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A Portion of the People: Three Hundred Years of Southern Jewish Life Hardcover – September 1, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-1570034459 ISBN-10: 1570034451 Edition: 0th

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A Portion of the People: Three Hundred Years of Southern Jewish Life + Explorations in Charleston's Jewish History
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of South Carolina Pr (September 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570034451
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570034459
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 9.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,379,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This handsome, well-documented volume serves as the companion to and record of an exhibition that resulted from a seven-year collaboration by the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina, McKissick Museum of the University of South Carolina, and the College of Charleston. Illuminating a little-explored phase of American religious history, it chronicles the complexities of Jewish life in South Carolina, a state that had more Jews than any other in North America two centuries ago. The book features excerpts from journals and letters, documents such as mortgages and marriage contracts, and recollections distilled from hundreds of oral histories. It also presents three topical essays and a photo essay. Edited by Theodore Rosengarten (Tombee: Portrait of a Cotton Planter) and Dale Rosengarten, curator of the Jewish Heritage Collection at the College of Charleston Libraries, it makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the Southern Jewish experience. Of interest to scholars and general readers; recommended for specialized library collections in American Jewish history and Southern history in general, as well as larger public and academic libraries.
David B. Levy, Beth Avraham Synagogue Lib., Baltimore
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

THEODORE ROSENGARTEN, a native of Brooklyn, New York, is a teacher, writer, and community activist. He holds a B.A. in American studies from Amherst College and a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. The author of Tombee: Portrait of a Cotton Planter (National Book Critics Circle Award for best biography), All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw (National Book Award for contemporary affairs), and numerous articles in anthologies, journals, and magazines, Rosengarten was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1989. He lives in McClellanville, South Carolina.

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Frank Hytken on August 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
At important times in early American history, the largest and most important Jewish Community was in Charleston, South Carolina. Unlike many parts of the world where Jews were then treated as a dispised or distrusted minority, relegated to the fringes of community life, these Jews (like their neighbors in Georgia) were an integral and valued element in the colony form its earliest time. The were truly "a portion of the people." Here Jews blended in and prospered and Judaism flourished. The first Jew was elected to a legislature in modern times in the Revolutionary War period there. Jews fought along side their fellow citizens as colonists, in the Revolutionary War, and in the Civil War. A number of nationally prominent Jewish figures (including one of the first two Jewish Senators, the first Jew nominated to the US Supreme Court, prominent business men and cabinet officials) trace their heritage to this part of the South.
And the authors tell of the cradle of Reform Judaism in Charleston where the first prayer book and hymnal were written. The reforms that were to make Reform Judaism the largest denomination, such as services in English, an important role for women, and full integration into the community, were established there. Beth Elohim, the oldest synagogue in continuous use in America, is located here.
The authors have put together a good set of photographs of people and places and interesting text on this little known chapter of American and Jewish history.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Larry W. Freudenberg on January 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Dale Rosengarten spent hundreds of hours working on a marvelous exhibit. If you were fortunate enough to have seen the exhibit in Charleston, New York, Columbia or Charlotte, I know you'll agree that it was superb and this book will keep your memory fresh. If you didn't have the chance to see the exhibit and you're interested in the history of Jews in America then this is the book from an exhibit that has sparked a new era of interest by historians to rediscover southern Jewish life from the mid 18th century to the present.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great resource for Yankee transplants to South Carolina. Answers the questions of who, what, where and why the various Jewish settler waves made a happy home here -- with the Jews of Charleston outnumbering their brethren in New York in the early days. The end of the Civil War brought cataclysmic changes to Southern society, some not always good for the Jews.
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