The Art of the Jewish Family: A History Of Women In Early New York In Five Objects

By :  Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary Posted On Jun 22, 2020 | Author Conversations: Between the Lines | Gender

A Discussion with Author Dr. Laura Arnold Leibman

In The Art of the Jewish Family, Dr. Laura Arnold Leibman examines five objects owned by a diverse group of Jewish women who lived in New York between the years 1750 and 1850. Each chapter creates a biography of a single woman through an object, offering a new methodology that looks past texts alone to material culture in order to further understand early Jewish American women’s lives and restore their agency as creators of Jewish identity.

This event was sponsored by The JTS Library. Dr. David Kraemer, Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian and professor of Talmud and Rabbinics, JTS, served as moderator.

About Dr. Laura Arnold Leibman

Laura Arnold Leibman is a professor of English and Humanities at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Her work focuses on religion and the daily lives of women and children in early America and uses everyday objects to help bring their stories back to life. She has been a visiting fellow at Oxford University, a Fulbright scholar at the University of Utrecht, the University of Panama, and Bard Graduate Center. Her second book, MessianismSecrecy and Mysticism: A New Interpretation of Early American Jewish Life (2012) uses material culture to retell the history of early American Jews, and won a Jordan Schnitzer Book Award and a National Jewish Book Award, and was a Choice Outstanding Academic Title. She is currently writing about an early multiracial Jewish family who began their lives as slaves in the Caribbean and became some of the wealthiest Jews in New York.