Jenna Weissman Joselit

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Jenna Weissman Joselit


Office Phone: (202) 994-1543
801 22nd St NW Washington, DC 20052

Jenna Weissman Joselit, the Charles E. Smith Professor of Judaic Studies & Professor of History, specializes in the history and culture of America’s Jews and in U.S. cultural history from the late nineteenth century on through the 1950s, and also directs a graduate program in Jewish cultural arts. Her work, both within and without the classroom, pays especially close attention to the relationship between material culture and identity. Her books include Set in Stone:  America’s Embrace of the Ten CommandmentsThe Wonders of America: Reinventing Jewish Culture, 1880-1950, which received the National Jewish Book Award in History, and A Perfect Fit: Clothes, Character, and the Promise of America. A founding member of NYU’s Working Group on Jews, Media and Religion, she has also been a Senior Fellow at Princeton University’s Center for the Study of American Religion, on whose Academic Advisory Council she sits; a fellow at Yale University’s Center for Art and Material Culture, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Judaic Studies. Most recently, Professor Weissman Joselit has been a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress.  In addition to her academic pursuits, she writes a monthly column on American Jewish culture for Tablet: The Online Magazine of Jewish Culture and has been a frequent contributor to the Jewish Review of Books, the New Republic, TNR Online, Gastronomica, as well as the Forward, where her monthly column ran for sixteen consecutive years.

Charles E. Smith Professor of Judaic Studies

  • 20th-century United States
  • Jewish History
  • Women and Gender

Set in Stone:  America's Embrace of the Ten Commandments. May 1, 2017

"Fiddler on the Roof Distorted Sholem AleichemNew Republic, June 7, 2014

"Mendelssohn's Tea Pot: How Artists Reinvent the Jewish Past and the Jewish Future." Zeek, December 18, 2013.

"Israel on the Hudson." Jewish Review of Books 4, no. 1 (Spring 2013).

"My Country, My Country." TNR: The Book, August 1, 2012.

"Forum - American Religion and the Old and New Immigration." Religion and American Culture 22, no. 1 (Winter 2012): 2-7.

Jews Don’t Eat Insects.” TNR: The Book, August, 2011.

Enlightened Views.” Tablet, July 1, 2010.

"Culture Mavens: Feeling At Home in America," Jewish Cultural Studies, Vol. 2, 2010.

When Moses Saved the Man of Steel.” The Forward, June 19, 2009.

Notice! Getting under the Cheerful Surface of Historical Signage.” Nextbook, January 13, 2009.

Paste and Future.” The New Republic, November 19, 2008: 42-44.

Rules Writ Large: Keith Haring’s Confounding ‘Ten Commandments.’” Nextbook, November 19, 2008.

A Parade of Faiths: Religion in American Life. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

“Best-in-Show: American Jews and the Modern Museum.” In Imagining the American Jewish Community, ed. Jack Wertheimer, 141-57. Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England, 2007.

“Fun and Games: American Jews and the Pursuit of Leisure.” In The Columbia History of Jews and Judaism in America, ed. Marc Lee Raphael, 246-62. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.

“Man of the People: How Moses Became an American Icon,” TNR Online, August 28, 2007.

The Wonders of America: Reinventing Jewish Culture, 1880-1950. New York: Picador, 2002. Winner, National Jewish Book Award in History.

A Perfect Fit: Clothes, Character, and the Promise of America. New York: Henry Holt, 2002.

“The Special Sphere of the Middle-Class American Jewish Woman: The Synagogue Sisterhood.” In The American Synagogue: A Sanctuary Transformed, ed. Jack Wertheimer, 206-230. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987.

Our Gang: Jewish Crime and the New York Jewish Community. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1983.

  • Ph.D., Columbia University, 1981