Admissions & Aid
Dust to Dust, by Allan Amanik
Dust to Dust offers a 300-year history of Jewish life in New York, literally from the ground up. Taking Jewish cemeteries as its subject matter, it follows the ways that Jewish New Yorkers have planned for death and burial from their earliest arrival in New Amsterdam to the 20th century.
Charting a remarkable reciprocity among Jewish funerary provisions and the workings of family and communal life, the book traces how financial and family concerns in death came to equal earlier priorities rooted in tradition and communal cohesion. At the same time, it shows how shifting emphases in death gave average Jewish families the ability to advocate for greater protections and entitlements such as widows’ benefits and funeral insurance. Ultimately, the book concludes, planning for life’s end helped to shape social systems in ways that often go unrecognized.
My Father’s Journey, by Sara Reguer
Born into a leading Lithuanian-Jewish rabbinic family, Moshe Aron Reguer initially followed the path of traditional yeshiva education. His adolescence coincided with World War I and its upheavals, pandemics, and pogroms as well as with new ideas of Haskala, Zionism, and socialism. His memoir, recently discovered and here translated and published for the first time, discusses his internal struggles and describes the world around him and the people who influenced him. Moshe Aron Reguer wrote his memoir at the age of 23, on the eve of his departure for Eretz Israel in 1926. However, his story did not end there, but continued in British Mandated Palestine and the United States. He kept in touch with the family in Brest-Litovsk until the Nazis destroyed Jewish Lithuania, and some of their correspondence is included within this volume.
The Most Tenacious of Minorities, by Sara Reguer
Since arriving in Rome more than 2,000 years ago, the Jewish communities of Italy have retained their identity over millennia. This book traces the foundations of their community, focusing on their economic, intellectual, and social lives as they moved between northern and southern Italy. Over the centuries these localized Italian groups were reinforced with the arrival of German, Provencal, Sephardic, and—most recently—Ashkenazi and Middle Eastern Jews. Surviving religious persecution, ghetto-ization, and the Holocaust, the Jews contributed to Italian society when they could. Supplemented by maps, illustrations, sidebars, and primary sources, this book is a scholarly yet popular overview of a minority group that is proud to be Italian and equally proud to be Jewish.
Till Death Do Us Part: American Ethnic Cemeteries as Borders Uncrossed, by Allan Amanik
Till Death Do Us Part: American Ethnic Cemeteries as Borders Uncrossed explores the tendency among most Americans to separate their dead along communal lines rooted in race, faith, ethnicity, or social standing. It asks what a deeper exploration of that phenomenon can tell us about American history more broadly.
Comparative in scope, and regionally diverse, chapters look to immigrants, communities of color, the colonized, the enslaved, rich and poor, and religious minorities as they buried kith and kin in locales spanning the Northeast to the Spanish American Southwest. Whether African Americans, Muslim or Christian Arabs, Indians, mestizos, Chinese, Jews, Poles, Catholics, Protestants, one thing that united these Americans was a drive to keep their dead apart. At times, they did so for internal preference. At others, it was a function of external prejudice. Invisible and institutional borders built around and into ethnic cemeteries tell a powerful story of the ways in which Americans have negotiated race, culture, class, national origin, and religious difference in the United States during its formative centuries.