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Reviews

"On Middle Ground provides a holistic approach to chronicling Baltimore's Jewish community. Drawing upon rich sources spanning over 250 years—including manuscript collections, oral histories, and newspaper accounts—this history is told in concert with the history of Baltimore's Jewish institutions, and its diverse ethnic community bringing them to life in a way that is unique to Baltimore. On Middle Ground is a foundational work that uses Baltimore as a historical case study to analyze some of the influential culminations of American Jewish life."

"Eric L. Goldstein and Deborah R. Weiner trace the history of the Jews of the city of Baltimore from colonial times through the present, providing one of the few comprehensive histories of an American Jewish community outside of New York City. In addition to telling the story of the American Jewish experience at a local level, the authors ask how a variety of different factors—particularly geography, class conflict, and racial dynamics—have shaped the contours of American ethnic identity."

"[On Middle Ground] offers an outstanding model of deeply researched local ethnic history."

"As award-winning historians sponsored by the Jewish Museum of Maryland, Goldstein and Weiner write as both insiders and outsiders. Community members will see names and institutions acknowledged, and scholars will find informed argument. Anecdotes enliven the social history... Goldstein and Weiner argue for Baltimore's place as a "city and mother in Israel" among the foundational communities of American Jewry. In so doing they ask us to rethink our assumptions. Engagingly written, cogently argued, this book, like Baltimore itself, deserves a place among the exceptional Jewish histories of Boston, Cincinnati, and New York."

"On Middle Ground: A History of the Jews of Baltimore offers a prodigiously researched and highly nuanced history of Baltimore Jewry. Readers unfamiliar with the contours of American Jewish history will find myriad connections to topics important in African American, ethnic, labor, political, and urban history."

"The history of Baltimore Jews, as Goldstein and Weiner so deftly show, often proves to be exceptional, challenging accepted narratives of American Jewish history. On Middle Ground persuasively demonstrates the value of a Jewish urban history that draws heavily on urban social, economic, and political studies of the past several decades."

"Goldstein and Weiner detail every aspect of Jewish life, including day-to-day economic obstacles and opportunities, long-term political struggles, religious observance, and efforts to build communal and social institutions. In all of these spheres, Goldstein and Weiner highlight the influence of a succession of Jewish immigrants, from a variety of locales, with diverse religious and cultural practices... On Middle Ground provides a comprehensive biography of the city itself and all of its ethnic and religious communities."

"This compelling, well-written, and thoroughly researched book fills an absence both in the literature on the history of Baltimore and in the field of American Jewish history."

"A truly excellent and substantive book that embeds the Jewish experience within general and economic history. Nobody knows more about Baltimore's Jewish community than Goldstein and Weiner."