We are delighted to introduce ourselves as the new editors of American Jewish History, the official publication of the American Jewish Historical Society. It is an honor to be entrusted with this landmark journal as it commences its 106th year of publishing cutting-edge work on the history, politics, culture, and creative expression of Jews in the Americas.
American Jewish History offers a crucial platform for new scholarship and thought-provoking assessments of the state of our field, and we aspire to maintain the high standards of our predecessors. We’re especially grateful to outgoing editors Kirsten Fermaglich, Adam Mendelsohn, and Daniel Soyer; their intellectual ambitions and collaborations, and the outstanding volumes they produced, will serve as an aspirational model for our own work.
We hope you will explore the current issue, which showcases three compelling historical essays covering a wide range of topics. First, Geraldine Gudefin examines the role that divorce law played in the Americanization of Jewish immigrant women. Then Jacob Morrow-Spitzer urges readers to consider the racial status of Jews in the American South through the eyes of African American writers and observers. Finally, Walker Robins traces journalist Dorothy Thompson’s transformation from one of the United States’ most outspoken non-Jewish supporters of Zionism into a critic of Israel. (That’s Thompson on this issue’s cover, and detailed at left, by the way, decked out in a ball gown and peering over her shoulder while having a smoke.)
In addition to thoughtful book reviews, as well as a review of the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, this issue also features a remembrance of historian Dianne Ashton, who passed away in January. Ashton served as editor of American Jewish History, and like others who helped to shape the path of this dynamic and interdisciplinary journal, she introduced new features and fields of inquiry, assuring that it would remain an indispensable forum for the study of American Jews and Jewish history. As we start our term as editors, we will do our utmost to carry the rich legacies of the journal into the future.
Judah Cohen, Jessica Cooperman, and Marni Davis