Levi Strauss, A.L. Gump, Yehudi Menuhin, Gertrude Stein, Adolph Sutro, Congresswoman Florence Prag Kahn--Jewish people have been so enmeshed in life in and around San Francisco that their story is a chronicle of the metropolis itself. Since the Gold Rush, Bay Area Jews have countered stereotypes, working as farmers and miners, boxers and mountaineers. They were Gold Rush pioneers, Gilded Age tycoons, and Progressive Era reformers. Told through an astonishing range of characters and events, Cosmopolitans illuminates many aspects of Jewish life in the area: the high profile of Jewish women, extraordinary achievements in the business world, the cultural creativity of the second generation, the bitter debate about the proper response to the Holocaust and Zionism, and much more. Focusing in rich detail on the first hundred years after the Gold Rush, the book also takes the story up to the present day, demonstrating how unusually strong affinities for the arts and for the struggle for social justice have characterized this community even as it has changed over time. Cosmopolitans, set in the uncommonly diverse Bay Area, is a truly unique chapter of the Jewish experience in America.
"At last, the Jews of San Francisco Bay have a history worthy of their community's storied past. Engaging, well documented, and brimming with insights, Cosmopolitans captures the vibrancy, the distinctiveness, the highlights and the lowlights of San Francisco Jewry. This is Fred Rosenbaum's magnum opus, the product of more than three decades of research."--Jonathan D. Sarna, author of American Judaism: A History
"Many are surprised to learn that Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area are epicenters of Jewish-American civilization. In point of fact, no single community has contributed comparably to the rise and development of this region--and no book tells this story better than Fred Rosenbaum's Cosmopolitans."--Kevin Starr, University of Southern California