of all the jews didn't come so you know that's on the pole and but on the push and set you know ferry potent republicanism did not tolerate ago i proclaim yourself a judge ends amassing political power without being elected and they immediately start calling him a prince who wants to amass powers that are not his to begin with we're talking to scare evil bad thing of the early republic which is gas monarchy is only know it is is aware so he repeatedly says that he will be working within the framework of the american constitution and under the american constitution but that is not enough to quell the fears of contenders so that's really interesting it sounds like you're saying or some people thought this was wacky and
maybe they have reason to think his was wacky but also that some people protested not because it was going to be a jewish community but because it was going to be a community that was testing some of the bounds of the constitution and it's that sense of whether a nation within a nation with was a feasible thing right that there was very little i mean there was song hinted anti semitism with very little i mean you know they were a good few thousands of jews back then in the united states but nothing like the jewish american community that would grow out of the one big migration ways of the late nineteenth century right and so the vast majority of americans have never laid it on a jew but you know jews and israel lights and the old testament had a huge place in the american political and national imagination would you say that no was articulating an early kind of zionism and is he had a man who's ahead of his
time well he senses the pain and the troubles that eventually give rise to zionism so he is considered a pro zionist but the solution he found was someone that even decades later would not have worked the way he he thought it was right right because the children and grandchildren of the people he wanted to bring over eventually did come but never seeking some kind of our autonomy or colony or an empire within an empire and just to be american writers the opposite right there was they were searching for just the opposite incidents exactly mr shalev is a historian at haifa university in israel and the author of american science the old testament to political text from the revolution to the civil war earlier we heard from jonathan sign a historian at brandeis university and he's the
author of american judaism in history we just heard about an attempt to create a jewess colony in upstate new york at twenty five and at the core of that interview was the question of the competing impulses of separatism and assimilation i've heard you talk about those issues in your own family yeah you enjoy and know that i come from a middle class jewish family and my parents' generation in their family just seemed always to be trying to fit in basically assimilate into what they viewed as america which wasn't a politically jewish america elling against cancer quite literally had come over in my case from russia and from hungary where gish was spoken and where religion prevailed now if you
fast forward to my experience shortly after college i ended up working new york city and all the young jewish people i knew were rediscovering their jewish roots by this was in the late nineteen seventies and early eighties so is this something that repeats itself throughout american history or have i just described but twentieth century phenomenon well mostly for amber for their seventeen the eighteenth century i don't think you can say hughes rediscover their identity because to rediscover you have to lose in the first place and in the new world as opposed to the old world they were better able to ultimately integrate into society i don't think it's the same thing as assimilate no matter how much they were in that meeting contributing to the community no fighting during the revolution helping to fund the revolution i still think that the jewish community felt like the jewish community center job where did the jews who came to america and the spears come from these early
jews were dutch some of them came from england the first jews that came to new york which then was new amsterdam they actually were dutch but they had been in brazil and when portugal took over brazil they were not really happy about having jews there so they moved so i gather the way and as significant number of jews arrived anywhere they went to work building a synagogue you would think that i'm but no actually that the first thing the pews normally tended to when they felt they really were going to settle some plays with a cemetery and not a synagogue because of what really mattered of course with the people who were they were going to leave there for eternal rest on a matter of where they would be and they needed a separate burial ground so that was the first thing that was time to do any and you know one user look across the coast there you see different jewish communities you know that when they find him tried to create a cemetery that they're starting
to think that they're going to plant roots there i think knowing that the subsequent history of jews in america it's surprising how many of them settle in the american south i'm your fellow the largest news in charleston and others in new orleans suddenly popped in my mind the jewish section of the confederate cemetery in congress and her enrichment it's a puzzling because we just all have in our minds in the story a jewish americans what the heck they're doing ok in the south to begin with and second siding with the confederacy and then third time for the confederacy them for being buried alongside confederate us i think kate when you say we don't have that in our minds i think that relatively recent memory was fixed in a way by the perhaps overly broad manta sized alliance between jews and african americans in the fight for desegregation in anti discrimination in the nineteen forties and nineteen fifties but i'm curious to know what it was really like where jews discriminated against all that much in the south
not so much before the civil war which are you know this raises hard questions about the shoes and slavery now obviously part of the fund know jewish identity of them being delivered from that and i think that term studies have shown that she did not have a particular position alter to slavery they were neither the largest slave traders are owners nor were they excluded from or felt that that was the survey wanted this so in that regard they were typical of those owners of these isolated difficult white yes that's right you know that's interesting because of course there would be sitting down at passover every year praying thanks for being released for slavery but what's striking is in between serving for the confederacy and that period aligned to that rick mckitrick talk about bryan is that the south became much less jewish because all these ways the new immigrants who came and avoided the south because a it was poor indeed there was
competition with african americans you know who were their busily trying to create the resumed economic structure so forth so brining continue that the pattern here what's the pattern as far as jews arriving or departing or being in america over the course of the twentieth century i would start joy and with immigration restriction in the nineteen twenties that really in many ways forced a lot of ethnic groups to turn inwards towards their own identities and the second really important shock in this story was the treatment of florida jews by nazi germany as that story began to come out after world war two it changed the very meaning of what it meant to be one of the most violent acts of anti semitism in america
took place in georgia in nineteen fifteen back then atlanta had a thriving jewish community atlanta's jews or german many of them had been there at the time of the civil war many of their fathers and grandfathers had fought for the confederacy so there was never any sense that there was anti semitism in our this is writer steve only a note to our listeners the following stories graphic if you have young children listening you may want to turn down the volume it all began when a thirteen year old factory worker named mary fagan was found murdered on april twenty seven nineteen thirty authorities in a wrestler supervisor at the national pencil factory pre nine year old leo frank he was an ivy league educated engineer who's also jewish oh he says the state's star witness was an african american janitor from the factory in jim calmly commonly claim that frank is big ears preying upon the girls who supervised he also testified that franken asked for his help in disposing of fade ins body after he had
murdered her kelley says the evidence against leo frank was weak calmly slur a testimony shocked the courtroom conley was a great storyteller hand in the midst of his testimony he alleged that leo frank not only seduced his young female workers but that leo frank practiced what would have even been thought of those perverse sexual acts on these girls and that he did so because he was in cantonese words not built like other men now that phrase had to do with a circumcision and this brought into the open court the idea that because we are fracked was jewish and had been circumcised he was set to vote today of oral sex abuse not just seducing these girls but he was introducing him to a kind of wild european profligacy of that dive in georgia and nineteen fifteen
seemed exotic at best and sinful and evil or worse so was essen says and i've seen in the coverage of the case when he's brought to court how quickly does it surfaces or the public conversation and a citizen does not become explicit part of the conversation until the very end of the trial when one of frank's lawyers in his closing arguments said look at this site had little fact not been a jew he never would have been prosecuted so he stated overly for the first time that frank was being prosecuted because he was a jew and frank was convicted and sentenced to death by hanging it was utterly anomalous in the history of the southern courts that the all white jury would convict a white man on the test on an apartment and shortly after his conviction for various powerful
northern jewish leaders began to rally americans to this case which soon became a cause celeb about anti semitism so frank is found guilty he sends to death but then he goes to appeal and some ways as you're in this time that a lot of this debate really stands up as my understanding so awry that's exactly right in the teens in america immigration and the pressures of social change brought by immigration were very much on everyone's mind and so there was a an uprising of anti semitism at the time of adolf ochs the publisher of the new york times so you grew up in the south he decided that he understood the south and that if he could just a quaint southerners and all americans with what he saw as the facts of oil fry case which he believed exonerated leo frank than they would come to their senses and frank would be granted a new trial based on new evidence and in your time ticks permanent with advocacy journalism and it did
not just at the torah was in favor of will fight get reported in favor of him on its front page and this cellphone a firestorm down south of reaction against the southerners cold outside interference elise is the georgians fall back with her own publications saying awful war words between norton set off the most explosive rhetoric was penned by georgia politician and publisher and tom watson watson went after the northern newspapers saying they were run by jews yosses average incomes testimony proved that frank was a jewish predator who preyed on jintao girls in his factory as well where these anti semitic charges camouflaged other anxieties among southern white men at that time yeah there was a lot of unstated shame right atlanta was a boomtown alana was a caf although south elana was already you know the shining success and it's a hand pour southerners would come in from bill country are from the flatland
sand does think they would find success but instead they would find you know really brutal economic reality that ended up forcing them to send their kids to work in factories so there was a real feeling of having been taken advantage of and also of not protecting children in this instance there was a steep schram so the appeal process goes on that the guilty verdict still stands the governor of georgia x synthesized to commute the sentence he's not gonna set frank free but he's not going to insist it be executed and my understanding is that this leads to a remarkable series of events or governor john slayton did commute real facts that sense in late june of nineteen fifteen that decision by slate and so inflamed georgians that the next morning a mob took over the state capitol another mob more stones laden's mansion he had to call out the national guard and
tom watson who had been the firebrand driving the attack against like all along editorial was to his paper in the state had been shamed and abused by these outsiders and these jews and watson said it it's time for lunch hall to take old hannah does read a bit of a queue money has debased us bothersome soulless and last of us bought and sold mary fagan pursued and tempted and trapped and then killed when she would not do what so many other girls had done for this jewish hunter of gentile girls in the name of god what other people to do now that's pretty direct them and that sort of resembles semitism into all the themes that good roles men to blame somebody in early twenty century so kubrick who tells how that turned out after watson issued the order that frank the latch the citizens of
marietta ga which is about twenty miles north of atlanta and was very fade ins hometown hand the leading citizens of marietta worked too korea conspiracy from a state prison they abducted him on the night of august sixteenth nineteen fifteen and then in a mission of considerable derring do drove him back in the day the night in a caravan of automobiles than a hundred fifty was later they get to a low growth across from mary fagan so ancestral home and there's a table awaiting their own the growth and that the fright on the table and they put a rope around his neck and they hang him to death and they disappear it was a hideous denouement to do ever since that jews all across the country were galvanized an alarm by this case down a ladder yes there were mass meetings in new york city chicago san
francisco boston and the aftermath of fried sunshine there was crying enshrined in a great deal of public dismay hand no one was ever prosecuted for polio for clinton as it happened the anti defamation league which is an organization that lobbies for justice for american jews had been formed in nineteen thirteen that it was driven to start seeking justice for america ages and understanding to is that they are not only did the sort of lead to the birth of the anti defamation league but it also led to the rebirth of the ku klux klan hallett how would that be a result of this in nineteen fifteen the euro the leo frank luncheon was kind of us from your it just so happened that the dmv versus lee birth of a nation premiered that year and birth of a nation glorified the original plan the culmination
of this movie and the lynching of leo frank was the spark that ignited the klan and that's why the wheel for cases such a touchstone because you have these two polar ali opposed forces in american life the ad on the kkk it really grew out of that this leader frank case marks and complicated history of jews in america american jews always felt that america was in the famous phrase the great exception and that the anti semitism that had more crush and europe would not be found here and alysia will fry just galvanized all these racial regional differences that they are in some ways still out there is the topic of our polarized conversation too mr rivera thank you
this week jewish families are sitting down to a passover seder it's one of many holidays and jewish calendar there's also were shown on the jewish new year you to pour the day of atonement sicko fees to boost the list goes on there's one jewish holiday this particularly american in the way that celebrated hanukkah the festival of lights for most of its history and has been a relatively minor religious holiday bizarre dianne ashton says that meeting sixties jewish leaders in cincinnati ohio started thinking about the holiday in a new light since then it became a place that was actually very important for american jewish history where reform judaism grew up there were two rabbis in particular isaac mayor wise who was really
the big institution builder for reform judaism and max lillian thought also rabbi very good friend of wise they believe that the militia should be simplified and the traditions like keeping kosher or about working on religious holidays what the most important part of the face and those kinds of modifications this named judaism easier to do in the us where the big challenge to judaism was the clock the demands of work that really interfered with so many jewish rituals that really ask you to stop work and pay attention to religion so the cells have as you say that they would say this for america are very well that was a little of all we're concerned is something else has been lost the process right they weren't bringing young people into these congregations they just weren't getting the youth and so max lillian thought he was invited to speak at the church and he noticed that the
churches were doing things to keep their children as he called it in happy expectation of religious events and so he decided that reform judaism needed to do something for the children as well and so he and isaac mayor wise developed hanukkah celebrations in the synagogue for the children of the religious schools that they supervised those very interesting in your book when you talk about the lack of proselytizing among jews and so that securing the children's sense of connection to the faith is very important it seems to be maybe a heightened significance in the jewish tradition oh i think that's true but she was had never been allowed to proselytize sense i think before christianity became the state religion of the roman empire but certainly once christianity became the dominant religion jews were never allowed to proselytize jews are also not allowed to proselytize and muscle car in trees
and there's a great was his responsibility for the rabbis to see all these new car is coming and they will be sure that the children are secured in their faith yes and they wanted children to develop toward feeling towards the synagogue and right and so this hanukkah celebrations was something that they could really easily adapt for children it's a small ceremony so they could elaborate upon it with things that children with light like songs and of course they would treat children to something sweet to eat but in those days things like oranges or maybe ice cream the blessing is very brief the candles they're a little candles one light it each night and so it's not a holiday that requires a lot of time doesn't require you to change your schedule so the sales gravy looks as if everybody benefits from this trial or by enjoy seeing children being happy children
enjoy being happy it did it spread quickly was this a hard sell oh it was a very easy sell and then tell me how it's spread and so are british in cincinnati which i think if we had a quiz and asked people where their version of a hanukkah that they know came from cincinnati might not have been their first gas and then how does a spread from there well both lillian fall and wise edited newspapers national newspapers which is really helpful in helping them spread their ideas so curry dishes around the country could read about what different congregations were doing in atlanta for example day you wrap the torah in an american flag it for one of their celebrations in denver a day hand boys and girls into a special kinds of marches and dancing as a round of the same god so each local community created the festival that they thought their kids would like and then they share that in their newspapers and this really help the idea
to spread around the country so it sounds as if it was both very welcome connection to longstanding tradition but also a way to kind of ease the americanization of all these immigrants are coming into the country yes complain that has been heard among jews about religious practices in the us for centuries is that jews were not doing enough in this country where jews are free to be jewish they're also free to neglect our religious obligations if they want to and so high i think is the example of a religious obligation and a religious event that became more popular and more likely to be celebrated in america and kind of reassure them that they can be successful in both being american and being jewish in the us
dianne ashton is a professor of religious studies at rowan university we're going to turn now to an iconic symbol of jewish culture the deli its heyday dates to the nineteen twenties and thirties where there were one thousand five hundred and fifty kosher dailies in new york city alone and those delays were important gathering places for the children of recent jewish immigrants and over the course of the twentieth century they kick started a new secular jewish american identity to get a taste of that culture with a backstory producer kelly jones to a deli in washington dc she broke bread with a historian who literally wrote the book on
delicious ted merwin nose with a jewish deli should feel like lines at the counter me to order food from the staff sausages hanging in the windows and the whole place would be pursuing that permeated with the aroma of these foods were most typical smoked spice is not this place where an upscale sit down restaurant in dc's dupont circle that calls itself the next generation delicatessen the walls are exposed brick demand for the crisp clean typeface it's less historic brooklyn more hipster brooklyn but that's okay the prince should be in the pastrami right and the sandwiches had been on maryland's radar for a while i keep kosher so i don't tend to be in non kosher know it's like this one had to get a special dispensation from my rabbi emil to be here on the condition i bring him on the situation now is as we settle in i asked her when to
order the standards whatever we would've eaten in new york in the nineteen twenties we have the pickles leaves chopped liver there's no one's connection to delhi's runs deep growing up to your his family deputized him to pick up sunday dinner from their local deli and within five minutes there was not is that there was not more so there was not a cloud of fruit that was left on a table was like the playing that we're going to be reading about it in the passover seder of the locusts the common devour everything in sight it was like their judaism came in like the microwave and overwhelm the us and made us feel like we have these tangible connection to roots as a historian marlins research is more than gastronomical he's curious about what the daily as a cultural space meant in its heyday in the nineteen twenties and thirties children of jewish immigrants had one foot in the old
world and one foot in the new world so the daley was really the primaries space in which she used to create a kind of way station and on the path to americanization because they weren't yet in a position to make the jump from the immigrant experience to being fully american sunday nights of the daley replaced friday nights at the synagogue the daily was a place where jews could relax into their new secular american jewishness they could kind of what their hair down big the eve of their hands i think that was a big part of the appeal for jews of sandwiches jews have often been stereotyped as the volcker an uncouth and not really ready for primetime in terms of their participation in society and eating out with itself seen in those days as being an american thing to do and yet they could do it in a jewish context interrupted by the arrival of a plate of pickles half hours as well with pickled carrots and cauliflower it's followed by a huge stack of potato latkes with a side of
apple preserves and glass gravy boat with a hefty stoop of chopped liver and its time normally so this is bill marilyn the rebels of each dish and it just really printed versions of traditional jewish percent of the new wave of the traditional maryland says the first wave of the jewish deli coincided with the rise of jewish celebrities on stage and screen those stars helped popularize delis in the hearts minds and stomachs jews and gentiles away al jolson who is the biggest jewish star of the day in the nineteen twenties after his performances at the winter garden theatre on broadway would invite the entire audience back in the us for a
sandwich and the deli speaking places where both jews and non jews who soak up the stardust atmosphere almost like there was that line in the bells of brisket on their way to becoming communist armies but i'm always quick to point out that the early twentieth century was not a golden era for american jews discrimination and anti semitism we're very so there was a kind of fiction that the dal is promoted that because of this lovely atmosphere that jews have already detained their aspirations in america and the irony was that they really haven't yet but that was for the next generation that was for the post world war two generations no one says that fully assimilated generation would reduce the dailies decline they've just didn't need a weigh station in which is why when a pastrami finally arrives merwin and specs actually turning it three hundred and sixty degrees lifting the top slice of bread looking for hints of authenticity it has that really rosy colored me can see the lines of that you can
see the pepper and the spices that are better used to spices the rye bread salad with mustard which really fun and not enough to the fishes like a pastrami sandwich attack on a church that is important it's silent it's memorable and if you grew up with it it can transport you to another time but no one's left hungry for a place that can be re caption i don't think there really are very many of those kinds of places anymore for jews of all different backgrounds and get together and celebrate being jewish became public he's this
story was produced by techno in his professor to get studies at dickinson college and author of astronomy and i owe most of history of the jewish deli one promising this hour has been the push and pull between assimilation and the desire to preserve old world tradition is an example of this push and pull is yiddish entertainment in the first half of the twentieth century yes was the language spoken by central and east european jews and started out at ninety yiddish language newspapers literature and theater all enjoyed huge audiences thanks to the influx of jews from eastern europe in nineteen twenties yiddish language radio programs began broadcasting theater advice columns and music and one of most beloved yiddish critters was a fellow named seymour reich site he saying on the radio for the better part of four decades his repertoire
included traditional classroom music but he was best known for american show tunes translated into yiddish by his wife radio producers henry surprise nic and david isay visited wreck site at his manhattan apartment before his death in two thousand and two surrounded by stacks of tapes featuring wreck sites performances they captured these memories your seymour reich side and the melody box audio my culture and part of our brutal liu dana lee this is you aren't shined shoes i was in the radio it's been quite a few years i have all the plagues some bolder programs than many many years and i like it here a utility spaghetti president putin over the box may seem other side when they built and by the piano
i started a news radio in the nineteen twenties my wife and i'm aaron fresh air and for about forty years we were on so many years we didn't have enough material for a yiddish so i said to my wife likes doing songs in yiddish you'd both get the english tried to get the electron and became a very very big success katz is slight man not an event at a place in my son says that it's hanging out through one doesn't go oh yes that's one thing i never forgot his old alair is from or the songs and you know how many there are well known as it is signs
we did a yiddish allow then my main maybe have somebody read translates that i put in a word that my wife she was not the type of translated into worried that was translated was the word that should have been there you teach you teach and i did an interview with iran's seizure i should learn how to write it for
and he says why should i tell it to you you do have to do better than i did in language policing should nato statements and sunny day became of it and i had no english sponsors of our missile program on saturday night a plateful of people of that ceo of indaba so breathlessly the team doesn't you'll see my site this is insane i use it every day oh is
it many many listeners let us wonderful wonderful letters always very good today and you sang a wonderful wonderful to keep it up girl used to wait until i got through singing and they yell mommy likely didn't sinatra ha ha it's a very sad but nobody cares for a yiddish radio anymore but i still have my take is hundreds of pages of all the signs of different things out i have two three machine going all day and if you're anxious give me a call on the right you all right so you can listen to all you have to do to mention a name it we have it and then in his fortunes isn't it singing oh
yeah oh me it's been let's hear singer singer rex he died in two thousand to at the age of ninety one this piece was part of the yiddish radio project documentary series produced by henry supporting and david isay well have links to more of their stories on her website backstory radio dot org we cover large world today we see scenes that were unified history when you know i think one of the things that comes out in a lot of the conversations that
we had today is that jews were very much insiders and outsiders at the same time when you do it well i mean we talked a lot about assimilation we've talked about a lot of different ways in which the jews are american rising a bride a different aspects of judaism and yet at the same time we also are talking about a people who always at least feel to some degree a little bit on the outside and one of the things it does strike me as being distinctive it seems like the numbers matter i mean they're very very small numbers of jewish people for a very long time and even to this day it's one of the smallest minorities in the united states yet but it's right and yet the influence of jewish american seems far larger than the numbers alone no absolutely i mean even if we look at the most superficial pop cultural measures the bagel has certainly become a part of american life every bit as much
as of the taco for instance are but the numbers are much smaller how much do you guys think that has to do with jewish identity yes you think about american pop culture and many ways the dominant tone of our humor has been served a gift from jewish americans are away from milton berle to lenny bruce to seinfeld to jon stewart now to larry david and pursuing bernie sanders gets us down low brother again they say that you're just make another point right there and so it's like it's hard to imagine america without that nothing new book the gift is is that playing with what two and was talk about this sense of being inside and outside the same time there's a great affection for american culture but we can also see just how funny the situation is a way you might not quite appreciate honor us with it really does or landing an insider and an outsider at truly deadly get enough of an insider to sort of know what's going on but enough of an outsider to step back and point a finger at something and i do think there is one more element and this is a gross generalization but i think from
much of the history of judaism in the united states the vast majority of jews have wanted ferry much to be america and i think that that kind of love america's desire to be american has been reciprocated and that burning desire at the same time not accompanied by desire for leisure these words because that's going to do it for today but you can continue the conversation online ad to a website where you can tell us what you think about today's show they're taking questions for our upcoming shows on the history of gambling in america's relationship with foreign oil you'll find it all at backstory radio dot org or send email for backstory at virginia tech ed class on facebook tumblr and twitter at backstory radio
whatever you do don't be a stranger backstory is produced by andrew parsons singer courtney curtis kelley jones and emily get it mr miller executive director family is a digital editor with help from ryan a czar listed his money helps with research and special thanks this week to is a belter as an mc and a voicemail at gs daily rabon elliott majors acre our voice actors and thanks to the folks at backstory for lenny fill in backstory producer julia foundation for the humanities majors support provided by the shiite confrontation the national ballot for the humanities the joseph and robert quinn a memorial foundation in additional funding was brought about cultivating fresh ideas dr c matisse and his army by his sister is a professor of history university of virginia's
own affairs professor of history emeritus and senior research fellow at monticello and ayres is professor of the humanities and president emeritus of the university of richmond's backstory was created by andrew window of the virginia foundation for the humanities no backstory is distributed by pr x the public radio exchange
Judaism in America
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On Dec. 24th, Jewish communities across the country begin celebrating Hanukkah. The annual holiday celebrates the victory of the Jews over the Greeks, and marks the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century BC. Roughly 2% of the U.S. population is Jewish, but the influence of American Jews far outweighs their relatively small numbers. In this episode of BackStory, the Guys (along with guest host Joanne Freeman of Yale University) explore the history of Judaism in America.
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Chicago: “BackStory; Judaism in America,” 2016-00-00, BackStory, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 10, 2023,
MLA: “BackStory; Judaism in America.” 2016-00-00. BackStory, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 10, 2023. <>.
APA: BackStory; Judaism in America. Boston, MA: BackStory, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from