By Marni Davis

On the flip of the century, American Jews and prohibitionists seen each other with starting to be suspicion. Jews believed that every one americans had the suitable to promote and devour alcohol, whereas prohibitionists insisted that alcohol trade and intake posed a probability to the nation’s morality and safety. the 2 teams possessed incompatible visions of what it intended to be a effective and patriotic American—and in 1920, whilst the Eighteenth modification to the structure made alcohol trade unlawful, Jews came across that anti-Semitic sentiments had combined with anti-alcohol ideology, threatening their acceptance and their status in American society.

In Jews and Booze, Marni Davis examines American Jews’ lengthy and intricate courting to alcohol in the course of the past due 19th and early 20th centuries, the years of the nationwide prohibition movement’s upward thrust and fall. Bringing to undergo an in depth diversity of archival fabrics, Davis deals a unique standpoint on a formerly unstudied sector of yankee Jewish monetary activity—the making and promoting of liquor, wine, and beer—and unearths that alcohol trade performed a vital position in Jewish immigrant acculturation and the expansion of Jewish groups within the usa. yet prohibition’s triumph forged a pall on American Jews’ historical past within the alcohol alternate, forcing them to revise, make clear, and safeguard their communal and civic identities, either to their fellow american citizens and to themselves.

"Thoughtful, instructive and sometimes insightful."—New York instances booklet overview

“There are sufficient attention-grabbing anecdotes, evidence and figures within the captivating historical past to make the reader thirsty for an additional round.”—Times Literary complement

"An very good e-book. Davis crafted a fancy and complicated narrative, weaving numerous issues jointly into an argumentative arc that demonstrates the complicated relationships among prohibition and the improvement of those generations in American Jewish life."—Journal of yank heritage

"... a provocative research of Jews' complex dating to alcohol and Prohibition in American history."
-Publishers Weekly,

"In her debut, Davis means that anti-Semitism and Prohibition have been parallel expressions of political disquiet through the flip of the final century...A interesting, nuanced social history."
-Kirkus,

“A pioneering learn of Jews and the yankee alternate in alcohol from entrepreneurial nineteenth century immigrants via twentieth century battles over prohibition. energetic, well-researched, and accomplished, it will lengthy stand because the definitive research of Jews, booze, and evolving American taboos.”
-Jonathan D. Sarna,author of yank Judaism: A History

“Imaginatively conceived, fiercely researched, superbly written, Jews and Booze is welcome information certainly. a truly gifted and promising historian has proven how a contentious slice of the yankee Jewish previous can stay vital to today's readers—and has made a selected clash among Protestant moralism and ethnic behavior her own.”
-Stephen J. Whitfield,author of looking for American Jewish Culture

“In this groundbreaking learn, Davis deftly blends social and cultural historical past to discover the $64000 position American Jews performed within the liquor alternate, and the hostilities they elicited. In improving this approximately forgotten previous, Jews and Booze presents a prism by which to view the problems of Americanization.” -Tony Michels,author of a fireplace of their Hearts: Yiddish Socialists in New York

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Extra resources for Jews and Booze: Becoming American in the Age of Prohibition (Goldstein-Goren Series in American Jewish History)

Example text

They also joined other Americans who were skeptical of the temperance movement’s call for sumptuary laws by insisting that “prohibition does not prohibit,” and pointing out that simply making alcohol illegal would not keep people from finding a drink if they really wanted one. But they went a step further: American Jews presented themselves as a preferable counterpoint to both the drunkard and the teetotaler, and counseled their fellow Americans, as Rabbi Marcus Jastrow said in 1874, to “do as we Israelites do” by neither loving nor despising alcohol excessively.

In late nineteenth-century Cincinnati, for instance, German immigrants made up as much as a fifth of the local population. In this context, Jews in the alcohol trade, themselves German immigrants, often participated in local German American culture. The Jewish distiller Samuel Setting up Shop | 33 N. 64 But most Jewish alcohol entrepreneurs set their sights beyond German cultural associations. Their interest in civic engagement occasionally led them into politics, and those who held elected offices acted as public representatives of both their ethnic and their business communities.

In the mid-nineteenth century, several credit-reporting agencies began to offer their services to American wholesalers. R. G. , the predominant credit reference agency of the nineteenth century, hired correspondents all over the country to investigate the reputations and assess the financial standing of businessmen seeking to purchase stock on credit. 74 The credit reports accumulated by R. G. Dun & Co. indicate that Jewish alcohol entrepreneurs were assessed as creditworthy—which is to say, trustworthy and capable of paying off their debts—on a regular basis.

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