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Jewish Atlantic World

Laura Leibman

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Penha House

About the Collection

This collection began when I was doing research for Messianism, Secrecy, and Mysticism: A New Interpretation of Early American Jewish Life.  In this book, I am interested in the ways in which colonial American Judaism was as much an embodied religion as it was a textual or faith-based practice.  That is, I argue that we should think of colonial American Jews as a “people of the body” as well as a “people of the book,” and I look to the ways that everyday objects helped define and create Jewish identity. By sharing the images used to create this book, I hope to enable students, scholars, and family historians to trace the paths that early American Jews (and their objects) took, as well as to gain a richer sense of their everyday lives.  In the collection, you will find images from many of the key ports where Jews settled in North America and the Caribbean, as well as several crucial ports from which they immigrated (Amsterdam, London, Hamburg). You will also find comparison images for non-Jewish artifacts to help people understand both what made Jewish life distinctive and how Jews adapted to meet local tastes and trends.

Book coverIf you would like to learn more about the religious life of early American Jews and the objects they used, please feel free to order a copy of Messianism, Secrecy, and Mysticism: A New Interpretation of Early American Jewish Life from ISBS or Purchase of the book is optional, however; this website is freely available to the public as an educational, not-for-profit tool for teaching and learning.

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This website (design and descriptive material) is copyrighted ©2012 by Reed College and Laura Leibman. The images on the website are copyrighted by other third parties, and are provided in this website to support research, teaching and study. You may use any materials in this website on a fair use basis, in accordance with Title 17, Section 107 of U.S. copyright law. Other uses of these materials may require permission from the copyright holder. It is the user’s responsibility to determine and/or clear any necessary rights. We believe that our efforts to clear the rights to use all information and content (image, graphic or other media file) published on this site are consistent with the standards applicable to use for non-commercial, scholarly research and commentary. Notwithstanding our care, if you believe that any information or content published on this site is erroneous or in violation of your rights, please notify us at [email] and include your name, contact information, whether you own the rights in the information or content, and the basis for the complaint. We will assess your information and take one of the following actions: (i) determine that our clearance for use is appropriate and leave the information or content as published, (ii) correct the information, (iii) temporarily remove the information or content while we resolve the complaint, or (iv) permanently remove the information or content. Please note that publicly available facts about a person's birth and death are in the public domain and the right to control photography in a cemetery generally belongs to the owner of the cemetery. To assist us in helping sort out your concerns about the information or content posted on our site, please be as specific as possible about the nature of the complaint and provide as many details as possible about why publication on this site is a violation of your rights. Thank you.