May 30, 2024


Jun 18, 2024
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
In Person

Carrying a Big Schtick: Jewish Acculturation and Masculinity in the Twentieth Century

The Center for Jewish History and the American Jewish Historical Society welcome Dr. Miriam Eve Mora for a discussion of her new book Carrying a Big Schtick: Jewish Acculturation and Masculinity in the Twentieth Century. She will be joined in conversation by Dr. Ronnie Grinberg (University of Oklahoma), author of Write Like a Man: Jewish Masculinity and the New York Intellectuals. 

For 20th-century Jewish immigrants and their children attempting to gain full access to American society, performative masculinity was a tool of acculturation. However, this performance is consistently challenged by American mainstream society that holds Jewish men outside of the American ideal of masculinity. Depicted as weak, effeminate, cowardly, gentle, bookish, or conflict-averse, Jewish men have been ascribed these qualities by outside forces, but some have also intentionally subscribed themselves to masculinities at odds with the American mainstream. 

Carrying a Big Schtick dissects notions of Jewish masculinity and its perception and practice in America in the 20th century through the lenses of immigration and cultural history. Tracing Jewish masculinity through major themes and events including both World Wars, the Holocaust, American Zionism, Israeli statehood, and the Six-Day War, this work establishes that the struggle of this process can shed light on the changing dynamics in religious, social, and economic American Jewish life. 

Books by both speakers will be available for sale and signing during a reception after the program. Carrying a Big Schtick: Jewish Acculturation and Masculinity in the Twentieth Century (list price $39.99) will be available at a special discount price of $30. You may order the book with your ticket or purchase it during the reception. 

About the Speakers:
Miriam Eve Mora serves as the director of academic programs at the Center for Jewish History in New York City. A historian of American immigration and ethnicity, Mora has served as the inaugural Historian in Residence for the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at the New England Genealogical Historical Society and as the Marcus Center Fellow at the American Jewish Archives. She is cocreator of JewCE: The Jewish Comics Experience, a Jewish comic book and pop culture convention. Her previously published works on antisemitism, contemporary politics, and pop culture have appeared in the Washington Post, Journal of Jewish Identities, and Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion.

Ronnie Grinberg is Associate Professor of History (officially beginning in July 2024) and core faculty member of the Schusterman Center for Judaic and Israel Studies at the University of Oklahoma. She received her Ph.D. in American History from Northwestern University and Bachelor of Arts degree from Barnard College, Columbia University. Her research and teaching interests are in 20th-century America, American Jewish history, women’s and gender history, intellectual history, and social movements. Her book, Write Like a Man: Jewish Masculinity and the New York Intellectuals was published by Princeton University Press in March 2024. It examines the New York intellectuals, a prominent group of mostly male Jewish writers and critics at mid-century, through the lens of gender and ethnicity and in the process tells a larger story about the role of masculinity in American intellectual and political life in the second half of the 20th century. In December 2023 her article, “The First Lady of Neoconservatism’: Midge Decter and the Politics of Family Values” appeared in the Journal of American History. An earlier article, “Neither ‘Sissy’ Boy nor Patrician Man: New York Intellectuals and the Construction of American Jewish Masculinity” won the Wasserman Prize for Outstanding article in American Jewish History.

Tickets: Pay what you wish.