Hasia Diner: NYU professor discusses Maine’s Jewish history

Source: Maine Morning Sentinel, 4-4-11

Jews in late 19th Century Maine would have been very much in favor of the mural which Gov. Paul LePage removed from the state Department of Labor walls.

Hasia Diner, a professor at New York University, was keynote speaker during the Jewish History Conference at Colby College on Sunday. Diner’s address was titled “Maine’s Jews in Modern Jewish History.”

That was the assessment Sunday from Dr. Hasia Diner, an expert on Jewish American history who spoke at Colby College during the Second Maine Jewish History Conference.

A New York University professor and winner of the 2010 National Jewish Book Award, Diner was discussing how and why Jews immigrated to the United States and to Maine, where they at first sought anonymity and did not want to stand out.

Later, she said, they began to feel comfortable and empowered and started putting symbols on the outside of synagogues where before they did not. And they began to speak out.

They moved away from quietly and nicely asking for privileges in a largely Christian society to pushed America to change and alter some of its fundamental institutions, according to Diner, who spoke to about 70 students, professors and others who gathered in Roberts Union.

“They went from that, ultimately, to boldly and assertively putting their mark on the American landscape,” she said…READ MORE

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