A Separate Circle Jewish Life in Knoxville, Tennessee

Wendy Lowe Besmann

For more than a century and a half, the Jewish citizens of the area in and around Knoxville, Tennessee, have maintained the rituals and traditions that define them as a separate people, even as they have blended quietly with their non-Jewish neighbors. Wendy Lowe Besmann paints a vivid picture of this community, bringing alive the stories of merchants, grocers, immigrants from Eastern Europe, and scientists and university professionals who have come to call the area home. With broad historical sweep, Besmann examines what life was like for Knoxville’s early Jewish community and how the events of their lives were affected by American expansion and depression, by social upheaval and urban migration. Successive waves of immigrants, from the traveling peddlers of the late nineteenth century to the doctors, lawyers, and engineers of the late twentieth, have both adapted to the culture of East Tennessee and shaped it in subtle ways. As they did in cities all over the South, Knoxville’s Jewish population followed jobs, meaning that most of them did not grow up in the region. 206 pages.

1 lb
9 × 1 × 6 in