Jewish Life In Small-Town America

A History
Weissbach, Lee Shai
Date published: 
April 2005

In this book, Lee Shai Weissbach offers the first comprehensive portrait of Jewish life in America. Exploring the history of communities of 100 to 1000 Jews, the book focuses on the years from the mid-nineteenth century to World War II. Weissbach examines the dynamics of 490 communities across the United States and reveals that smaller Jewish centres were not simply miniature versions of larger communities but were instead alternative kinds of communities in many respects.

The book investigates topics ranging from migration patterns to occupational choices, from Jewish education and marriage strategies to congregational organization. The story of smaller Jewish communities attests to the richness and complexity of American Jewish history and also serves to remind us of the diversity of small-town society in times past.

Lee Shai Weissbach is professor of history at the University of Louisville.