A Fortress in Brooklyn Race, Real Estate, and the Making of Hasidic Williamsburg Nathaniel Deutsch, Michael Casper

Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
22 Jun 2021
ISBN:
9780300231090
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
408 pages: 235 x 156mm
Illustrations:
28 b-w illus.
Sales territories:
World

The epic story of Hasidic Williamsburg, from the decline of New York to the gentrification of Brooklyn

"A rich chronicle of the Satmar Hasidic community in Williamsburg. . . . This expert account enlightens."—Publishers Weekly

“One of the most creative and iconoclastic works to have been written about Jews in the United States.”—Eliyahu Stern, Yale University

The Hasidic community in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn is famously one of the most separatist, intensely religious, and politically savvy groups of people in the entire United States. Less known is how the community survived in one of the toughest parts of New York City during an era of steep decline, only to later resist and also participate in the unprecedented gentrification of the neighborhood.
 
Nathaniel Deutsch and Michael Casper unravel the fascinating history of how a group of determined Holocaust survivors encountered, shaped, and sometimes fiercely opposed the urban processes that transformed their gritty neighborhood, from white flight and the construction of public housing to rising crime, divestment of city services, and, ultimately, extreme gentrification. By showing how Williamsburg’s Hasidim rejected assimilation while still undergoing distinctive forms of Americanization and racialization, Deutsch and Casper present both a provocative counter-history of American Jewry and a novel look at how race, real estate, and religion intersected in the creation of a quintessential, and yet deeply misunderstood, New York neighborhood.

Nathaniel Deutsch is professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Among his books are The Maiden of Ludmir: A Jewish Holy Woman and Her World and The Jewish Dark Continent: Life and Death in the Russian Pale of Settlement, for which he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. Michael Casper received his Ph.D. in history from UCLA and has contributed to American Jewish History and the New York Review of Books.