Cover image for Jewish times : voices of the American Jewish experience
Jewish times : voices of the American Jewish experience
Simons, Howard.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., 1988.
Physical Description:
418 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A Marc Jaffe book."
Format :

On Order

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Simons spent four years interviewing 227 people to produce this multifaceted portrait of the Jewish experience in the U.S. In these personal reminiscences, readers will meet a furrier from New York, a great-grandmother from Charleston, a retired Yiddish teacher from St. Louis, a restaurateur from Seattle, a deli owner, a rabbi, comedians, political figures, and doctors. Radio Adult Nonfictiontalk-show host Larry King, former Supreme Court justice and UN ambassador Arthur Goldberg, and writer and former TV producer Henry Morgenthau are just some of the many well-known personages represented. ``As for anti-Semitism, it is here to stay: now dormant, now activated, now dormant again,'' Simons writes. ``But Jews are here to stay, too. And their experience over 200 years ought to serve as a paradigm for new immigrants who make their way to America and then make their way in America.'' No index. GC.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Toting his tape recorder from Alaska to Florida, the author approached American Jews from all walks of life for their stories. ``Simon's reminiscences, along with those of 226 others interviewed, infuse this kaleidoscopic oral history with Jewish humor and yeasty realism,'' commented PW . (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

From interviews with 227 American Jews, journalist Simons seeks to distill the essence of the American Jewish experiencethe secret of how and why so many Jews succeeded in realizing the American dream. The range of those interviewed is impressive: young and old, rich and poor, immigrants and natives, religious and irreligious, Jews from all corners of the country. There are famous ``voices'' and lesser-knowns. Memoirs cover everything from the Leo Frank case to bagel-making. Neither scholarly nor comprehensive (the experiences recounted are in many cases far from normative), and with some embarrassing errors, this is still enjoyable to read and revealingly informative; for most libraries. Jonathan D. Sarna, Hebrew Union Coll . -Jewish Inst. of Religion, Cincinnati (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Written by a former managing editor of The Washington Post, this breezy, anecdotal book transcribes interviews of 227 American Jews to "recreate aspects of the {{American}} Jewish experience." The interviewees come from across the country and are primarily, although not exclusively, successful professionals. Simons subsumed this edited material into thematic chapters purportedly spanning the gamut of American Jewish life, introducing each chapter with summary generalizations of his own. The overall product is very uneven: some chapters are illuminating, others are uninspired and uninformative as the vast amount of oral testimony blurs into indistinctiveness. By the author's candid admission, the book is neither scholarly, comprehensive, nor representative of American Jewry. Its virtue therefore depends on the quality of the testimonials, and not all are worth remembering. Particularly illuminating, however, are those of intellectual Daniel Bell, radio personality Larry King, Carter administration official Mark Siegel, and Burlington, Vermont, Hebrew school principal Hasse Halley. Simons's conclusion that the American Jewish experience is unique and that no group has realized the American Jewish Dream more than the Jews themselves finds ample justification from the sample of Jews he consulted.-B. Kraut, University of Cincinnati