Does the American Jewish experience represent a singular communal circumstance, or does it repeat, with obvious and unavoidable variation, the older European pattern of Jewish existence? In 2004, on the occasion of the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the American Jewish community, this question seemed well worth revisiting. To explore it more fully, the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies at Boston University brought together a distinguished group of expert scholars on the main areas of American Jewish life, stretching from the colonial Jewish experience to the image of Jews in contemporary films. The present volume represents the fruit of this collective reflection and interrogation.
Steven T. Katz is director of the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies at Boston University, Boston, Ma., and holds the Alvin J. and Shirley Slater Chair in Jewish and Holocaust Studies. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1972.