Professor Rachel B. Gross to Give Lecture at The Contemporary Jewish Museum

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Thursday, June 15, 2017 • 6:45–8pm • Reception 6:00pm

Reserve free tickets in advance at or by calling 415-655-7800.


Feeling Jewish: Buying and Selling American Jewish Nostalgia

Nostalgia, a sentimental longing for a past that cannot be recovered, is a powerful theme in twenty-first-century American Jewish culture that is communicated through what American Jews make, buy, and sell. This talk examines how American Jews represent eastern European Jewish immigration history and connect to it emotionally through Jewish genealogy, visiting historic synagogues, buying children's books and dolls, and eating out at restaurants reimagining Ashkenazi cuisine. Through these commercial activities and others, contemporary American Jews express their longing for authentic Jewish pasts, build community in the present, and pass on their values to future generations.

Inaugural Lecture—John and Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies at SF State 


Dr. Rachel B. Gross was appointed to the John and Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies in the Department of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State in Fall 2016. Professor Gross is a scholar in religious studies whose work focuses on the lives, spaces, and objects of twentieth-century and contemporary American Jews. She has published scholarly articles on Jews and food and is currently working on a manuscript, entitled "Objects of Affection: The Material Religion of American Jewish Nostalgia." Professor Gross received her PhD in Religion from Princeton University.

This lecture, following  Professor Gross’ first academic year in San Francisco, introduces her to the public and to academic colleagues. Please join Jewish Studies at SF State and the CJM in welcoming her and recognizing the important support provided by the John & Marcia Goldman Foundation to the Department of Jewish Studies at “the City’s university.”