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The Chosen Folks: Jews on the Frontiers of Texas by Bryan Edward Stone

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By Bryan Edward Stone

Texas has one of many biggest Jewish populations within the South and West, comprising an often-overlooked vestige of the Diaspora. The selected Folks brings this wealthy element of the prior to mild, going past unmarried biographies and photographic histories to discover the total evolution of the Jewish adventure in Texas.

Drawing on formerly unpublished archival fabrics and synthesizing past study, Bryan Edward Stone starts off with the crypto-Jews who fled the Spanish Inquisition within the overdue 16th century after which discusses the original Texas-Jewish groups that flourished faraway from the said facilities of Jewish heritage and tradition. the consequences of this peripheral id are explored intensive, from the times whilst geographic distance created actual divides to the redefinitions of "frontier" that marked the 20th century. the increase of the Ku Klux Klan, the production of Israel within the wake of the Holocaust, and the civil rights stream are lined besides, elevating provocative questions about the attributes that enabled Texas Jews to forge a particular id at the nationwide and global degree. Brimming with memorable narratives, The selected Folks brings to existence a forged of shiny pioneers.

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She later found, in New York, the kind of Jewish community she had sought. Marlow’s narrative demonstrates both the opportunity and the risk that frontiers provide. As a Jew in an isolated place, she was unable to find the kind of rich communal experience she wanted, but the very conditions that caused her distress allowed her to transform her experience not only into a positive one but also a revelatory one. 31 With his band, the Texas Jewboys, Friedman released three albums between 1973 and 1976; broke a song, “Sold American,” into the Country Top Ten; and appeared on the Grand Ole Opry.

Similarly, Chapter 4 examines another way in which lines of group difference could be manipulated—in this case, by the editor of the state’s first Jewish newspaper, who deliberately described his readership as proud, even unreconstructed, Southerners. His bold regionalist appeal was at odds with the emerging reality, but it was effective in selling papers and establishing an enduring Texas-Jewish institution. The fifth chapter, treating the rise of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s, shows that Jews alone did not hold the power to shape their own group identity.

Jewish identity for Marlow came, in part, from contrasting herself with the Christian majority, but it also arose from the differences between Marlow, an Orthodox Jew, and other Jewish El Pasoans. ”29 Marlow fixes her own Jewish identity by triangulating herself against ancient Jews, contemporary El Paso Jews, Christians, and a forbidding natural environment. That sense of something missing drives Marlow deeper into herself and toward her own vision of Jewish meaning. “What growing up there did for me,” she writes, “was make me want something more authentic.

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