Cover image for Middletown Jews : the tenuous survival of an American Jewish community
Middletown Jews : the tenuous survival of an American Jewish community
Rottenberg, Dan.
Publication Information:
Bloomington : Indiana University Press, [1997]

Physical Description:
xxxiv, 142 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F534.M9 M53 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



What did it mean to be a Jew in Muncie? Was there discrimination, and what was it like? What sort of people settled in a small Midwestern town? How did they fare? This book addresses these questions through a series of oral narratives. The Jewish experience in Muncie reflects what many similar communities experienced in hundreds of Middletowns across the Midwest.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Essentially a 1979 oral history of 19 Jewish residents of Muncie, Indiana--the "Middletown" of Robert Lynd and Helen Lynd's penetrating sociological studies--this book reveals the problematic status of a minuscule and dwindling Midwest Jewish community. Focusing on the period between the 1920s and 1960s, these oral testimonies recall the national immigrant origins of Muncie Jewry as well as its social, economic, and religious evolution; impoverished Jewish organizational life; demographic patterns; relations with gentiles; and perceptions of antisemitism and its consequences. Reflections of ordinary folks on their lives, these stories underscore resiliency and achievement, economic mobility, and middle-class values even as they underscore fundamental Jewish illiteracy, diluted commitment to Judaism, and the absence of a critical mass to sustain an enriched Jewish communal infrastructure. With a useful, reprinted historical evaluation of the community and an updated editor's afterword, this brief work speaks volumes about the uncertain future of small-town American Jewry. General readers; undergraduates. B. Kraut; University of Cincinnati