The Tangled History of Shuls and Real Estate
Had it been two blocks south and a bit farther east, the 16th Street Synagogue would have been included in Gerard R. Wolfe’s excellent new edition of his classic work, “The Synagogues of New York’s Lower East Side: A Retrospective and Contemporary View” (Empire State Editions/Fordham University Press). That shul, formerly the Young Israel of Fifth Avenue, is being evicted from its building, after a long dispute with a developer.
Those interested in New York City’s building genealogy and the intertwining connections between real estate interests, immigrant history, shifting populations and synagogue life will find much of interest in Wolfe’s book, first published in 1978. He details the active synagogues (12) and the “lost” or endangered synagogues (24), and also includes a great chronological chart documenting shul mergers and breakaways in New York City, 1654 – 1875.
Wolfe, an architectural historian, unpeels layers of the past behind the congregations and their buildings. He pays careful attention to the special features of the buildings (the Bialystoker Synagogue, built as a church, may have been a station on the Underground Railroad, sheltering runaway slaves) and their architects (the Erste Warshawer Congregation, First Warsaw Congregation, now repurposed to art studios and residence, was designed by Emery Roth, known for designing the Sam Remo apartment house on Central Park West); and their struggles, some ongoing.
Sadly, in this edition, Congregation Beth Hamedrash Hagadol on Norfolk Street moved from the active synagogue to the endangered section, shortly before the book went to press. That shul ‘s sanctuary has magnificent wall paintings and carvings, along with a storied history of distinguished rabbis, most recently, the late Rabbi Ephraim Oshry, who had been the rabbi of the Kovno ghetto. A group including his son-in-law and leaders of the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy is trying to secure funding for restoration and renovation. READ MORE
1/20/13 The Tangled History of Shuls and Real Estate By Sandee Brawarsky Had it been two blocks south and a bit farther east, the 16th Street Synagogue would have been included in Gerard R. Wolfe’s excellent new edition of his … Full Story
We’re excited to see Red Tails featuring Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Terrence Howard. Produced by George Lucas, the movie launches Friday, January 20, 2012 and promises to be a gripping story about the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American pilots in the military, and were named for the town in Alabama where they were trained.
We like to think the movie was inspired by one of FUP’s bestselling authors—Alexander Jefferson. While Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free is one of the few memoirs of combat in World War II by a distinguished African-American pilot, it is also perhaps the only account of the African-American experience behind barbed wire in a German prison camp.
Alex Jefferson was one of 32 Tuskegee Airmen from the 332nd Fighter Group to be shot down defending a country that considered them to be second-class citizens. A Detroit native, Jefferson enlisted in 1942, trained at Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, became a second lieutenant in 1943, and joined one of the most decorated fighting units in the War, flying P51s with their legendary—and feared —“red tails.”
Alex Jefferson writes what it was like not only to be an African-American pilot flying during WWII, but also what it was like being a prisoner of war in Germany. Jefferson was shot down in 1944, right in German territory. He was immediately taken captive by German soldiers and held in a POW camp for nine months. His memoir, co-written by Lewis Carlson, spares no details of his experiences fighting for a country where he did not have equal rights.
Alex’s story is vivid and personal. An unvarnished look at life as a fighter pilot and POW, it is also a look at race and democracy in American through the eyes of a patriot who fought to protect the promise of freedom—not only on the front lines, but also as he moved through the camps, air bases, and segregated streets of hometown America.
We’re excited to see Red Tails featuring Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Terrence Howard. Produced by George Lucas, the movie launches Friday, January 20, 2012 and promises to be a gripping story about the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II. The … Full Story
Author James H. Johnston spoke at Claymont Court Mansion this past weekend. Claymont is one of a number of Washington family homes around Charles Town, WV. Johnston joined Walter Washington and Betsy Wells (Washington’s descendants) as part of an effort to educate and inform people of the rich history in Jefferson Country, West Virginia.
While Walter and Betsy highlighted the family history of the Washingtons in the area, Jim Johnston took a slightly different approach.Jim spoke about the Bealls, a prominent family in the area. The Beall family owned Yarrow Mamout, a slave that is the subject of Jim’s forthcoming book From Slave Ship to Harvard: Yarrow Mamout and the History of an African American Family.
Through this historical account, Jim has reconstructed a unique narrative of black struggle and achievement from paintings, photographs, books, diaries, court records, legal documents, and oral histories. From Slave Ship to Harvard traces the family from the colonial period and the American Revolution through the Civil War to Harvard and finally today.
Yarrow Mamout, the first of the family in America, was an educated Muslim from Guinea. He was brought to Maryland on the slave ship Elijah and gained his freedom forty-four years later. By then, Yarrow had become so well known in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C., that he attracted the attention of the eminent American portrait painter Charles Willson Peale, who captured Yarrow’s visage in one of his paintings.
Recently, the portrait of Yarrow Mamout has been sold by the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, showing the continual impact that the past is continually brought into the present. The era of the Washingtons, Bealls, and Mamouts continues to stay with us.
For more information on the seminar, please click here.
Author James H. Johnston spoke at Claymont Court Mansion this past weekend. Claymont is one of a number of Washington family homes around Charles Town, WV. Johnston joined Walter Washington and Betsy Wells (Washington’s descendants) as part of an effort to … Full Story
It’s official: reports indicate that by midnight on October 31st, 2011, an outbreak of the undead will begin to infect the population of New York City. Roads will be barricaded, bridges will collapse, and the entire city may very well be turned on its head. Sensing this approaching doom, the greatest weapon that we can arm ourselves with is knowledge. In order to be completely ready to fight back the groaning, blood-drenched hordes that await us, we must first learn to understand the zombie at its most fundamental and philosophical levels.
Better Off Dead: The Evolution of the Zombie as Post-Human, edited by Deborah Christie and Sarah Juliet Lauro, explores the zombie from many different points of view, the contributors look across history and across media. Though they represent various theoretical perspectives, the whole makes a cohesive argument: The zombie has not just evolved within narratives; it has evolved in a way that transforms narrative. This collection announces a new post-zombie, even before the boundaries of this rich and mysterious myth have been completely charted.
We must ask ourselves: Are zombies becoming more human, or are humans becoming more like zombies? If we are, might that resolve some of our uniquely humanist problems? Will the equalizing force of the zombie horde undergo gender trouble, identity politics, and disparities between the haves and the have-nots? Might we not all be better off dead?
Here’s a sneak peek at “And the Dead Shall Rise”.
It’s official: reports indicate that by midnight on October 31st, 2011, an outbreak of the undead will begin to infect the population of New York City. Roads will be barricaded, bridges will collapse, and the entire city may very well … Full Story
The winner of the 2009-2010 competition is Neni Panourgiá for Dangerous Citizens: The Greek Left and the Terror of the State, Fordham University Press.
The Edmund Keeley Book Prize is awarded to an academic book dealing with modern Greece or a Hellenic theme published originally in the English language.
For more information click here.
“Dangerous Citizens is a simultaneous indictment of the “liberal” nation-state’s blithe pretensions and willful self-ignorance; of the political and discursive relegation of modern Greek history to the historical margins of the colonial “civilizing mission”; and of inhuman simplifications of the past everywhere. In an evocation of Oedipus that owes nothing to crass invocations of continuity with the ancient world, Neni Panourgiá writes with the ethical passion of a partial witness who nonetheless claims no special privilege other than that of the common humanity denied by the state to those it repeatedly configures as its enemies. In posing this appealingly controversial challenge to the liberal self-imagination, moreover, Panourgiá–who has honed her distinctive writing idiom into a compelling mix of careful scholarship and stylistic adventurism–calls anthropology itself to account.”–Michael Herzfeld, Harvard University
“Dangerous Citizens is a powerful and unforgettable book. It is at once a horrific history of nearly a century of state violence in Greece that few people may be aware of; a profound meditation on the conditions of possibility for both the idea and the reality of concentration camps; and a text that intertwines ethnography, history, and personal memoir to very powerful effect.”–Sherry Ortner, University of California, Los Angeles
Dangerous Citizens also won Honorable Mention for the 2009 Prose Awards in Archeology & Anthropology.
To read more about Neni Panourgiá and Dangerous Citizens: Click here.
The winner of the 2009-2010 competition is Neni Panourgiá for Dangerous Citizens: The Greek Left and the Terror of the State, Fordham University Press. The Edmund Keeley Book Prize is awarded to an academic book dealing with modern Greece or … Full Story