A Biblical People in the Bible Belt: The Jewish Community of Memphis, Tennessee, 1840s-1960s

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For a variety of reasons, Jewish Memphians suffered little overt prejudice and managed to take care of their own needs while attending to those of the community as a whole. As a result, from the outset of their residence in Memphis, Jews held positions of municipal leadership, were active supporters of Memphis's cultural and philanthropic activities, and aided in the course of racial integration. Narrating the life of Jews in Memphis from the antebellum period through the 1960s, Lewis artfully blends discussions of the Jewish community's proactive impact on the city's development with its reactions to events local, national, and international. She vividly highlights their roles in and responses to the Civil War, late nineteenth-century immigration, Zionism, the world wars, the Holocaust, and the civil rights movement. The result is an important work of Jewish, American, and Southern religious history.