Coalfield Jews: An Appalachian History
The stories of vibrant eastern European Jewish communities in the Appalachian coalfields
Coalfield Jews explores the intersection of two simultaneous historic events: central Appalachia’s transformative coal boom (1880s-1920), and the mass migration of eastern European Jews to America. Traveling to southern West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and southwestern Virginia to investigate the coal boom’s opportunities, some Jewish immigrants found success as retailers and established numerous small but flourishing Jewish communities.
Deborah R. Weiner’s Coalfield Jews provides the first extended study of Jews in Appalachia, exploring where they settled, how they made their place within a surprisingly receptive dominant culture, how they competed with coal company stores, interacted with their non-Jewish neighbors, and maintained a strong Jewish identity deep in the heart of the Appalachian mountains. To tell this story, Weiner draws on a wide range of primary sources in social, cultural, religious, labor, economic, and regional history. She also includes moving personal statements, from oral histories as well as archival sources, to create a holistic portrayal of Jewish life that will challenge commonly held views of Appalachia as well as the American Jewish experience.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
activities African American antisemitism arrived B’nai Baltimore Bank became Beckley Beckley Jewish Community Bell County Bluefield Bluefield Daily Telegraph boomtowns Central Appalachian City coal companies coal industry coal miners coal operators coalfield Jews coalfield towns company store county seats culture customers David East European Jews economic Eiland ethnic Fayette County Fayette Journal groups Harlan County Hebrew historian History Isadore Jacob Epstein Jewish Consciousness Jewish families Jewish immigrants Jewish merchants Jewish population Judaism Katzen Kentucky Keystone Keystone’s land lived Logan Lopinsky Manuscript Census Matewan McDowell County McDowell Recorder middle class Middlesboro Mingo mining mountains newspaper niche non-Jewish non-Jews Northfork offered Ofsa Orthodox peddlers percent Pocahontas railroad recalled region religious retail role saloon Scott scrip served Shinedling and Pickus small-town Sniderman social society southern West Virginia student rabbi synagogue Tazewell County tion town’s traditional U.S. Census Bureau various interviews Weinstein Welch West Virginia Jewry Wilcoe women