"Offers a representative smorgasbord of people, places, institutions, concepts, themes, and events related to the American Jewish experience [...] useful as a reference tool and is intelligently assembled, providing a handly list of entries and bibliographic suggestions following each entry [...] not as comprehensive as the editors assert [...] can be profitably consulted by scholar and layperson alike" (from the Library Journal review by Benny Kraut).
2 vols. "The editors have done a masterful job in compiling this encyclopedia [...] Articles deal with what is generally unique about American Jewish life in tandem with such specific areas as voting behavior, politics, and involvement in public affairs. Small settlements are covered alongside urban ones" (from the Reference & User Services Quarterly review by Richard E. McKinstry).
"A monumental undertaking-and a grand accomplishment. Narrative sections on the history of Jews in America since 1585, Judaism, rituals, celebrations, and holidays are followed by extensive surveys of American Jews in the arts, sports, business, science, medicine, and other fields [...] the most comprehensive single-volume source available" (from the Library Journal review by Marcia G. Welsh).
"Brings together a wealth of information about often complex rituals practiced in Jewish communities throughout the US. Readers wanting to learn more about Jewish rituals will like the mixture of historical and practical concerns found in each entry [...] Well organized, easy to use, and highly recommended" (from the Choice review by L. Lampert).
"A volume of what the editor has determined are among the most important documents in Jewish history; a primer, if you will, for different types of novices [...] basic information about several hundred Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist congregations that presently serve American communities [...] brings esoteric data to the fingertips of often-overwhelmed scholars" (from the Jewish Quarterly Review review by Jeffrey S. Gurock).
8 volumes. "A series of research guides to information on the immigration and acculturation of Central-European refugees [...] good for scholars and specialists in many areas" (from the Library Journal review by David Kranzler).
Bibliographies and Guides
In addition to these print bibliographies, some good starting places are:
The main article database for researching American history. Use to journal articles, book reviews, and dissertations on all periods of North American history. Includes some links to full text. Complements Historical Abstracts. Indexes publications from 1964-present.
"Selections by scholars not only from the field of religious studies but also from such areas as philosophy, literature, art history, musicology, and the like. The result is a book that is quite comprehensive and should be of interest not only to the general reader but also to professors for possible inclusion in their syllabi [...] includes a chronology of the major events in the history of American Judaism as well as a glossary of Hebrew and Yiddish terms" (from the Shofar review by Steven M. Glazer). See also the American Jewish History review by Marc Lee Raphael, and the Choice review by Adam Ferziger.
"In addition to the comprehensive list of twelve hundred entries, including books and articles on individual synagogues, community histories, and studies of American synagogue architecture, there is a bibliography of significant secondary sources that deal in one way or an- other with the history of the synagogue" (from the Journal of American History review by Deborah E. Lipstadt).
"To say, albeit with complete accuracy, that this volume will greatly facilitate the study of both liturgy and of Jewry in the United States is to understate its contribution as well as its delight, for what is found within will also serve to broaden popular understanding of liturgy [...] a listing of all the liturgical materials published in the United States" (from the AJS Review review by Debra Reed Blank).
"A useful and often fascinating guide for present and future researchers [...] the editor has selected 506 contemporaries who have distinguished themselves either in American life or American Jewish life" (from the American Jewish History review by Stephen J. Whitfield). See also the Library Journal review by David Lincove.
2 volumes. "The editors describe it as a collective effort to both summarize current knowledge and generate new insights about the contributions and diversity of American Jewish women [...] as simply a good read, and an important reminder that women's history generally is still a work in progress, this project succeeds brilliantly [...] will be valuable for undergraduates as well as research specialists for some time to come" (from the American Jewish History review by Karin Wulf). See also the Judaism review by Bettina Aptheker, the Journal of Women's History review by Caryn E. Neumann, the Choice review by D. Kranzler, and the Library Journal review by Mary F. Salony.
"A comprehensive and readable compendium on the history and present role of Jews in American politics [...] tackles the thorny issue of Jews and Israel in a thoughtful and comprehensive manner. One of the book's best parts is the listing of Jewish officeholders by name and title. Here, in one place, is an encyclopedic rendering of Jewish political life in the US in a readable and professional manner" (from the Choice review by P. Kriese). See also the Journal of Church and State review by Lee Canipe and the Midstream review by Milton Birnbaum.
"Covers the history of Jewish political involvement since the nation’s founding; a discussion on various movements, including labor unions, civil rights, New Left, Soviet Jewry, and Zionism; voting behavior; and Jews in Congress. Each chapter concludes with a list of references [...] well written and provides a compact and easily accessible history of American Jewish political life. Jews in American Politics and The Congressional Minyan are more comprehensive and useful ready-reference sources" (from the Booklist review).
"The 230-page biographical dictionary is followed by several chapters, each describing a major American Reform Jewish institution (Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Hebrew Union College, etc.). Several appendixes list the leadership of various Reform Jewish Oganizations. A satisfactory bibliography completes the volume" (from the Choice review by T. Koppel).
"Most of the book is a biographical dictionary of leaders in a movement given life and shape chiefly by its rabbinic leaders. But she serves readers as well by defining Conservatism, however resistant to definition it may be. Also valuable is her set of short essays on institutions and expressions of Conservatism" (from the Journal of Religion review by Martin E. Marty). See also the Theological Studies review by Lawrence E. Frizzell.
"A glossary plus supplementary bibliographies are located at the back. Of particular value is the detailed survey of major Orthodox rabbinic organizations plus a brief descriptive list of American rabbinic journals" (from the Choice review by D. Kranzler).
Standard reference work for American biography. This is the online version of the 24 volume original plus updates. Biographies of men and women, deceased at least five years, who made especially important contributions to American history and culture. Only includes deceased Americans deemed historically significant by editorial board.
8 volumes in 13 parts. " The wide range of issues discussed in the set includes anti-Semitism among the suffragettes, Jewish-black relations, the role of synagogue sisterhoods, and the political and cultural impact of Zionism [...] a unique source. Unlike general works, such as the Encyclopedia Judaica, it covers a single area in depth" (from the Booklist review by Mary Ellen Quinn).
"This is the first anthology in more than half a century to offer fresh insight into the history of Jews and Judaism in America. Beginning with six chronological survey essays, the collection builds with twelve topical essays focusing on a variety of important themes in the American Jewish and Judaic experience" (Publisher's description).
"A marvelous survey that masterfully recounts the history of Jewish religious life in America and in the process provides much insight into other aspects of American Jewish history as well [...] the author has put his vast knowledge of the literature in the field to very good use in preparing this volume [...] covers just about all the standard topics normally considered in surveys of American Jewish history, and it does so very well" (from the Shofar review by Lee Shai Weissbach). See also the Jewish Quarterly Review review by Steven M. Cohen, and the American Jewish History review by Ann Braude.
5 volumes. Sponsored by the American Jewish Historical Society. "The five volumes work well individually and together. The themes of acculturation, accomplishment and anti-semitism weave in and out of all of them. The twentieth-century books also have extensive discussions of Zionism and later of American involvement with Israel. Each of the authors should be pleased with his or her accomplishments--none more so than the editor who put the team together" (from the Journal of Social History review by Leonard Dinnerstein). See also the Reviews in American History review by Melvin I. Urofsky, the Journal of American History review by Lloyd P. Gartner, the International Migration Review review by Mary Elizabeth Brown, the Journal of Religion review by Nathan Glazer, the AJS Review review by Glenn C. Altschuler, and the Journal of the Early Republic review by Robert Bruce Mullin.
"A provocative study that reveals as much about
the American Jewish present as it does about the American Jewish past" (from the Shofar review by Jonathan Krasner). See also the Journal of American History review by Jonathan D. Sarna, and the American Jewish History review by Gerald Sorin.
"The essays are uneven, the earlier ones crisper, better focused, and more rigorous than the later [...] The essays capture the mind of a Reform theologian, for whom the facts of history formed the data of theological reflection" (from the Journal of the Historical Society review by Jacob Neusner).
"A new survey of American Jewish history that will likely become a standard in college courses [...] incorporates some of the most recent trends in American Jewish historiography and provides a comprehensive overview of American Jewish experience from the colonial period to the present" (from the Journal of Social History review by Beth S. Wenger). See also the American Historical Review review by Sydney Stahl Weinberg, the Journal of American History review by Henry L. Feingold, and the Reviews in American History review by Jeffrey S. Gurock.
"A panoramic and highly readable history of the Jews in America from its earliest days (the author devotes a full quarter of the book to the colonial experience) to the present" (from the Jewish Quarterly Review review by Alan T. Levenson). See also the Journal of Religion review by Edward S. Shapiro, and the Reviews in American History review by Gerald Sorin.
4 volumes. "The most richly textured and the most celebratory of all the recent efforts to come to terms with the American Jewish past [...] constructed with a massive bibliography of primarily English-language sources, including dozens of unpublished research papers prepared by the author's own students during the last seven decades [...] should primarily be read for the vast array of data it presents on East European Jewish life in America, less for its historical argument" (from the Journal of American History review of volume 4 by Lance J. Sussman). See also the Journal of American History review of volume 1, the American Historical Review review of volume 1, the AJS Review review of volume 3, and the AJS Review review of volume 2.
The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives. "Committed to preserving a documentary heritage of the religious, organizational, economic, cultural, personal, social and family life of American Jewry."
Identifies and describes resources on Jewish names throughout history. Treats anthroponymy in the broadest sense from historical, sociological, and linguistic perspectives. Recommended for the study of Jewish family history.
"As a guide for students and the general reader, the Cambridge Companion fills several important functions: illuminating previously neglected areas, providing essential historical and literary data, and suggesting new topics for research [...] the editors' guide, through selection and omission, presents a paradigm for Jewish experience and literature that is politically leftist, secular, and post-modern. Although the guide may present pieces of Jewish American life, it is not representative of the whole" (from the Shofar review by Evelyn Avery). See also the American Jewish History review by Dara Horn, and the Choice review by M. Butovsky.
"Presents 57 authors, each of whom receives an alphabetically arranged entry that includes a one-page biography, an essay on the author's major themes, survey of criticism, and bibliographies of works by and about the author" (from the Choice review by B. Adler).
"A superb collection of fully documented critical essays by literary specialists, covering 18 different themes: some obvious, some familiar, and others enticingly new [...] In his introduction, the editor provides an excellent survey of the major social, moral, and political concerns that have moved American Jewish literature" (from the Judaica Librarianship review by David Kranzler). See also the Library Journal review by Marcia G. Fuchs, and the Studies in American Jewish Literature review by Mark Bernheim.
"Amply demonstrates the contribution Jewish writers have made to the mainstream of American Jewish literature. Following an introductory section that cites general reference works and literary criticism, the book is divided into 3 sections on poet, authors of fiction, and dramatists" (from the Library Journal review by Andrea Caron Kempf).
Excludes major authors. "Bibliographies for 62 Jewish American fiction writers of the 19th and 20th centuries [...] Arrangement is by primary sources (novels, collected works of fiction, and stories in anthologies and periodicals) and secondary sources" (from the Choice review by M.H. Low). See also the Library Journal review by M.G. Fuchs.
"Author's concise, fact-filled introduction touches on the main points one needs to know [...] More than 100 entries about authors from 10 countries, with biographical sketches, discussions of each writer's oeuvre, underlining the Judaic; and a primary and secondary bibliography, noting items translated into English" (from the Prooftexts review by Edna Aizenberg). See also the Choice review by D. S. Gochberg.