The Jewish Chicken Farmers of Petaluma: Why Remember?

Part 2 by Kenneth Kann To read Part 1, click here.   I CONDUCTED hundreds more interviews in the years ahead: the children of the immigrants, the grandchildren, and the new suburban settlers who inherited the community. The immigrant children were the generation of my own American-born parents. Here was an assimilation drama. They grew up […]

Read More

The Jewish Chicken Farmers of Petaluma: Why Remember?

Part One by Kenneth Kann   FIRST, ASTONISHMENT. Then outrage. Mine. I was viewing “California Dreaming,” a 2013 exhibit on Bay Area Jewish history at San Francisco’s eminent Contemporary Jewish Museum. The exhibit included the story of an extraordinary Jewish chicken ranching community in Petaluma, thirty-five miles north of San Francisco. This museum exhibit was false: […]

Read More

Of Hoops and Hebrews

HOW JEWS CHANGED BASKETBALL by Mikhail Horowitz   Discussed in This Essay: The Chosen Game: A Jewish Basketball History, by Charley Rosen. University of Nebraska Press, 2017, 208 pages.  Seven-foot Jews in the NBA, slam-dunking! My alarm clock rings.     —Anonymous haiku on the Internet   FOR THE MOST PART the Jewish hoopers chronicled by Charley Rosen […]

Read More

Arthur Szyk, a “Soldier in Art”

by Bennett Muraskin   ALTHOUGH ARTHUR SZYK (1894-1951) is best known today for his Illuminated Hagaddah (1940), still widely used at Passover seders, he was in many ways a political artist, a self-described “soldier in art,” who used his talents to attack fascism, call for the rescue to European Jewry from Nazi-occupied Europe, promote the American war effort and make […]

Read More

He Coined the Term “Rhythm and Blues”

Jerry Wexler, who, as a reporter for Billboard Magazine in 1948, coined the term “rhythm and blues” (as a replacement for the offensive “race records”) and who later, as a music producer, recorded some of R&B’s greatest performers, was born on this date in 1917 in New York. The “acts” Wexler signed or produced included Ray […]

Read More

The “Israelite with Egyptian Principles”

Judah P. Benjamin was confirmed as Secretary of War of the Confederacy on this date in 1861. Benjamin was a plantation owner, slaveholder and attorney who had served as U.S. senator from Louisiana (the second Jewish senator in history after David Levy Yulee of Florida) and had twice declined appointment to the Supreme Court. Republican Senator […]

Read More

The International Jew vs. White Nationalists

GUILTY (AND PROUD) AS CHARGED An Editorial from the Autumn 2017 issue of Jewish Currents   ON THE DAY after Christmas, 1919, baseball slugger Babe Ruth was traded from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees. The deal was sealed for $100,000 by a theater impresario, Harry Frazee, who had owned the Red Sox […]

Read More

Opposing Segregation in Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock, Arkansas began to integrate its public schools on this date in 1959 while segregationists rallied at the State Capitol and then marched to Central High School, where police arrested twenty-one of them. This followed the “Lost Year” of 1958, in which Governor Orval Faubus closed the public schools to avoid federally-ordered school integration; to head off a […]

Read More