Saturday, December 14, 2019

"Dust to Dust"

New from New York University Press: Dust to Dust: A History of Jewish Death and Burial in New York by Allan Amanik.

About the book, from the publisher:

A revealing look at how death and burial practices influence the living

Dust to Dust offers a three-hundred-year history of Jewish life in New York, literally from the ground up. Taking Jewish cemeteries as its subject matter, it follows the ways that Jewish New Yorkers have planned for death and burial from their earliest arrival in New Amsterdam to the twentieth century.

Allan Amanik charts a remarkable reciprocity among Jewish funerary provisions and the workings of family and communal life, tracing how financial and family concerns in death came to equal earlier priorities rooted in tradition and communal cohesion. At the same time, he shows how shifting emphases in death gave average Jewish families the ability to advocate for greater protections and entitlements such as widows’ benefits and funeral insurance. Amanik ultimately concludes that planning for life’s end helps to shape social systems in ways that often go unrecognized.
--Marshal Zeringue