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Jews and BoozeBecoming American in the Age of Prohibition$
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Marni Davis

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814720288

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814720288.001.0001

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Setting up Shop

Setting up Shop

Jews Becoming Americans in the Nineteenth-Century Alcohol Trade

(p.15) 1 Setting up Shop
Jews and Booze

Marni Davis

NYU Press

This chapter discusses American Jews' growing presence in the alcohol industry during the nineteenth century. For American Jews, the alcohol business represented both a connection with their past and a means to improve their present. Their pre-migrational familiarity with the processes of production and distribution dovetailed with the structure of the American alcohol trade, creating opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to establish themselves in their new country. The alcohol industry facilitated economic mobility and served as a force of acculturation, while creating and sustaining Jewish communities through ethnic entrepreneurial networks. The chapter also looks at anti-Semitism in the nineteenth century and the temperance and prohibition movements' participation in the campaign to “Christianize” American society and politics.

Keywords:   American Jews, alcohol industry, economic mobility, acculturation, Jewish communities, Jewish immigrants, Christianity, secularization, temperance movement, prohibition

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