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A Jewish Feminine Mystique?: Jewish Women in Postwar America Paperback – December 7, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"A Jewish Feminine Mystique? succeeds admirably in expanding scholarship on postwar American Jewish women."
(Journal of American History 2011-09-01)

"Although no one volume can fill the 'gaping hole' in scholarship about Jewish women in the postwar years, the editors and contributors have made a valiant first effort. Recommended."
(Choice 2011-07-01)

"A fascinating anthology. For readers who relish the joy of reading Jewish and American history, this book will be a delight."
(Jewish Book World 2011-06-01)

"A marvelously fresh look at Jewish women in the post war period. This volume of collected essays deeply enriches our understanding of the varied experiences of Jewish women in the 1950s. Reading this volume will forever transform the way the reader thinks about Jewish women, female power, and the pervasive influence of gender."

(Shuly Schwartz Jewish Theological Seminary 2010-01-01)

"A Jewish Feminine Mystique? succeeds in describing the complex roles of Jewish women in the time of Betty Friedan and the rise of the second wave feminist movement in America. This book provides a rich chorus of voices, further proving that whatever the lives of Jewish women in the American postwar period were, they weren't simple."

(Lilith 2011-07-01)

"The essays in this fine collection help to revise our understanding of Jewish women and the feminine mystique. Jewish women were affected by the pervasive folk myths of the 1950s, but, like Friedan, they were hardly defined by the feminine mystique; they were too busy starting revolutions."
(Hadassah Magazine 2012-04-01)

About the Author

HASIA R. DINER is the Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History and director of the Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History at New York University. She is the author of numerous volumes, including We Remember with Reverence and Love: American Jews and the Myth of Silence after the Holocaust, 1945–1962.
SHIRA KOHN and RACHEL KRANSON are doctoral candidates in New York University's joint Ph.D. program in history and Hebrew and Judaic studies.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press (October 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081354792X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813547923
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,989,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My Hadassah book group read and discussed this book with great enthusiasm, especially since many of us had also just read Why Women Still Can't have it All by Anne Marie Slaughter in the Atlantic Monthly. Diner et al enabled us to sxplore, first by e-mail and then in person of how--despite the fact that Betty Friedan's book had admittedly changed many of our lives decades ago--yet it did not ring totally true about our own lives, or those of our mothers. Each essay is well thought-out, well-documented, and the starting point for an exchange of girlish confidences among this group of middle-aged women.
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Format: Paperback
Betty Friedan's classic 1963 manifesto, The Feminine Mystique, is the starting point for this wide-ranging collection of essays on American Jewish women since 1945. Although there is no dearth of papers and books challenging Friedan's conclusions and/or adding nuance to her picture of the constrained domestic life of American women, the editors state that there is an absolute lack of literature on women and gender in the scholarship on Jewish women.
The first group of articles focuses on women who worked as activists addressing social problems. Of these essays several focus on Jewish organizations and the women active in them and other are mini-biographies of individual activists. The second group of articles examines Jewish immigrant women, in this period, whose lives bore no resemblance to those of comfortable suburban women. The third group focuses on the image of the Jewish woman and those who challenged the gender expectations. The raunchy comediennes Belle Barth, Pearl Williams and Patsy Abbott are the focus of "The Bad Girls of Comedy." Separate essays are devoted to the career and politics of Judy Holliday, the image and accomplishments of Jennie Grossinger and "Reading Marjorie Morningstar in the Age of the Feminine Mystique and After." The penultimate essay is devoted to the feminist movements since the 60s and the final essay is a reflection on Betty Friedan's life. The role of Judaism in developing these women's interests and independence and the later conflicts that arose in the feminist movement between Jews and non-Jews, is addressed.
This book is well-indexed with footnotes and, like many volumes comprised of collections of papers from a conference, this title is for those with a serious interest in the subject, not for casual readers.
Merrily Hart
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked the article by Raymond Mohl very much. Shows how women were leaders in the Civil Rights movement, the anti-Vietnam war movement, and desegregation in schools
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