Dr. Mark Raider’s most recent article has been published in Issues in Contemporary Jewish History. His article, “Stephen S. Wise and the Urban Frontier: American Jewish Life in New York and the Pacific Northwest at the Dawn of the 20th Century” (the full article can be read here) is part of a special issue: “Modernity and the Cities of the Jews.” The abstract from the article explains,
The case of Stephen S. Wise provides a lens through which to examine American Jewry’s transformation at the dawn of the 20th century. Not only were New York City and Portland, Oregon – places Wise called home – two geographic poles of America’s urban frontier, they also highlight a spectrum of possibilities available to the New World’s fledgling Jewish community. Viewed in tandem, they illustrate American society’s raw, open, and pliable terrain as it emerged from a rural pre-industrial past. Moreover, by placing Wise in the context of the metropolitan growth that reshaped the Atlantic and Pacific frontiers in the late 19th century, we gain a better understanding of the relationship between the country’s dynamic environmental conditions and the phenomenon of Jewish immigrant absorption, acculturation, and Americanization. In withdrawing to the wilderness, Wise exposed himself to new possibilities for thinking about the place of Jews in American society and the future of American Judaism. He also honed the role of which he was to become a superlative exemplar – a 20th-century American rabbi at home in the worlds of religion and politics. Furthermore, his synthesis of liberal Judaism, American pluralism, Zionism, and Progressive-era notions of social justice anticipated the rise of a new American Jewish sensibility that would become normative in the 20th century.
Dr. Raider is Professor of Modern Jewish History in the Department of History.