Jewish Stars in Texas: Rabbis and Their Work

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Texas A & M University Press, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 302 pages
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A fraction of Texans are Jewish, yet Texas rabbis are among the most influential, colorful, and celebrated figures in the state's history and culture. In Jewish Stars in Texas, Hollace Ava Weiner examines eleven rabbis whose wisdom and leadership were felt not only by their congregations but also by their communities.

Texas proved to be a blank slate for many rabbis—a chance to escape traditional practices, make a fresh start, or, simply, a chance to make a living. Of Weiner's eleven rabbis, ten grew to lead Reform congregations, stressing social justice and community service, and one was affiliated with Conservative Judaism, which seeks to balance tradition with modernity.

Jewish Stars in Texas begins with the first large wave of Jewish immigrants to arrive in Texas in the 1870s. Weiner addresses the rabbis' roles as mixers, who bridged Jewish traditions with the cultural demands of Texas, and as motivators, who stirred up involvement in social causes.

The influence of these Texas rabbis—whether it involved fighting the Ku Klux Klan or founding a symphony—can be appreciated by everyone who benefitted from the causes they championed. Jews and Texans who wish to learn more about their heritage will find this book essential reading and an engaging source of informative and colorful stories.

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About the author (2006)

HOLLACE AVA WEINER, a native of Washington, D.C., graduated from the University of Maryland and for ten years was a journalist with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Her research into Texas rabbis has been published in American Jewish History, and her essay on Corpus Christi Rabbi Sidney Wolf is in the anthology Quiet Voices: Southern Rabbis and Black Civil Rights. She lives in Fort Worth