Mary Antin

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Collection

Jewish Women and Intermarriage in the United States

Marriages between Jews and people of other faiths have long fascinated scholars, clergy, and communal leaders, who often considered the choice of a Jewish spouse as an indication of the strength of ethnoreligious identity and commitment to perpetuating Judaism and the Jewish people. However, many Jewish women who intermarry in the United States continue to identify Jewishly, engage in the Jewish community, and raise Jewish children.

This entry uses gender as category of analysis and change over time to illuminate the experience and meaning of interfaith marriage for Jewish women in America. It describes how women navigated their ethnoreligious identities when they married Gentile men, the influences of feminism, the rise of ethnic consciousness, and parenthood.

Twenty-First Century Jewish Literature by Women in the US

Twenty-first-century Jewish women’s writing in the United States is wide-ranging in genre and topic. In this body of literature, we can find insightful and nuanced stories of contemporary American life as well as fiction that delves into lost or forgotten Jewish histories. From a female Spinoza to a female golem, a strong feminist ethic is pervasive in these writings.

Immigrant Mary Antin packs the house at the Waldorf Astoria.

December 8, 1912

Mary Antin writes, “I was born, I have lived, and I have been made over. Is it not time to write my life’s story?”

Mary Antin

Mary Antin's Promised Land

Gabrielle Orcha

Boston, MA-- Last night the New Center for Arts and Culture presented an evening of music and storytelling drawn from the history of Boston’s early Jewish community.

Topics: Memoirs

Review of Mary Antin's "The Promised Land" appears in the "New York Times"

April 14, 1912

Only 30 years old when she published her autobiography, The Promised Land, Mary Antin captured the dreams and experiences of turn-of-the-cent

Jessie Ethel Sampter

Jessie Ethel Sampter was a Zionist pioneer, helping found kibbutzim and becoming one of Israel’s first modern poets. Sampter’s early interest in ethical culture, pacifism, and Zionism led her to Henrietta Szold, who became her friend and mentor.

Fiction in the United States

Literature by American Jewish women reflects historical trends in American Jewish life and indicates the changing issues facing writers who worked to position themselves as Americans, Jews, and women.

Eastern European Immigrants in the United States

Forty-four percent of the approximately two million Jewish immigrants who arrived in the United States between 1886 and 1914 were women. Although these women were more politically active and autonomous than other immigrant women, dire economic circumstances constricted their lives. The hopes these immigrant women harbored for themselves were often transferred to the younger generation.

Autobiography in the United States

As the status and roles of women in American and Jewish life changed over the twentieth century, more and more American Jewish women turned to autobiographical writing as a means of documenting these changes and addressing questions of American, Jewish, and female identity. Jewish women created accounts of the immigrant experience, feminist or activist involvement, political and literary involvement, Holocaust survival narratives, as well as coming-of-age memoirs.

Mary Antin

With the publication of the memoir The Promised Land in 1912, the first bestseller written by and about an American Jew, the Russian Jewish immigrant Mary Antin celebrated America’s open door and boundless opportunities. Although the book’s reputation has waxed and waned over time, it has remained in print for more than a century.

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