Jews are a people of law, and law defines who the Jewish people are and what they believe. This anthology engages with the growing complexity of what it is to be Jewish — and, more problematically, what it means to be at once Jewish and participate in secular legal systems as lawyers, judges, legal thinkers, civil rights advocates, and teachers. The essays in this book trace the history and chart the sociology of the Jewish legal profession over time, revealing new stories and dimensions of this significant aspect of the American Jewish experience and at the same time exploring the impact of Jewish lawyers and law firms on American legal practice.
“This superb collection reveals what an older focus on assimilation obscured. Jewish lawyers wanted to ‘make it,’ but they also wanted to make law and the legal profession different and better. These fascinating essays show how, despite considerable obstacles, they succeeded.”
— Daniel R. Ernst
Professor of Law,
Georgetown University Law Center
Author of Tocqueville’s Nightmare: The Administrative State Emerges in America, 1900-1940
“This fascinating collection of essays by distinguished scholars illuminates the distinctive and intricate relationship between Jews and law. Exploring the various roles of Jewish lawyers in the United States, Germany, and Israel, they reveal how the practice of law has variously expressed, reinforced, or muted Jewish identity as lawyers demonstrated their commitments to the public interest, social justice, Jewish tradition, or personal ambition. Any student of law, lawyers, or Jewish values will be engaged by the questions asked and answered.”
— Jerold S. Auerbach
Professor Emeritus of History,
Author of Unequal Justice and Rabbis and Lawyers
Additional chapter contributions are by internationally recognized scholars in their fields, including Morton Horwitz, David Berger, Kenneth Ledford, Samuel Levine, Russell Pearce and Adam Winer, Dalia Tsuk Mitchell, Eli Wald, Ann Southworth, Lawrence Mitchell, Jay Michaelson, and Assaf Likhovski.
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Ari Mermelstein is Assistant Professor of Bible at Yeshiva University · Victoria Saker Woeste is Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation · Ethan Zadoff is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History of CUNY’s Graduate Center · Marc Galanter is Professor of Law and South Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
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