Saturday, February 1, 2014
City of Promises: A History of the Jews of New York, 3-volume box set General Editor: Deborah Dash Moore. Written by Howard B. Rock, Annie Polland and Daniel Soyer, Jeffrey S. Gurock. With a Visual Essay by Diana L. Linden
Winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award, presented by the National Jewish Book Council
New York Jews, so visible and integral to the culture, economy and politics of America’s greatest city, has eluded the grasp of historians for decades. Surprisingly, no comprehensive history of New York Jews has ever been written. City of Promises: A History of the Jews of New York, a three volume set of original research, pioneers a path-breaking interpretation of a Jewish urban community at once the largest in Jewish history and most important in the modern world.
Volume I, Haven of Liberty, by historian Howard B. Rock, chronicles the arrival of the first Jews to New York (then New Amsterdam) in 1654 and highlights their political and economic challenges. Overcoming significant barriers, colonial and republican Jews in New York laid the foundations for the development of a thriving community.
Volume II, Emerging Metropolis, written by Annie Polland and Daniel Soyer, describes New York’s transformation into a Jewish city. Focusing on the urban Jewish built environment—its tenements and banks, synagogues and shops, department stores and settlement houses—it conveys the extraordinary complexity of Jewish immigrant society.
Volume III, Jews in Gotham, by historian Jeffrey S. Gurock, highlights neighborhood life as the city’s distinctive feature. New York retained its preeminence as the capital of American Jews because of deep roots in local worlds that supported vigorous political, religious, and economic diversity.
Each volume includes a “visual essay” by art historian Diana Linden interpreting aspects of life for New York’s Jews from their arrival until today. These illustrated sections, many in color, illuminate Jewish material culture and feature reproductions of early colonial portraits, art, architecture, as well as everyday culture and community.
Overseen by noted scholar Deborah Dash Moore, City of Promises offers the largest Jewish city in the world, in the United States, and in Jewish history its first comprehensive account.