"For far too long, historians of American Jews have glossed over most of the nineteenth century, as preamble for the truer or more interesting histories of twentieth-century American Jewry. Rabin offers a deeply researched, beautifully rendered case for the centrality of the nineteenth century to how we understand American Judaism. By looking toward ethnographic models, material culture, and narrative techniques, she argues that the provisionality, the instability, and the mobility of nineteenth-century Judaism created new modes of Jewish life suitable to endure in the American environment. Following in the footsteps of Robert Orsi, Leigh Eric Schmidt, and Kathryn Lofton, who all expertly wed ethnography to deep historical inquiry, Rabin allows the reader to understand the human contours of Jewish life in motion."
—Lila Corwin Berman, Temple University
Jews on the Frontier is one of the most significant contributions in years to the study of nineteenth-century American Judaism with vast implications for students of American religion generally. An eye-opening and creative study of how mobility shaped distinctive patterns of religious life.
—Jonathan D. Sarna, author of American Judaism: A History
"In [an] enlightening study largely focusing on the pre–Civil War South and West, Rabin examines the intertwining of Jews and mobility in the 19th-century US... Impressively documented, this intriguing exploration is appropriate for general libraries."
"Jews on the Frontier is a compelling account of the cultural and spiritual changes experienced by American Jews outside the main coastal cities and their large congregations before the large East-European emigration waves of the late Nineteenth-Century."
—Civil War Book Review
"Rabin convincingly describes frontier mobility as the motive force behind one of the most creative and constructive eras in American Judaism."
— The Journal of Southern Religion
"Rabin makes a compelling case here that the full arc of American Jewish history cannot ignore the young Jewish men who pursued their livelihoods by heading for the frontier. Their religious inconsistencies, creativities, and sense of empowerment as ordinary Jews may actually serve as a better template for thinking about how Judaism developed in America."
—Annals of Iowa
"Jews on the Frontier stands as a significant historiographical intervention in de-centering established institutions and denominations and the Protestant secular from the narratives of minority religions and religious communities."
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