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Scholar in Residence: Professor Rachel B. Gross

Upcoming Sessions

1. Friday, December 17, 2021 13 Tevet 5782

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

2. Saturday, December 18, 2021 14 Tevet 5782

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Scholar in Residence: Jewish Nostalgia, Religious Practice, and the Deli Revival
Professor Rachel B. Gross

Attendance is free and RSVPs are appreciated.
Order your pick-up Shabbat deli meals here.


Oak Park Temple is thrilled to host Professor Rachel B. Gross as our winter scholar in residence. Prof. 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 a religious studies scholar who studies twentieth- and twenty-first-century American Jews.

Her new book, Beyond the Synagogue: Jewish Nostalgia as Religious Practice (New York University Press, 2021), received an Honorable Mention for the 2021 Saul Viener Book Prize, given by the American Jewish Historical Society.

You can order Prof. Gross’ book here. Use the discount code GROSS30-FM to receive 30% off plus free shipping. Prof. Gross will be signing books during her weekend with us.

COVID precautions prevent us from serving food. However, we are still honoring our guest with a community meal-at-home. Our friends at Bergstein’s Deli have prepared take-home Shabbat dinner and deli lunch options. Find details and order your pickup meals here:

Community meal-at-home details and order form.

Feeling Jewish: Nostalgia and American Jewish Religion Friday 12/17 @ 7:00 pm
In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, American Jews have increasingly told nostalgic stories about Eastern European Jewish immigration to the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. In her book Beyond the Synagogue: Jewish Nostalgia as Religious Practice, Prof. Gross examines American Jewish longing for the past expressed through artisanal delis, picture books, historic synagogues, and Jewish genealogy. She argues that these nostalgic activities should be understood as religious practices, illuminating how many American Jews are finding and making meaning within American Judaism today.

Referendum on the Deli Menu: American Jewish Religion and the Deli Revival
Saturday 12/18 @ 1:00 pm

In recent years, there has been a nostalgic resurgence of interest in the Jewish deli menu. As Prof. Gross explores in her book, restaurateurs and other creators of Jewish food are making American Jewish food fit for the twenty-first century, emphasizing sustainability, local produce, and a nostalgic longing for family and communal histories. By selling and consuming a revitalized deli cuisine, American Jews express their longing for authentic Jewish pasts, build community in the present, and pass on their values to future generations. Engaging in the deli revival provides an alternative, under-appreciated way of practicing American Jewish religion.

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Sun, December 5 2021 1 Tevet 5782