15 January 2007

The oys of Texas are upon you

A new addition to the Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture and Life focuses on the Texas Jewish experience.

Lone Stars of David: The Jews of Texas was written by fourth-generation Texan Robert S. Strauss (his great-grandfather was the first ordained pulpit rabbi in the state), and edited by Fort Worth historian Hollace Ava Weiner and Corpus Christi Rabbi Kenneth D. Roseman. It's available on Amazon.com, and on the cover are boots inlaid with gold Stars of David, which Weiner wears to signings.

The Dallas Morning News story about the book convinced me to put it on my to-buy list.

"Consider Helena Landa, matriarch of the only Jewish family in New Braunfels in the early 1850s. She used a spur – the kind that make horses go fast – to put air holes in matzo she baked for a Passover Seder."

According to the article, the cast of characters features peddlers, cattlemen, Confederate soldiers, wildcatters, merchants, philanthropists, suffragettes, Zionists and others.

The book ranges far and wide; it covers 16th century Conversos, cattlemen from Alsace, Galveston Rabbi Henry Cohen, Bavarian storekeepers, Confederate Army soldiers , oil barons, upscale retailers, the computer industry and politics.

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