- First Name
- Rachel B.
- Last Name
- United States
- CA California
- San Francisco State University
- Website URL
- American Jewish history, American religious history, childhood studies, delis, Jewish food history, genealogy, material culture, memory studies, museums, nostalgia, public history, synagogues
- Media Contact
- Additional Contact Information
- About Me
- I am the John and Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies in the Department of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State. I am a scholar of religious studies specializing in American religious history and American Jewish history. I study the lives, practices, and communities of twentieth-century and contemporary American Jews. I received my PhD in Religion from Princeton University.
I am currently working on a manuscript about American Jewish nostalgia in the twenty-first century, including studies of Jewish genealogists, the use of historic synagogues as heritage sites, children’s books and dolls, and American Jewish food history, particularly the culinary revival of the new Jewish food scene. I have also written about the informal education of Jewish children in the mid-twentieth century and in the twenty-first century, including the first published academic study of the international Jewish organization PJ Library.
- Recent Publications
Articles and Book Chapters
- “A Slippery Slope: Jews, Schmaltz, and Crisco.” In Food and Jewish Traditions, edited by Aaron Gross, Jordan Rosenblum, and Jody Meyers, in progress.
- “Moving Parts: Contraptions and Jewish Traditions.” In Contraption: Rediscovering California Jewish Artists, edited by Renny Pritikin and Mark D. Johnson. Munich, Germany: Hirmer Publishers, 2018.
- “People of the Picture Book: PJ Library and American Jewish Religion.” In Religion and Popular Culture in America, 3rd edition, edited by Bruce David Forbes and Jeffrey H. Mahan, University of California Press, 2017.
- “Field Trip to the Kosher Kitchen: Religion and Politics in the University Dining Hall.” Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy 25, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2014), 128–137.
- “‘Draydel Salad’: The Serious Business of Jewish Food and Fun in Postwar America.” In Religion, Food, and Eating in North America, edited by Benjamin E. Zeller, Marie W. Dallam, Reid L. Neilson, and Nora L. Rubel, Columbia University Press, 2014.
- “A Million Matzo Balls.” Co-authored with Jessica Kirzane. The Yiddish Book Center’s Great Jewish Books Teacher Resources. March 30, 2018.
- “Jewish Food Does Not Begin and End with Kosher.” JTA, February 15, 2018.
- “‘An Unjustified S(ch)mear Campaign’: Narratives of American Jewish Food.” Stroum Center for Jewish Studies E-Journal, University of Washington, November 16, 2017.
- “Is the Statue of Liberty a Jewish Woman?” J. The Jewish News of Northern California, July 3, 2017.
- “‘Anne ♥ Peter’ and the Rise of Anne Frank Fan Videos.” The Jewish Daily Forward, The Sisterhood blog, November 17, 2015.
- “Who Counts as a Jew?” Religion & Politics, October 8, 2013.
- Media Coverage
- Country Focus
- United States
- Expertise by Geography
- United States
- Expertise by Chronology
- 20th century, 21st century
- Expertise by Topic
- Food History, Material Culture, Museums, Public History, Religion