American Jewish History
Prof. Hasia Diner
New York University
Spring 2007

     This course takes as its subject the history of the Jewish people in America. It explores the social, political, economic, religious, and cultural development of Jewish life in America from the middle of the seventeenth century through the present.  will set that history into the larger contexts of American history and modern Jewish history, asking how the Jewish experience did or did not differ from that of others in America and from that other Jews in other places. Central to the course will be the fact that the America, both before and after national independence, was a place characterized by religious, ethnic, and racial diversity and we will explore how Jews fit into that reality. We will focus much attention on the fact that Jews chose to migrate to the United States and that they sought ways to identify with their new home. At the same time they saw themselves as part of a worldwide people and behaved accordingly.

Class Schedule
Hasia Diner, The Jews of the United States will serve as our textbook; some section of it will be read each week.

Introduction to the course; basic themes: European legacies.

European Legacies/American Beginnings


Jews in Early America

The Beginnings of Mass Migration

A Nineteenth Century American Jewish Synthesis

Integration and Distinctiveness: Negotiations

The Age of the Great Jewish Migration

The Immigrants and their New American Jewish Home

The Worlds of the Jewish Immigrants

Building American Jewish Communities

The 1920’s and the 1930’s: An Era of American Anti-Semitism

The Holocaust, World War II  and American Jews

Post-World War Two and America’s Jews

The 1960s and Beyond: A Revolution in American Jewish Life