For more than a century, the Lower East Side of New York City has been recognized and scrutinized as the largest and most vibrant immigrant Jewish neighborhood in America. In recent years a spate of art works, performances, and tourist productions have fostered increased interest in the neighborhood. This lively book explores the dynamics of Lower East Side memory and considers the changing ways that this unique neighborhood has been embraced by American Jews over the course of a century. Part 1, "The Dynamics of Remembrance," investigates multiple facets of life on the Lower East Side and considers the emerging repertoire of memory that took shape around the neighborhood. Themes include the naming of the Lower East Side, a century of photography of the neighborhood, and the colorful histories of synagogues and schools, restaurants and cabarets. Part 2, "Contemporary Recollections," examines the recent upsurge of interest in the Lower East Side as a site of Jewish heritage and cultural innovation. Topics include the creation of the Tenement Museum, walking tours of the neighborhood and visits to popular "period" restaurants, the experience of a documentary filmmaker, and the performance of memory in a refurbished synagogue. A generous selection of photographs enhances the book’s wide-ranging insights into how the Lower East Side became a touchstone of Jewish identity and history.
Contributors include Stephan Brumberg, Hasia R. Diner, Joseph Dorman, Paula Hyman, Eve Jochnowitz, Seth Kamil, David Kaufman, Jack Kugelmass, David Lobenstine, Mario Maffi, Deborah Dash Moore, Riv-Ellen Prell, Moses Rischin, Jeffrey Shandler, Suzanne Wasserman, Aviva Weintraub, and Beth S. Wenger.
About the Author
Hasia R. Diner is Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University.
Jeffrey Shandler is a Dorot Teaching Fellow in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University.
Beth S. Wenger is Assistant Professor of History and Katz Family Chair in American Jewish History at the University of Pennsylvania.
Table of Contents
Introduction Remembering the Lower East Side: A Conversation Hasia R. Diner, Jeffrey Shandler, and Beth S. Wenger
Part 1. The Dynamics of Remembrance
1. On the Onomastics of the Lower East Side, or How the Lower East Side Got Its Name Moses Rischin
2. Photographing the Lower East Side: A Century’s Work Deborah Dash Moore and David Lobenstine
3. Beyond Place and Ethnicity: The Uses of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Paula Hyman
4. The Ghetto Girl and the Erasure of Memory Riv-Ellen Prell
5. Constructions of Memory: The Synagogues of the Lower East Side David Kaufman
6. The One-Way Window: Public Schools on the Lower East Side Stephan Brumberg
7. Recreating Recreations on the Jewish Lower East Side: Restaurants, Cabarets, Cafes and Coffeehouses in the 1930s Suzanne Wasserman
Part 2. Contemporary Recollections
8. Turfing the Slum: New York City’s Tenement Museum and the Poltics of Heritage Jack Kugelmass
9. "Send a salami to your boy in the army": Sites of Jewish Memory and Identity at Lower East Side Restaurants Eve Jochnowitz
10. Tripping down Memory Lane: Walking Tours on the Jewish Lower East Side Seth Kamil
11. The Lower East Side in the Memory of New York Jewish Intellectuals: A Filmmaker’s Experience Joseph Dorman
12. Performing Memory: "The Matzoh Factory" on the Lower East Side Aviva Weintraub
13. Translating Abraham Cahan, Teaching the Lower East Side: A View from Italy Mario Maffi