The City and the Jew: Reflections on Leaving & Returning

Submitted by Marian Schwartz

In modern times, Jews have emerged as the consummate urban dwellers. One might have guessed that American Jews would stop identifying with cities because they moved away from them so rapidly in overwhelming numbers after World War II, but this simply was not the case. As Jews moved away from cities, they remained invested, even if ambivalently, in urban life. And in recent years, Jews have returned to city spaces once considered inhospitable to Jewish life. In the process of leaving and returning to cities, how have Jews reimagined urban life and Jewish life?

This provocative question will be addressed by Dr. Lila Corwin Berman at the annual Fannie Berlin Lecture Sunday May 18 at 4:30pm at Vassar Temple, 140 Hooker Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY, and the community is warmly invited to attend. It is FREE of charge with NO registration is required. To contact Vassar Temple: (845) 454-2570.

This program is made possible through the generosity of Vassar Temple Sisterhood’s Fanny Berlin Fund, which was established by Dr. Doris Berlin-Acker Z’L to honor the memory of her mother.

Lila Corwin Berman received her B.A. from Amherst College, her Ph.D. from Yale, and is Associate Professor of History at Temple University in Philadelphia, where she holds the Murray Friedman Chair of American Jewish History. Dr. Berman is completing a new book titled Jewish Urban Journeys Through an American City and Beyond, which has received support from the National Endowment of the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. She has already published two books including Speaking of Jews: Rabbis, Intellectuals, and the Creation of an American Public Identity, which was a finalist for the Jewish Book Council’s Sami Rohr Prize. Dr. Berman directs the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History and has published articles in many Jewish and history journals, the Forward, and Sh’ma. Born and raised in Poughkeepsie, she is the daughter of Sandy and Lee Corwin.

The Fannie Berlin Lecture is brought to you through the generosity of Vassar Temple Sisterhood’s Fannie Berlin Fund, which was established by Dr. Doris Berlin Acker z”l to honor the memory of her mother.


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