Historians have long assumed that Jews in the United States were simply emancipated upon arrival. Yet this claim has occluded ongoing struggles for emancipation that endured throughout the twentieth century and that placed American Jews in contingent relationships with other groups seeking the full rights of citizenship. Bereft of the history of American Jewish emancipation, a whole field of study has been perilously isolated from modern Jewish history and from US history. In this talk, Lila Corwin Berman (Temple University) examines history and the consequences of its neglect.
About the Speaker
Lila Corwin Berman holds the Murray Friedman Chair of American Jewish History at Temple University, where she directs the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History. Her most recent book, The American Jewish Philanthropic Complex: The History of a Multibillion-Dollar Institution, has been awarded the 2021 Ellis W. Hawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians and the Saul Viener Book Prize from the American Jewish Historical Society. Her articles have appeared in several scholarly publications, including the American Historical Review, Journal of American History, and AJS Review, and she has written guest columns for the Washington Post, the Forward, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. She is currently working on a new book called “America’s Jewish Question” about the inclusions and exclusions of American liberalism.
This lecture is part of the Sid Lapidus Lecture Series, programs created in partnership with the exhibition How Jews Became Citizens: Highlights from the Sid Lapidus Collection. Click here for information about the exhibit.
The exhibit and program have been made possible by the generous support of Sid and Ruth Lapidus, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.