HEY ALMA -- Rachel B. Gross is assistant professor and John and Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies in the Department of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University. She is the author of “Beyond the Synagogue: Jewish Nostalgia as Religious Practice” (New York University Press, 2021). She wrote this essay for Hey Alma magazine.
“American Jewish girls of historical fiction — malleable, innocent, brave, and loving — are the perfect vehicles to convey what it means to be an American Jew at a particular moment while firmly rooting them in nostalgic connections to earlier Jewish communities,” Gross wrote. “Because fictional girls of past eras are delightfully adaptable, they reveal the concerns and values of Jewish communities in their own day.”