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‘Shtetl without precedent’
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‘Shtetl without precedent’

I would like to thank Robert Wiener for the interview he conducted with me regarding my planned lecture at Temple Bnai Abraham on Monday, March 18 (“Kiryas Joel is ‘a holistic cradle-to-grave Jewish society’).  Unfortunately, the lecture had to be postponed due to bad weather, but I hope to be able to deliver it on another occasion. 

I do want to round out the impression from the interview I gave to Mr. Wiener.  I am writing a book with Nomi Stolzenberg about Kiryas Joel, New York.  Our book aims to demonstrate that Kiryas Joel, a legally recognized village made up almost entirely of Satmar Hasidim, is a shtetl without precedent in the annals of the Jews.  At the same time, it is a community that seeks to preserve its traditions in ways quite similar to other communities in the United States.  Our aim is neither to condemn not extol, but rather to take stock of this fascinating community through the lenses of both Jewish and American history. 

David N. Myers
Los Angeles, CA

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