Jewish Americans, once distinguishable as an ethno-religious group of immigrants from primarily European ghetto communities, initially sought out social and economic niches at the periphery of urban American society. They have since found success in shaping certain critical moments in social activism, the criminal underworld, and urban culture more broadly. Now largely assimilated, most Jews in the United States have lost ties to European immigrant communities and are now firmly rooted in American culture and politics.

Prior to the middle of the 19th century, the United States’ Jewish population was ...

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