"You can have a good time just leafing through these pages, but sooner or later you'll want to read every word, because this is a book with a serious pedigree."—Texas Jewish Post
An essay collection of lively written, lavishly illustrated, and well-documented narratives on the history and culture of Texas Jews.
Jewish life in the United States is too often told from an East Coast perspective. Lone Stars of David presents a different panorama, with narratives of Jews who ventured to Texas before the battle of the Alamo, who fought for the Confederacy, who herded cattle up the Chisholm Trail, who drilled for oil, and who forged Jewish communities far from New York’s Lower East Side. These essays also describe how Texas Jews faced the Ku Klux Klan and how they respond today to Christian fundamentalism.
This anthology examines the famous, with a close-up look at Neiman-Marcus, the chain synonymous with remarkable luxuries. It profiles Zale jewelers, founded by a young immigrant who grew into an international business icon. Another essay opens a window to the Dell Computer Corporation, with the story of Michael Dell, the college dropout whose philanthropy changed the course of the Austin Jewish community.
Written by historians, journalists, and rabbis who have experienced Texas firsthand, these essays challenge stereotypes. One chapter discounts the impact of crypto-Jews who fled the Spanish Inquisition for the New World. Another defies conventional wisdom about southern views toward Zionism. El Paso emerges as the unlikely home of a Holocaust museum. The book’s essay on Jews in Texas politics analyzes the import of populist candidate Kinky Friedman and introduces Marjorie Arsht, a grassroots organizer whose living room was the setting for Republican George H. W. Bush’s first foray into politics.
The Jewish population of Texas totals 131,000, a mere 0.6 percent of the state’s residents, yet its impact has been widespread. This anthology explores the resiliency, diversity, and adaptability of Jews in the Lone Star State, a place with its own powerful sense of identity.
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Reviews / Endorsements:
"A wonderful collection, richly illustrated, these 21 chapters by three dozen knowledgeable authors are charmingly readable."—Will's Texana Monthly
Indeed, throughout the course of the book, the reader can trace the growth of various Jewish communities in Texas, as well as the growth of economic opportunities for those communities. On the whole, “Lone Stars of David” also provides a clear and detailed accounting of how many of the institutions of most Texas Jewish communities were established, and on how and why they either ceased or continued to function. From discussing women’s clubs to early Texas Zionism to the generosity of El Paso’s residents to Holocaust survivors, “Lone Stars of David” does an admirable job of attempting to capture the diversity of Texas’s Jews, while demonstrating their role in shaping the history of the state. —Forward
"The richness and readability of the volume is a credit to the talents of its editors. Hollace Weiner writes with the ear of a journalist and the eye of a painter. Rabbi and historian Kenneth A. Roseman . . . was recruited early in the project and helped shape its themes and structure." —American Jewish History
"Here is a moving history of contributions made by the Jewish people and the pathos of their immigration, settling, and integration into the Texas landscape. While they are so few in number in this vast land we call Texas, they are always prominent if not predominate in their support and contributions to all things cultural, educational, and social within our boundaries. The quality of Texas life has been enriched beyond words by their presence."—Dan Jenkins, novelist, sportswriter, Texan
"This book fills in a lot of blanks regarding the role of Jews in Texas history, especially in the areas of education, petroleum, merchandising and philanthropy. It's about time some of this was documented. It's a fascinating scholarly work written by some talented storytellers."—Tumbleweed Smith, Texas Folklorist
HOLLACE AVA WEINER, a journalist-turned-historian, is the author of Jewish Stars in Texas: Rabbis and Their Work (1999). She is a past-president of the Southern Jewish Historical Society and has written about Texas Jewry for journals, encyclopedias, newspapers, and anthologies.
KENNETH D. ROSEMAN, rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel in Corpus Christi, has a Ph.D. in history and has written a prize-winning series of nonfiction books for juvenile readers.
ROBERT S. STRAUSS, a fourth-generation Texan, was chairman of the Democratic National Party during Jimmy Carter’s campaign and served as ambassador to Russia under George H.W. Bush.