Dust to Dust

Dust to Dust

A History of Jewish Burial Practices in New York

Goldstein-Goren Series in American Jewish History

by Allan M. Amanik

Published by: NYU Press

272 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in

  • Hardcover
  • ISBN: 9781479800803
  • Published: December 2019



A revealing look at how death and burial practices influence the living

Dust to Dust offers a three-hundred-year history of Jewish life in New York, literally from the ground up. Taking Jewish cemeteries as its subject matter, it follows the ways that Jewish New Yorkers have planned for death and burial from their earliest arrival in New Amsterdam to the twentieth century.

Allan Amanik charts a remarkable reciprocity among Jewish funerary provisions and the workings of family and communal life, tracing how financial and family concerns in death came to equal earlier priorities rooted in tradition and communal cohesion. At the same time, he shows how shifting emphases in death gave average Jewish families the ability to advocate for greater protections and entitlements such as widows’ benefits and funeral insurance. Amanik ultimately concludes that planning for life’s end helps to shape social systems in ways that often go unrecognized.