12 January 2011

Oregon: Jews of the Pacific Coast, January 23

Since the Gold Rush in 1849, the Pacific Coast  has attracted Jews who have shaped this geographical region.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon will present "Jews of the Pacific Coast," with Professor Ellen Eisenberg, at its next meeting on Sunday, January 23.

The program begins at 1pm at Congregation Ahavath Achim, 3225 SW Barbur Blvd., Portland. Admission: Members, free; others, $5.
From the California Gold Rush of 1849 to the explosion of population centers in the Southwest in the 1980s, Jews have played a significant role in shaping the Pacific West. In the process, they have reshaped themselves, as individuals and as communities. Through their mercantile networks and cultural innovations, their philanthropic institutions and political leadership, western Jews created a distinctive identity.

Using historical photographs from her new book, Ellen Eisenberg will explore the nature of the Jewish experience in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the small towns of the West. She will explain the important differences among these cities, as well as highlighting the ways in which the western Jewish experience has echoed and deviated from the familiar story of American Jewish history.
Since 1990, Eisenberg has taught history at Willamette University, and was named the Lear Professor of America History in 2003. She holds a BA in American Studies (Carleton College) and a PhD in History (University of Pennsylvania). Her research focuses on Jews in the Pacific West and their relationships with other ethnic groups.

Her publications include Jewish Agricultural Colonies in New Jersey,1882-1920; chapters in the anthologies Jewish Life in the American West and California Jews, and journal articles and monographs.  The First to Cry Down Injustice?  Western Jews and Japanese Removal during WWII was a National Jewish Book Award finalist.  Jews of the Pacific Coast: Reinventing Community on America’s Edge, co-authored with Ava Kahn and Bill Toll, was released by the University of Washington Press earlier this year.

For more information, click here.

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