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Esther Jane Ruskay

Esther Jane Ruskay

At a time when the Jewish community was focused on the benefits of assimilation and the possibilities of ethical culture, Esther Jane Ruskay argued passionately for a return to traditional religious practice and study.

Esther Jane Ruskay

Esther Jane Ruskay was a distinguished and outstanding writer and speaker in the Jewish community before the turn of the century. Her articles on Jewish life appeared in numerous newspapers, and a collection of her writings, Hearth and Home Essays, was published in 1902 by the Jewish Publication Society.

Leisure and Recreation in the United States

In the wake of the Civil War, one of the bloodiest wars in the nation’s history, Americans discovered pleasure. “Vacation” became a verb as well as a noun and, in some quarters, even a form of moral exhortation. A vacation, insisted reformer Melvil Dewey, is not just a luxury but a “necessity for those who aim to do a large amount of high-grade work.” Well-to-do, hardworking German-born Jews of the 1870s heeded Dewey’s words. Like other affluent Americans, they vacationed at Saratoga Springs, then one of the country’s premier watering holes, had enjoyed the bracing sea air of the New Jersey shore where luxuriously appointed hotels dotted the beach. “Fond of fun and frolic,” they spent their mornings and afternoons promenading on the boardwalks and boulevards of America’s resort towns; in the evenings they dined, danced, and gambled. America, they believed, was truly God’s playground.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Esther Jane Ruskay." (Viewed on October 22, 2014) <http://jwa.org/taxonomy/term/10137>.

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