About the Author

Dr. Melissa R. Klapper is Professor of History at Rowan University, where she teaches American, Jewish, and women's history. She received her BA from Goucher College and her PhD from Rutgers University. She is the author of Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860-1920 (NYU Press, 2005) and Small Strangers: The Experiences of Immigrant Children in the United States, 1880-1925 (Ivan R. Dee, Publisher, 2007).

20th-century Jewish Immigration

Secondary Sources

Diner, Hasia R. The Jews of the United States, 1654-2000. Berkley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2004. Diner’s academic synthesis of American Jewish history focuses on the history of Jewish people in America and the constant renegotiation of American Jewish identity. As one of the foremost scholars of American Jewish women, Diner is especially sensitive to gender in her analysis. As in her earlier work, she also sees more continuities than dissimilarities in Jewish migrant experiences over the period stretching from 1820 to 1924.

Raphael, Marc Lee, ed. The Columbia History of Jews & Judaism in America. New York: Columbia UP, 2008. This edited collection brings together new essays on American Jewish history by a mix of junior and senior scholars. The first part of the book consists of chronological essays covering the sweep of American Jewish history. The second part includes thematic essays on topics as varied as Jewish education, Southern Jewish history, Holocaust consciousness, and American Jewish feminism.

Sarna, Jonathan D. American Judaism: A History. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 2004. One of the most distinguished historians of the American Jewish experience working today, Sarna uses the tools of religious history to analyze American Judaism from the colonial period to the present. He focuses on major themes in American Jewish history, including concerns about assimilation, reformation of synagogues and Jewish religious life, and Jewish continuity. The book comprehensively covers both religious leaders and the experiences of “ordinary” American Jews.

Weissbach, Lee Shai. Jewish Life in Small-Town America: A History. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 2005. Weissbach takes on the largely untold story of Jewish life in small-town America in this book, which reorients American Jewish history away from the large urban centers where much of it has centered. Familiar topics in American Jewish history, including intermarriage, congregational organization, and social life, look different when viewed from this angle. The book focuses on Jewish communities of less than 1000 people from the mid-19th century through World War II.