Texas has one of the largest Jewish populations in the South and West, comprising an often-overlooked vestige of the Diaspora. The Chosen Folks brings this rich aspect of the past to light, going beyond single biographies and photographic histories to explore the full evolution of the Jewish experience in Texas.
Drawing on previously unpublished archival materials and synthesizing earlier research, Bryan Edward Stone begins with the crypto-Jews who fled the Spanish Inquisition in the late sixteenth century and then discusses the unique Texas-Jewish communities that flourished far from the acknowledged centers of Jewish history and culture. The effects of this peripheral identity are explored in depth, from the days when geographic distance created physical divides to the redefinitions of "frontier" that marked the twentieth century. The rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the creation of Israel in the wake of the Holocaust, and the civil rights movement are covered as well, raising provocative questions about the attributes that enabled Texas Jews to forge a distinctive identity on the national and world stage. Brimming with memorable narratives, The Chosen Folks brings to life a cast of vibrant pioneers.
Bryan Edward Stone is an Associate Professor of History at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas, and has been a Visiting Professor at the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He has published a variety of articles on Texas Jewry.
Bryan Stone is a gifted thinker and storyteller. His book on the history of Texas Jewry integrates the collective scholarship and memoirs of generations of writers into a cohesive account with a strong interpretive message.
~Hollace Ava Weiner
Prologue: Rope Walker, A True Story
Chapter 1. Los Judíos en la Frontera
Chapter 2. A "Wild Indian Region": At Home on the Frontier
Chapter 3. The Possum and the Zionist
Chapter 4. Texas News for Texas Jews
Chapter 5. Texas Jews and the Ku Klux Klan
Chapter 6. Traditional Judaism and the Beth Israel Revolt
Chapter 7. Texas Jews Respond to the World Crises of the 1940s
Chapter 8. "Are You Going to Serve Us?": Texas Jews and the Black Civil Rights Movement
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