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Professors at Ramapo College and Rutgers University Collaborate on ‘The Jews of New Jersey: A Pictoral History’

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)December 5, 2001

(Mahwah) – The Jews of New Jersey: A Pictorial History, the first book to pay tribute to the visual heritage of this group, offers the reader a glimpse into the rich culture and history of New Jersey’s Jewish community. Co-authored by Patricia M. Ard, an assistant professor of English at Ramapo College of New Jersey and Michael Aaron Rockland, a professor of American studies at Rutgers University, the book combines a lively narrative and hundreds of archival and rare family photographs that contribute to the reality of Jewish history.

The authors state, “We…decided that this would be a book not about famous New Jersey Jews but the texture of everyday life of New Jersey’s 460,000 Jews and their ancestors. We were not interested in celebrating this Jewish scientist, that Jewish poet, or in constructing yet another book full of revelations that such-and-such a movie star or politician or athlete is/was Jewish. We believe the Jewish community has become sufficiently self-confident and mature, and that America has become sufficiently accepting of Jews, that it is no longer necessary to engage in this form of Jewish public relations.”

Since the 17th century, Jews have called New Jersey home and they now make up about six percent of the state’s residents. Their heritage has become an integral part of these communities. Some of the locations featured in The Jews of New Jersey are Newark, Paterson, Trenton, Camden, southern New Jersey farming communities, the Hasidic community in Morristown, the artists’ colony of Roosevelt in Monmouth County, New Brunswick/Highland Park, beach towns such as Bradley Beach and Deal, and post-war suburbs such as the Oranges, Cherry Hill and Short Hills.
Attention is given to ordinary people in these communities who share stories of their joys and triumphs – how they revitalized Jewish orthodoxy and traditions and the struggles and difficulties posed by intermarriage and assimilation. They were homemakers, storekeepers, factory workers, athletes, children, farmers, activists, religious leaders, and Holocaust survivors who impacted and changed their communities.

Published by Rutgers University Press, the book is of interest to a wide audience, from historians to general readers.


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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