Required Reading: Jewish American Heritage Month

To celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month, we’re looking at some of the remarkable stories that have shaped Jewish American life. From the Jewish Deli to Lincoln’s armies, these five books will take you on a journey through Jewish American history.

Pastrami on Rye by Ted Merwin

Pastrami on Rye is the first full-length history of the New York Jewish deli, an iconic site in both Jewish and American life. Richly researched and compellingly told, Ted Merwin shares the story of this cult New York institution.

Hollywood’s Spies by Laura B. Rosenzweig

Drawing on more than 15,000 pages of archival documents, Hollywood’s Spies offers a compelling narrative illuminating the role that Jewish Americans played in combating insurgent Nazism in the United States. Laura B. Rosenzweig tells the story of the Jewish moguls in Hollywood who paid private investigators to infiltrate Nazi groups operating in Los Angeles, establishing the first anti-Nazi Jewish resistance organization in the country.

Jewish New York by Deborah Dash Moore, Jeffrey S. Gurock, Annie Polland, Howard B. Rock and Daniel Soyer

Jewish immigrants transformed New York. Spanning three centuries, Jewish New York traces the earliest arrival of Jews in New Amsterdam to the recent immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union.

A Mortuary of Books by Elisabeth Gallas

A Mortuary of Books tells the miraculous story of the many Jewish organizations and individuals who, after the war, sought to recover Nazi-looted cultural property and return the millions of treasured objects to their rightful owners. The commitment of these individuals to the restitution of cultural property, chronicled by Elisabeth Gallas, reveals the importance of cultural objects as symbols of the enduring legacy of those who could not be saved.

Jewish Soldiers in the Civil War by Adam D. Mendelsohn

What was it like to be a Jew in Lincoln’s armies? Scholars have largely remained silent on the everyday experiences of the largest non-Christian minority to have served. Jewish Soldiers in the Civil War draws on databases, letters, diaries, and newspapers to examine the collective experience of Jewish soldiers and to recover their voices and stories.

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