Beth Wenger — Jewish Americans: Three Centuries of Jewish Voices in America

Posted on June 13th, 2024 in American History,Education,Law,Politics,Psychology/Psychiatry,Religion,Travel by Ignacio Ayala

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North America, as we have known for millennia, has been populated by ethnic groups looking for a new place to live. Beginning in the early 17th Century and through the present time, Jewish people from around the world have seen North America as a favored place to live and in waves of migration over time have come here to make a new life as part of the American fabric. In the winter of 2008 the Public Broadcasting System presented a major six hour television series: “The Jewish Americans: Three Centuries of Jewish Voices in America.” A companion book to this series with the same name, written by Beth Wenger, the Director of the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, is a collection of first person stories about lives of American Jews who maintained their own culture as they became part of the American culture. Our visit with Beth Wenger in January 2008, by phone from her office at the University of Pennsylvania, began when she described the distinctions and similarities of the Jewish American experience as compared to other immigrant groups. This program was originally broadcast January 30, 2008.

The book she recommends is, “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union,” by Michael Chabon.

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