Deborah Dash Moore on “A License to Stare: Jewish Street Photographers of Midcentury New York”

Apr. 20, 2023, 5:30 p.m.

Taylor 203

How do you picture a city? What does looking through a camera’s eye let you see? As New York emerged from the Great Depression, a cohort of Jewish photographers, women and men, looked to document the streets of their hometown. Come and see what they saw during this year’s Dr. Maurice Sitomer lecture, sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program.

Deborah Dash Moore is Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of History and Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. From 2005 to 2015, she served as Director of the Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies and the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies. Prior to coming to the University of Michigan, she was Professor of Religion on the William R. Kenan Chair at Vassar College. An historian of American Jews, she specializes in twentieth century urban history. Three of her monographs form a trilogy, moving from studying second-generation New York Jews (At Home in America) to examining the lives of Jewish American soldiers in World War II, and culminating in a history of migration that carried big city Jews to Miami and Los Angeles after the war (To the Golden Cities). Her book, GI Jews: How World War II Changed a Generation, served as the basis for a documentary of the same title. Most recently, she has explored the formative encounter of Jews and American cities in the Urban Origins of American Judaism, and written a comprehensive history of New York Jews, Jewish New York: The Remarkable Story of a People and a City. Her forthcoming book, Walkers in the City: Jewish Street Photographers of Mid-Century New York (2023), extends her interest in urban Jewish history to photography. She has also edited or co-edited three books in addition to the three-volume City of Promises: A History of New York Jews. Currently she serves as editor in chief of the Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization, a ten-volume anthology of original sources translated into English from the biblical period to 2005, selected by leading scholars.

Deborah Dash Moore leaning in a doorway
Deborah Dash Moore Photo: Leisa Thompson