Jews and American holidays focus for lecture

Beth S. Wenger
Beth S. Wenger

Beth S. Wenger will pre­sent “Civic Lessons: Jews and American National Holidays,” as part of the Arizona Center for Judaic Studies’ free Shaol & Louis Pozez Memorial Lectureship series, on Monday, March 10 at 7 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center.

When America’s Jews participated in national celebrations such as July 4th and Thanksgiving, they declared their allegiance to the United States while also expressing their vision of what the nation should be, says Wenger. They seized these public moments as an opportunity to reinvent their collective past and craft a new script about Jewish history.

Wenger is professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, where she serves as chair of the history department. Her most recent book is “History Lessons: The Creation of American Jewish Heritage.” She is also the author of “The Jewish Americans: Three Centuries of Jewish Voices in America,” the companion volume to the 2008 PBS series “The Jewish Americans.” Wenger chairs the academic council of the American Jewish Historical Society and serves as historical consultant to the National Museum of American Jewish History.