Professor Gross Goes 'Beyond the Synagogue' in New Book on Jewish Nostalgia

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

KILLING THE BUDDHA -- Rachel B. Gross is assistant professor and the John and Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies in the Department of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University.

Rachel B. Gross’ engrossing new book looks “beyond the synagogue” to find religious practice in museums, restaurants and children’s books. Through years of wide-ranging travel, conversations and reading, Rachel has written a book that has so much to tell us not just about Jewish experiences and identities in the U.S. but about what nostalgia is and how it works – about (as she says) nostalgia’s “limits and possibilities.”

“I want [the book] to be part of academic conversations about what religion is and what religion looks like in the United States,” she said. “But I also want it to encourage Jews to recognize a range of everyday practices in their lives as important, meaningful and Jewish activities — not just going to synagogue or celebrating holidays but also everyday things like eating certain foods, telling certain stories to children or remembering family histories.”