Switching gears …

With a wonderfully stimulating and busy April behind me – we travelled, visited family and friends, and I participated in two excellent conferences – May is the month of switching gears back to sustained writing (and some exam marking, but that comes later).

The first part of this week was spent tidying up lose ends, catching up on email, and attending a series of meetings. But today I had the happy experience of settling back into research mode and preparing to write by spending most of the day reading.

Transnational Traditions: New Perspectives on American Jewish History, edited by Ava Kahn and Adam Mendelsohn offers refreshing perspectives on migration in American Jewish history. Individual chapters present case studies of specific people and phenomena, but the overall drive of the beautifully crafted volume is a historiographical appetite to push beyond Jewish history within specific national contexts. Rather the aim is to discover more about the influence of and interaction between Jews migrating between different parts of Europe and America, and further West to the Australian Pacific coastal regions.

What intrigued me about this book, is the care the editors and contributors took to join eleven different chapters into a coherent whole by cross-referencing each others contributions and historiographical insights. This is what good scholarship and rewarding working together looks like, a mutually enriching endeavour just like good conference experiences and encounters.

And savouring the experiences of the past month and the intellectual delights of Transnational Traditions (which I have been invited to review), I return to my book draft on early twentieth century British-Jewish religious history. Oh happy month of May!