American Jewish Desk Reference: The Ultimate One-Volume Reference to the Jewish Experience in America

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9780375402432: American Jewish Desk Reference: The Ultimate One-Volume Reference to the Jewish Experience in America

From the Foremost Archive of the American Jewish Experience, the First All-Encompassing Reference to Jewish Life in the United States, from 1654 to the Present

This authoritative reference of nearly 900 entries covers all aspects of America's lively and influential Jewish culture--history, religion, rituals, family life, law, politics, business, education, music and the arts, sports, entertainment, books, language, science, and more. It is at once an indispensable resource, the perfect gift for every bar/ bat mitzah, graduation, and wedding, and a book that every Jew and many non-Jews will want close at hand. American Jewish Desk Reference brings together the events, personalities, themes and issues of contemporary Jewish life in the United States on a scope never attained before in a single volume. It's brimming with in-depth essays on significant topics and compelling biographies of hundreds of prominent American Jewish personalities. Their achievements and contributions to all walks of life are here, from Bella Abzug, Mortimer Adler, and Woody Allen, to Elie Wiesel, Henny Youngman, and Florenz Ziegfeld.

Effortless to use and a delight to both casual browsers and serious researchers, the book features:

  Convenient chronological or alphabetical organization
  Entries on over 500 influential Jewish Americans, over 100 topic essays, and well over 200 key historical events.
  Over 100 black-and-white photographs from the American Jewish Historical Society, as well as private collections.
  Fascinating sidebars, statistics, anecdotes and kernels of American Jewish lore that will surprise and delight even the most knowledgeable reader.

American Jewish Desk Reference is the best place to look for ready answers to all your questions about Jewish life and history in America.

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Review:

What do Superman, the Manhattan Project, and Star Trek's "Live long and prosper" hand sign have in common? They're all deeply rooted in the American Jewish experience, which is exhaustively documented in the American Jewish Desk Reference. Over 600 pages of timelines, biographies, and encyclopedia-style essays encompass the broad scope of hundreds of years of Jews and Judaism in the United States. Organized into sections including "Judaism and Community in America," "Sports and Games," and "Language and Literature," the book presents its subjects alphabetically or chronologically (in the history section), making particular entries simple to find.

The more than 700 entries tell about the first bat mitzvah in 1922, the American response to the Six Days War, and great Jewish basketball player Dolph Schayes. Plenty of photographs from the American Jewish Historical Society illustrate the life stories and historical essays, and add a visual sense of the spirit of life to the well-chosen words. The history section is both concise and comprehensive, beginning with Joachim Gaunse's 1588 arrival on Roanoke Island and closing--for the moment--with the 1999 opening of the Center for Jewish History in New York. Be warned: It's very hard to keep from browsing, so if you need information in a hurry you'll have to struggle to focus. On the other hand, browsing the American Jewish Desk Reference brings so much pleasure you might find yourself learning more than you intended. --Rob Lightner

From the Back Cover:


The Unique New Reference about Jewish Americana That Has Everyone Kvelling*

" . . . a thorough, detailed, and engrossing account of the many contributions Jewish people have made to this country's history. To spend a few hours reading this volume is to realize how much we all owe to America. The United States, founded on the fundamental precept of freedom, has afforded Jewish men and women an unparalleled opportunity to realize their potential and contribute to the nation's history."
--Senator Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn)

"It has more information than the Farmer's Almanac, and it's all about Jews."
--Ed Koch, former Mayor, New York City

" . . . a treasure house of interesting and useful information about the Jewish experience in America and the men and women of Jewish heritage who have made such extraordinary contributions to American culture. Well-organized and meticulously researched, it will be an indispensable reference work for scholars and laymen alike." --Henry A. Kissinger

" . . . an absolutely invaluable guide to anyone who writes about, thinks about, or is involved in the Jewish community. Nowhere else can one find relevant statistics, biographies, definitions and other important listings. Even in this age of instant electronic information retrieval, there is no substitute for a book with facts, and this one has them all." --Alan M. Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

" . . . a most enjoyable source of useful information about Jewish culture in America. This volume is a source of both knowledge and pleasure, especially for younger generations, and will make everyone who reads it proud of American Jewry's achievements. The Desk Reference will serve as my personal road map through the complex and fascinating history of the American Jewish experience."--Beverly Sills

"At last, a comprehensive source on the Jewish experience in America. The American Jewish Desk Reference is an easy-to-use tome full of facts and figures that answers questions about and puts into perspective American Jewry. It will have a prominent place on my desks at work and at home."
--Abraham H. Foxman National Director Anti-Defamation League

"An excellent work, majestic in scope and reliable in content, as befits a product of the American Jewish Historical Society. It should prove useful and popular. The general entries are first-class."
--The late Professor Geoffrey Wigoder, Editor-in-Chief, Encyclopedia Judaica,Hebrew University, Jerusalem
*Kvell, American Slang, derived from Yiddish,meaning to be extraordinarily pleased; especially, to be bursting with pride, as over one's family.

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