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The Jewish Origins of Cultural Pluralism

The Jewish Origins of Cultural Pluralism

Sunday, May 6, 2012 - 2:00 pm

Listen to audio from the program

Guests heard historian Dr. Daniel Greene speak about his new book, The Jewish Origins of Cultural Pluralism. In it, he traces the emergence of cultural pluralism to a group of Jewish college students and intellectuals who faced challenges as they sought to integrate themselves into the early 20th-century American academic and literary circles.

In 1906, the students founded the Menorah Association at Harvard. Their publication, the Menorah Journal, became a leading voice of Jewish public opinion in the 1920s. In response to the idea that the American melting pot would erase cultural differences, they instead advocated a pluralist America that would accommodate a thriving Jewish culture and bring Jewishness into mainstream American life.

Dr. Daniel Greene is a historian who specializes in ethnicity, pluralism, and American identity, who currently serves as Vice President for Research and Academic Programs at Chicago’s Newberry Library. Before coming to the Newberry, he was a historian and curator at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. He has taught  at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of Miami, and Indiana University Northwest. He earned his PhD in History from the University of Chicago.

"If you are interested in the history and the formation of Jewish culture in America, the ongoing debate between the need for pluralism and the fear of assimilation, the differing ideologies and literature of identity formation —
you must have (and read!) this book."
Association of Jewish Library Reviews


This was the 2012 Horwitz Family Lecture in Jewish History, generously endowed by the Horwitz Charitable Fund.