Laura Arnold Leibman, Messianism, Secrecy and Mysticism: A New Interpretation of Early American Jewish Life (Valentine Mitchell Press, 2012)
Messianism, Secrecy and Mysticism tells the history of Early American Jews, focusing on the objects of everyday life used and created by Jews, such as ritual baths, food, gravestones, portraits, furniture, as well as the synagogue. By uncovering these objects and exposing the common culture of the Jewish Atlantic world, the book provides a fresh understanding of a crucial era in Jewish and American history.
A companion website contains thousands of photographs of material culture from throughout the Jewish Atlantic world, as well as study guides for using the images; http://cdm.reed.edu/cdm4/jewishatlanticworld/. Continue reading
The American Jewish Archives has acquired the B’nai B’rith Archives with holdings dating back to 1843, when the organization was founded in New York City. This move will facilitate research by scholars and will shed light to American Jewish history. Beyond its importance though for American Jewry, B’nai B’rith has a long history of international presence, especially in the “Orient” with lodges in Salonica, Istanbul, Izmir, Aleppo, Beirut, Cairo and many other cities in the Balkans, and around the Aegean and Mediterranean basin.
You can read a relevant article here, and watch a video of the American Jewish Archives’ Executive Director, Dr. G. Zola, discussing the importance of this new acquisition.
Earlier this month, after a 5-year digitization effort, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) launched its online Global Archives. According to the press release, the JDC Global Archives “includes over 3 miles of text documents, 100,000 photographs, 1,100 audio recordings including 95 oral histories, 157 recorded historic speeches and broadcasts, and 1,300 video recordings.” Continue reading