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At home in the city: Jewish urban history between the new and old worlds.

I purchased my well-thumbed and well-annotated copy of At Home in America: Second Generation New York Jews at the University of Maryland bookstore a few months after completing my undergraduate degree at Harvard University. At the time, I was working in Washington, D.C. at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, pursuing my fascination with historic urban architecture--a fascination that dated from my high school years in New York City. When I began my studies at Harvard, I hoped to develop this long-standing interest in an academic setting, but I quickly felt frustrated. Classes in art history made me realize that I did not wish to focus on the aesthetic qualities of buildings; a seminar at the Harvard Graduate School of Design taught me that drawing and drafting were best left to others. Eventually, I was inspired by scholars like Sam Bass Warner, Jr., who looked at vernacular buildings not as art objects, but as social and cultural documents.

Things got more complicated when I tried to combine this approach with my burgeoning interest in Jewish history. One professor told me that my desire to study ethnic identity through the built environment was impossible, since "buildings can't look Jewish." Of course, I set out to prove him wrong. Using Warner's Streetcar Suburbs as a model, my undergraduate thesis examined the history of a second-generation Boston Jewish neighborhood through the lens of its physical development. (2)

During my undergraduate forays into architectural and urban history, I had never come across Deborah Dash Moore's work. Imagine my excitement, then, when I encountered At Home in America\ Here was a book that focused on second-generation New York Jews--Jews like my own Brooklyn-bred parents, the children of immigrants from Eastern Europe. As a devoted New Yorker, I also appreciated Moore's stress on Jews' affinity for metropolitan life, what she termed elsewhere as their "urban vision." (3) Most importantly, hers was the rare work that took the urban landscape seriously. Her attention to the concrete aspects of Jewish life in New York--the structures, streets, and neighborhoods in which it unfolded--resonated with me, as did her descriptions of not only prominent landmarks but also vernacular buildings such as apartment houses.

Several years later, as a graduate student in Jewish history at Stanford University, I set out to explore how the Yiddish culture of interwar Vilna--a place renowned as a center of both traditional and modern Jewish life--was reflected in the very topography of the city. While the parallels did not occur to me until years later, many of the physical characteristics of Vilna strongly resembled those in Moore's depiction of New York during the same period. I focused on the relatively new neighborhood of Pohulanka, which became an important site of Jewish activity in the ipzos and 1930s. Pohulanka's wide, leafy byways are reminiscent of the "clean broad streets" and "tree-lined pavement" of Moore's contemporaneous Bronx and Brooklyn neighborhoods. (4) Both areas featured recently built apartment houses, and Moore's analysis of the American structures as carrying a distinct appeal for modernizing Jews rings true in Poland as well. Such buildings allowed them to preserve the urban density necessary for creating a close-knit community while enjoying up-to-date amenities. In both cases, Jews also chose these spacious, verdant settings as the home of the more modern, often secularly oriented institutions they founded.

In Eastern Europe, as in the United States, such areas developed in counterpoint to older neighborhoods--in my case, the Jewish quarter at the heart of traditional Vilna, in Moore's case, the immigrant enclave of the Lower East Side. The Jewish quarter's dark, winding lanes, similar to the Lower East Side's "dingy, narrow alleys," presented a clear contrast to the newer parts of town. (5) Both were referred to as "ghettos" with a complex mix of emotions ranging from nostalgia to disdain. While these districts often served as positive symbols of Jewish tradition and community some observers were quick to distance themselves--literally as well as metaphorically--from the dilapidated buildings and unhygienic conditions that prevailed there. By the interwar period, only the most impoverished Jews remained in these venerable neighborhoods. (6) Nevertheless, even as more affluent residents chose to make their homes and build their institutions elsewhere, they remained in close proximity to these historic areas, still major touchstones for Jewish culture.

While Moore briefly discusses attitudes toward the Lower East Side, she leaves the task to later historians to explore more fully the range of connotations that this neighborhood elicited. (7) Still, a comparison of the images of these two "ghettos" would be revealing. The Lower East Side had a much shorter history of Jewish settlement than the Vilna ghetto, where Jews had lived since at least the seventeenth century. By the 1920s, only 15 percent of New York's Jewish residents remained in that immigrant quarter, whereas perhaps half of Vilna's Jews resided in the ghetto area. (8) Moreover, given the timing of immigration and the much greater size of the American metropolis, most Bronx or Brooklyn Jews had abandoned the "old neighborhood" more recently, and they lived farther from it, whereas Pohulanka was but a short walk from the old Jewish quarter. While residents of both cities expressed nostalgia for their respective historic districts by the time of the interwar period, these factors may have made Moore's subjects less likely than mine to reflect upon--and to romanticize--an area they had so recently left and could now choose to avoid. (9)

Comparisons between interwar Vilna and New York may be surprising, given their very different scales, both geographic and demographic, and given the dissimilar histories of the two cities and their Jewish communities. Yet, in both cases, Jews comprised a similar proportion, between one-quarter and one-third, of the total population. (10) In addition, both locales experienced a period of physical expansion after World War I that created new neighborhoods beyond the old downtown. In each case, a stratum of Jewish society--in Vilna, a secularizing middle class, in New York, the upwardly mobile children of immigrants--established themselves in such areas so that social and cultural change was mapped onto urban geography. In New York, poor and wealthy Jews were unlikely to be neighbors, and some middle-class districts developed a reputation for Orthodoxy, while others were known for radicalism. (11) Although the smaller size and overall poverty of Vilna precluded such specialization, Yiddish was much more likely to be seen and heard in some parts of the city than in others. (12)

Moreover, the development of both cities is part of a much larger pattern of Jewish urbanization that extends to many communities and historical eras, particularly the Western world in the modern period. (13) Moore stresses the appeal of urban density in the United States, since, through residential concentration, "New York Jews often acquired a psychological attitude of a majority, in a country where they were a small minority." (14) Furthermore, Moore maintains, the neighborhoods where Jews and nonJews lived and conducted their daily affairs existed in discrete yet nearby locations. This allowed second-generation New Yorkers both to maintain ethnic ties and to affirm American values of integration. (15)

Yet, surprisingly, Moore neglects to place her study in a larger context that would link it to a more general Jewish attraction to city life. In her recent work, she notes that American Jewish urbanization "occurred even as European Jews were migrating to rapidly growing cities in record numbers, producing parallel developments on both sides of the Atlantic." (16) Indeed, the same forces that drove Jews to New York first led them from the proverbial shtetls to the urban centers of Eastern Europe. (17) Many also traveled westward within the continent, creating a similar pattern in Germany, where those who could moved to outlying neighborhoods, and the city center became a poor district (as in Vilna) filled with recent arrivals (as in New York). (18)

These facts shed further light on the flocking of Jews to the American metropolis. Moreover, as Moore stresses, such a preference was unusual in the United States, where the rural--and, later, suburban--ideal lured the affluent away from the city. For example, she cites lower rates of urban home ownership in the 1920s and 1930s as an indication that Jewish New Yorkers resisted the notion that purchasing a private residence was the benchmark of achieving the "American dream." (19) In Europe, by contrast, Jews' tendency to remain relatively close to downtown followed a general pattern of middle-class and upper-class urban residence. A broader perspective on New York Jews' allegiance to the city, therefore, underscores both Jews' loyalty to European urban culture and Americans' exceptionalism in their rejection of that same culture.

While the predilection for urban life traveled with immigrants from Europe to the United States, Moore's study provides an example of historical writing on the New World influencing work on the Old World. As American scholars refined definitions of assimilation and acculturation in the 1980s, historians used these concepts to develop a much more nuanced view of Jewish integration into modern Western societies. (20) New studies of communities in Europe as well as the United States stressed the transformation, rather than the decline, of Jewish identity over time. (21) Moore's contribution was to connect this body of work to the built environment, adopting its critique of the Chicago School of sociology's linkage of the movement away from immigrant enclaves to a linear process of assimilation. Instead, she analyzed certain Brooklyn and Bronx neighborhoods as physical embodiments of the balance that acculturating Jews struck between maintaining group cohesion and adopting the trappings of American middle-class affluence. (22)

Complementing Moore's work, other Jewish historians applied similar insights to the study of European cities. Citing American sociologist Milton Gordon's definition of assimilation, Marsha Rozenblit used quantitative analysis to reveal patterns of social life in her study The Jews of Vienna, 1869-1914: Assimilation and Identity. (23) At the outset of The Jews of Odessa: A Cultural History, 1794-1881, Steven Zipperstein noted that the closest parallel to his case study of Russian Jewish acculturation might be the cities of the frontier United States. (24) As Zipperstein wrote in 1987, such works used urban studies as a lens for exploring new social and cultural trends on the local scale, thus creating a richer picture of how Jews adapted to modern life.

More recent scholars of Eastern Europe have added to this body of work, examining what Scott Ury has termed "the urban origins of modem Jewish culture and politics." (25) Ury links the political mobilization of Warsaw Jews to their location in the Polish capital, where they lived in high density and were exposed early and often to innovative forms of work, communication, and leisure. In Kiev, Jewish Metropolis: A History, 1859-1914, Natan Meir shows how this relatively young Jewish settlement--like Zipperstein's "frontier city" of Odessa--was a fruitful site for new forms of Jewish community and culture. (26) In the realm of literature, Shachar Pinsker argues that modernist Hebrew fiction should be seen as a product of the urban centers in both Eastern and Western Europe where much of it was composed. (27)

While these works make a convincing case for the impact of city life on Jewish history, they often fail to explore fully the topography in which their stories play out. The urban setting thus risks becoming merely a passive backdrop to the political activity or cultural production that unfolded there. In its more abstract guise, the Jewish proclivity for cities is sometimes reduced to a notional sensibility or "urban state of mind," to use Joachim Schlor's phrase. (28) Just as Jews are sometimes taken as a symbol of modernity, they now become a signifier of urbanity. Such formulations often tell us more about stereotypes of "the Jew" than about the lives of Jews themselves.

Such studies are part of a larger trend, for, since Moore's book appeared in the 1980s, the skepticism I encountered as an undergraduate toward studying the built environment has given way to a flood of interest in the sometimes overlapping themes of urbanism, space, and architecture. Building on the theoretical insight that space does not exist independently of our perceptions of it, much of this work explores issues of representation. This approach has generated a productive body of scholarship on such topics as--to cite only European examples--images of the shtetl and sites of Holocaust memory. (29) Yet it often brings us back to the same source base while slighting actual physical spaces, their construction, and their use.

This focus is no surprise if we consider that most Jewish studies scholars come from disciplines such as literature, history, and anthropology, not art or material culture studies. While there are exceptions to this limitation as well as signs that it may be changing, by and large such researchers are trained to consider textual--not visual or material--sources. (30) Mary Minty notes astutely that Jewish studies privileges the text as "the 'favored' medium of study." The Jewish studies field does not "systematically [train] its students or [encourage] its scholars to identify Jewish conceptions and practices of space," she writes, "[or] value them as evidence, or manipulate them as analytic tools ... " She then illustrates her own critique by prescribing a focus on "Jewish texts of all periods [that] contain countless descriptions of concrete places ..." (31) Another case in point is Barbara Mann's state-of-the-field survey Space and Place in Jewish Studies, which the author--herself a literary scholar--describes as an exercise in "thinking about space through the lens of text." (32)

The one clear exception is synagogue architecture, which has been widely studied by social and cultural historians as well as by art historians, architects, and preservationists. (33) Indeed, if one looks under "architecture" in the index to Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, the leading English-language journal of Polish-Jewish studies, one finds "see under synagogues." (34) This attention is clearly justified, for such houses of worship are often highly notable buildings. Constructed by and for Jews for an explicitly Jewish purpose, they are also the clearest evidence of Jews' presence in the local landscape. Yet they are the exception that proves the rule: Such a narrow focus obscures much rich physical evidence of Jewish life, particularly in its secular forms.

I would argue that Moore's work not only anticipates interest in "Jewish space," but also avoids many of the pitfalls of current scholarship in its sensitivity both to the "urban vision" of New York and to New Yorkers' concrete environment in all its variety. Presciently illustrating Henri Lefebvre's dictum that "(social) space is a (social) product," (35) Moore does justice to the complexity of city life with her thick descriptions of how Jews both shaped and were shaped by the built landscape. She describes how communal leaders constructed secular and religious institutions that embodied their values, so that landmarks mirrored local religious and political leanings, while Jewish builders erected the types of housing that their predominantly Jewish clientele desired. (36)

Moore's analysis encompasses not only a range of physical environments and social dynamics but also the interactions between them. Her focus on the street and especially the neighborhood as the crucibles of Jewish identity enhances her approach. She describes this local geography as "an expression of the interrelation of the city's social and spatial organization" that "conjured up for many Jews friendships, spatial patterns, and vaguely articulated communal values ... " (37) While she writes, on the one hand, "the Jewish neighborhood provided the physical framework" for ethnic identity, she notes, on the other hand, that Jews' social activities "within their neighborhood transformed its physical environment into a moral community." (38) In this way, the space of the Jewish neighborhood is both the site where Jewish life unfolds and the generator of that life.

Moreover, in her portrayal, all those who inhabit or visit Jewish districts--residents, workers, customers, and passersby alike--create the street life that "endows the urban environment with ethnic attributes." In a passage reminiscent of Jane Jacobs' account of vibrant New York neighborhoods, Moore describes how Jews "transformed public spaces into areas of Jewish interaction. The parks and boulevards Jews prized so highly served as the setting for ethnic expression," as merchants hawked their wares or families took a Sabbath stroll. (39) In this way, Moore looks beyond elites to consider how everyone who uses space plays a role in creating it.

Moore's work also demonstrates the insights to be gained by close attention to the built environment as a whole, including vernacular structures. She argues that the style of Bronx and Brooklyn apartment houses, together with factors such as their siting, their landscaping, and their interior design, worked to create homes that would "synthesize Jewish ethnic and American values." (40) In addition, her discussion of builders in New York's real estate industry illuminates how Jews shaped their surroundings as both producers and consumers of middle-class housing. (41)

In the context of New York Jewish history, Andrew Dolkart extends Moore's insights in a recent study of the vernacular architecture of the Garment District. (42) Further afield, her approach finds an echo in Fredric Bedoire's argument that mansions and commercial edifices built by Jewish elites from Stockholm to Budapest may be read as Jewish structures. (43) Such work further broadens our understanding of the Jewish contribution to sponsoring, designing, and using a variety of building types that comprise the modern cityscape.

Given Moore's interest in visual culture--one she developed in her later work on photography (44)--a surprising lacuna in At Home in America is its relative lack of attention to architectural style itself. Moore identifies Art Deco as "the hallmark of ostentatious middle-class apartment living in New York City," but argues that Jews placed more weight on the decor and newness of residences than on the aesthetics of their exteriors. (45) Her discussion of the rise of synagogue centers--the so-called "shul with a pool"--notes that building plans mirrored these institutions' emphasis on social activities rather than primarily on worship. (46) Yet, perhaps reacting against other scholars' exclusive focus on synagogue architecture, she has little to say about the design of these religious structures. Those depicted in the book are firmly in the classical style with only the subtlest of Jewish references, so one wishes that Moore had elaborated on her comment that the center "visibly proclaimed [second-generation Jews'] Jewish identity." (47)

A fascinating contrast to the synagogue centers is Yeshiva College, an institution that, according to one rabbinical group, "represented] the successful arrival of Orthodoxy in the mainstream of American Jewry." (48) Moore discusses in detail the college's establishment, including the significance of its dramatic siting in Washington Heights. Surrounded by parks and other educational institutions, the college sought to distance itself physically as well as ideologically from the immigrant Lower East Side. Yet its striking architecture, which she might also have noted, certainly made an impression as well. Its flagship building combined elements of the so-called Moorish or Byzantine style--commonly used in European synagogue design since the Emancipation--and the then-fashionable Art Deco style. (49) Eitan Kastner has recently argued that this innovative choice represented an attempt to create a distinct architectural idiom that synthesized Jewish and American values by evoking historic houses of worship while maintaining a forward-looking sensibility. (50)

Thus, while the liberal synagogue centers employed a more conservative aesthetic that minimized Jewish distinctiveness, Yeshiva's style underscored Jewish particularity. But we should be wary of concluding from this visual evidence that the centers' builders were more acculturated into the American mainstream than their Orthodox counterparts. As scholars of European synagogue architecture have shown--and as Moore herself discusses in her recent work--there was a complex dynamic between the legal and social acceptance of Jews and their assertive presence in the urban landscape. (51) It remains for future scholars to unpack fully the relationship between the underlying ideologies of these movements--as well as of other subgroups, religious and secular, within American Jewry--and their aesthetic choices. Such a study could shed further light on how second-generation New Yorkers sought to balance their commitments to both Jewish and American cultures, as well as just what they understood each of those cultures to be.

At Home in America, on one level, reveals the interconnectedness of Jewish history on both sides of the Atlantic. Moore's descriptions of New York Jews' devotion to urban life, their patterns of settlement within the cityscape, and the myriad ways in which they both influenced and were influenced by the growth of the metropolis have a familiar ring for an Eastern European historian. Yet, while Moore highlights how features of European Jewish society were carried to American soil, her work illustrates how scholarly trends traveled from West to East. By helping to bring the insights of American scholars of ethnicity and assimilation to her counterparts in European Jewish studies, she contributed to an innovative approach to Jewish urban history in both the Old World and the New.

The thirty-five years since the publication of At Home in America have proven Moore to be prescient in her attention to cultural geography and the urban landscape. Yet, while recent work has followed her lead in investigating the spatial dimensions of Jewish life, I would argue that she still remains ahead of much current scholarship in her nuanced appreciation of the built environment in all its variety, as well as its complex relationship to the people who create and inhabit it. Even as it is left to others to address further some of the questions she raised such as the role of architecture in expressing Jewish identity, Moore's insights will continue to be of value to scholars of both European and American Jewish history.

(1.) I would like to thank the editors of this issue, Lila Corwin Berman and Tony Michels, as well as Myra Young Armstead for their helpful comments.

(2.) Sam Bass Warner, Jr., Streetcar Suburbs: The Process of Urban Growth in Boston, 1870-1900 (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1962).

(3.) Deborah Dash Moore, "The Urban Vision of East European Jewish Immigrants to New York," in Proceedings of the Eighth World Congress of Jewish Studies (Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1984), 31-38.

(4.) Cecile E. Kuznitz, "On the Jewish Street: Yiddish Culture and the Urban Landscape in Interwar Vilna," in Yiddish Language and Culture: Then and Now (Omaha: Creighton University Press, 1998), 77-78; Sol Mutterperl in the Jewish Tribune, March 9, 1918, quoted in Deborah Dash Moore, At Home in America: Second Generation New York Jews (New York: Columbia University Press, 1981), 24.

(5.) Kuznitz, 76; Mutterperl in Moore, Home, 24; Moore, Home, 26 and 52-53.

(6.) Kuznitz, 77; Beth S. Wenger, New York Jews and the Great Depression: Uncertain Promise (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), 83-34.

(7.) Moore, Home, 65-69; Remembering the Lower East Side, eds. Hasia R. Diner, Jeffrey Shandler, and Beth S. Wenger (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000); Hasia R. Diner, Lower East Side Memories: A Jewish Place in America (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2000).

(8.) Wenger, 83. A source from 1930 notes the presence of almost 30,000 non-Polish inhabitants in the center city district roughly corresponding to the Jewish quarter; at that time, there were approximately 56,000 Jews in the city as a whole. See Henri Minczeles, Vilna, Wilno, Vilnius: La Jerusalem de Lituanie (Paris: Editions La Decouverte, 2000), 211.

(9.) While Diner describes nostalgia for the Lower East Side as beginning after World War II, Wenger dates this phenomenon to the 1920s or 1930s. Diner, 8; Wenger, 84; Wenger quoted in Diner et al., 4.

(10.) While historians differ on the earliest date of Jewish settlement in Vilna, they agree that an established community existed by the second half of the sixteenth century. Although Jews first arrived in what was then New Amsterdam in 1654, the community was transformed by mass immigration starting in the late nineteenth century. In the interwar period, the Jewish population of Vilna was 55,000 in 1923 and 56,000 in 1931; in New York, it grew from 1.6 million in 1920 to 1.83 million in 1930 to 1.79 million in 1940. These figures represent 33.5 percent of the overall population of Vilna in 1923 and 28.2 percent of the overall population in 1931; in New York, the corresponding percentages are 28.6 percent in 1920, 26.5 percent in 1930, and 23.6 percent in 1940. David Frick, Kith, Kin, and Neighbors: Communities and Confessions in Seventeenth-Century Wilno (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013), 37-38; Israel Klausner, Vilnah, Yerushalayim de-Lita: dorot aharonim, 1881-1939, 2 vols. (Israel: Ghetto Fighters' House, 1983), 250-251; Moore, Home, 23.

(11.) Moore, Home, 71-74 and 82.

(12.) Kuznitz, 67-71.

(13.) On the history of New York Jewry in this larger context, see Eli Lederhendler, New York Jews and the Decline of Urban Ethnicity, 1950-1970 (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2001), 1-5.

(14.) Moore, Home, 233.

(15.) Ibid., 52-53.

(16.) Deborah Dash Moore, Urban Origins of American Judaism (Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia Press, 2014), 2.

(17.) Jacob Lestschinsky, "Di yidishe imigratsye in di fareynikte shtatn (1870-1900)," in Geshikhte fun der yidisher arbeter-bavegung in di fareynikte shtatn, ed. Elias Tcherikower (New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, 1943), 38-39.

(18.) Arcadius Kahan, "The Urbanization Process of the Jews in Nineteenth-Century Europe," in Essays in Jewish Social and Economic History, ed. Roger Weiss (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 75-78.

(19.) Moore, Home, 51.

(20.) Russell A. Kazal, "Revisiting Assimilation: The Rise, Fall, and Reappraisal of a Concept in American Ethnic History," American Historical Review vol. 100 no. 2. (April 1995): 437-471

(21.) Jonathan Frankel, "Assimilation and the Jews in Nineteenth-Century Europe: Towards a New Historiography?" in Assimilation and Community: The Jews in Nineteenth Century Europe, ed. Jonathan Frankel and Steven J. Zipperstein (Cambridge, U.K. and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 17-23; Hasia R. Diner, "American Jewish History," in The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies, ed. Martin Goodman (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2002), 480.

(22.) Moore, Home, 28 and 52.

(23.) Marsha L. Rozenblit, The Jews of Vienna, 1869-1914: Assimilation and Identity (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993), 3-4.

(24.) Steven J. Zipperstein, The Jews of Odessa: A Cultural History, 1794-1881 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1986), 1 and 4-5.

(25.) Scott Ury, Barricades and Banners: The Revolution of 1905 and the Transformation of Warsaw Jewry (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012), 4.

(26.) Natan M. Meir Kiev, Jewish Metropolis: A History, 1859-1914 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010).

(27.) Shachar M. Pinsker. Literary Passports: The Making of Modernist Hebrew Fiction in Europe (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011).

(28.) Joachim Schlor, "Jews and the Big City: Explorations on an Urban State of Mind," in Jewish Topographies, eds. Julia Brauch, Anna Lipphardt, and Alexandra Nocke (Hampshire, U.K.: Ashgate, 2008), 223-238. For work that paints a broad picture of Jews' "urban experience"--in this case, in New York--without losing its sense of specificity, see Lederhendler, New York Jews and Ibid., "New York City, the Jews, and 'The Urban Experience,"' Studies in Contemporary Jewry XV, ed. Ezra Mendelsohn (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1999): 49-67.

(29.) On the former, see Dan Miron, "The Literary Image of the Shtetl," in The Image of the Shtetl and Other Studies of Modern Jewish Literary Imagination (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2000), 1-48; Steven J. Zipperstein, "Shtetls Here and There: Imagining Russia in America," in Imagining Russian Jewry: Memory, History, Identity (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999), 16-39; Steven T. Katz, ed., The Shtetl: New Evaluations (New York: New York University Press, 2006); and The Shtetl: Image and Reality, eds. Mikhail Krutikov and Gennady Estraikh (London: Legenda, 2000). On the latter, see James E. Young, The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993); Michael Meng, Shattered Spaces: Encountering Jewish Ruins in Postwar Germany and Poland (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2011); Erica T. Lehrer, Jewish Poland Revisited: Heritage Tourism in Unquiet Places (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013); and Jewish Space in Contemporary Poland, eds. Erica T. Lehrer and Michael Meng (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015).

(30.) For exceptions, see the work of the Bet Tfila--Research Unit for Jewish Architecture in Europe, for example, Jewish Architecture in Europe, eds., Aliza Cohen-Mushlin and Harmen H. Thies (Petersberg: Michael Imhof Verlag, 2010). Much of the work of this joint German-Israeli research team focuses on synagogues. For studies of shtetl architecture, see the work of Alla Sokolova, for example her "Shtetl Houses and Synagogues: From the History of Architecture to Stories about Architectural Monuments" in Ibid., 159-173. For signs of growing attention to material culture within Jewish studies, see the Early Modern Workshop in Jewish History entitled "Jewish Consumption and Material Culture in the Early Modern Period," held on August 19-2.1, 2007 at Wesleyan University, and also see the recent graduate student conference "The Materials of Jewish Studies" held on May 28-29, 2014 at Columbia University. See http://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/emw/emw2007/ and https://jewishmaterialityconference.wordpress.com/.

(31.) Mary Minty quoted in Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert and Vered Shemtov, "Introduction: Jewish Conceptions and Practices of Space," Jewish Social Studies, new series, vol. 11 no. 3 (Spring/Summer, 2005): 4.

(32.) Barbara E. Mann, Space and Place in Jewish Studies (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2012), 2.

(33.) This literature is immense. Among notable recent contributions, see Saskia Coenen Snyder, Building a Public Judaism: Synagogues and Jewish Identity in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2013), which focuses on Western Europe. In the American context, outdated but still useful are Rachel Wischnitzer, Synagogue Architecture in the United States: History and Interpretation (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1955) and Two Hundred Years of American Synagogue Architecture (Waltham, Mass.: American Jewish Historical Society, 1976).

(34.) Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, Index to Volumes 1-12, ed. Antony Polonsky (London: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2000): 94.

(35.) Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishing, 1991), 27.

(36.) Moore, Home, 70-71 and 39-48. She has continued to develop this point in her recent work, noting how urban concentration has both influenced American Jewish life and heightened Jewish influence on American cities. Ibid., Urban Origins, 4-5.

(37.) Ibid., Home, 12 and 61.

(38.) Ibid., 61-62. While At Home in America focuses on the neighborhood as the cornerstone of American Jews' local identity, in Urban Origins of American Judaism Moore further elaborates on the role of the street in American Jewish culture. Ibid., Urban Origins, 71-m. See also Ibid., "On City Streets," Contemporary Jewry 28 (2008): 84-108.

(39.) Ibid., Home, 83. See Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (New York: Vintage Books, 1961). I thank Lila Corwin Berman for suggesting this parallel.

(40.) Moore, Home, 52.

(41.) Ibid., 39-57.

(42.) Andrew S. Dolkart, "From the Rag Trade to Riches: Abraham E. Lefcourt and the Development of New York's Garment District," in Chosen Capital: The Jewish Encounter with American Capitalism, ed. Rebecca Kobrin (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2012), 62-92.

(43.) Fredric Bedoire, The Jewish Contribution to Modern Architecture, 1830-2930 (Jersey City: KTAV Publishing House, 2004).

(44.) On this subject, see most recently her Urban Origins, 112-150.

(45.) Moore, Home. 50-51 and 27.

(46.) Ibid., 135.

(47.) Ibid., 136-137.

(48.) Quoted in Aaron Rothkoff, Bernard Revel: Builder of American Jewish Orthodoxy (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1972) quoted in Moore, Home, 185.

(49.) On the connotations of these styles, see Ismar Schorsch, From Text to Context: The Turn to History in Modern Judaism (Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1994), 77-80 and Carol Herselle Krinsky, Synagogues of Europe (New York and Cambridge, Mass.: Architectural History Foundation and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1985), 80-85. On their use in New York, see Annie Polland and Daniel Soyer, Emerging Metropolis: New York Jews in the Age of Immigration, 1840-1920, vol. 2 of City of Promises: A History of the Jews of New York, ed. Deborah Dash Moore (New York: New York University Press, 2012), 73-101.

(50.) Eitan Kastner, " Yeshiva College and the Pursuit of a Jewish Architecture," American Jewish History 96 (June 2010): 141-61.

(51.) Krinsky, 80- 85; L. Scott Lerner, "The Narrating Architecture of Emancipation," Jewish Social Studies, new series, vol. 6 no. 3 (Spring/Summer 2000): 1-30; Richard I. Cohen, "Urban Visibility and Biblical Visions: Jewish Culture in Western and Central Europe in the Modern Age," in Cultures of the Jews: A New History, ed. David Biale (New York: Schocken Books, 2002), 734-755; Moore, Urban Origins, 31-32.
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Author:Kuznitz, Cecile E.
Publication:American Jewish History
Article Type:Essay
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Date:Apr 1, 2016
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