On September 19, 1934, Hank Greenberg--a powerful hitter who led the American League in home runs four times--refused to play for his team, the Detroit Tigers. Instead he chose to observe the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. On that day he put his identity as a Jew over the most American sport, and the Tigers' fans rallied behind his decision. This story is an excellent example of the way America has embraced Judaism, along with a number of other religions, as an important element in our diverse religious make-up.
A chronicle of Jewish life in the United States--from the arrival of 23 Jews in the New World in 1654, through the centuries of religious intolerance and social injustice, and on to the separation of American Jewry into Orthodox and Reform movements--Jews in America reconstructs the multifaceted background and very American adaptations of this religious group. Hasia Diner supplies intriguing details about Jewish religious traditions, holidays and sacred texts: bar mitzvahs and seder dinners, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana, the Talmud and the Torah. In addition, she relates the history of Jewish religious, political, and intellectual institutions in the United States, fromThe Daily Forward newspaper and the synagogues in New York's Lower East Side to the Jewish Defense League and the Holocaust Museum in Washington. The book tackles the biggest issues facing Jewish Americans today, including their increasingly complex relationship with Israel.show more