A Rosenberg by Any Other Name: A History of Jewish Name Changing in America


Product Details

New York University Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.1 X 1.0 inches | 1.2 pounds

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About the Author

Kirsten Fermaglich is Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies at Michigan State University. She is the author of American Dreams and Nazi Nightmares (2006) and the co-editor of Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, Norton critical edition (2013). She is the co-editor of the journal American Jewish History.


"The real history behind Jewish name changing in the US . . . a worthy accomplishment. One doesn't have to be a . . . historian to appreciate A Rosenberg by Any Other Name . . . anyone with an interest in the subject matter [can] enjoy it."--Foreword Reviews
"Contesting longstanding stereotypes, Fermaglich (history and Jewish studies, Michigan State Univ.) creatively examines name changing by Jews in the US, focusing on New York City Jews. From the onset of her study, Fermaglich refutes the notion that name changing was an individual or isolated act, asserting that it dramatically impacted American Jewish culture."--CHOICE
"Fascinating . . . A fine contribution to an important, previously underexplored area of American Jewish identity and social history."--Publishers Weekly
"Fermaglichs thoroughly researched book delves into many implications of changing ones name and examines the way that Jewish culture was shaped overall by the practice."--Jewish Exponent
"An important history . . . Well-written and thoroughly documented . . . demonstrates the struggle that individuals underwent to become fully realized as Jewish Americans. Highly recommended."--STARRED Library Journal
"Both entertaining and enlightening, A Rosenberg By Any Other Name comes up smelling, well, like a rose."--Canadian Jewish News
"Fermaglich's thorough research and bright insights produce a provocative account of a seldom-explored cultural phenomenon."--Kirkus Reviews
"The beauty of A Rosenberg by Any Other Name lies in its choice of a site so rife with potential and yet, one that seems so utterly banal. Fermaglich offers us new appreciation for the levels of complexity that Jewish identity was forced to take on in post-war America. It is a powerful story about anti-semitism, adaptation, markers of identity, and the kinds of choices and sacrifices that people must make in the name of access, privilege, and commitments to their communities."--Deborah Dash Moore, author of Jewish New York: The Remarkable Story of a City and a People
"Kirsten Fermaglich's insightful book explores the seemingly ordinary phenomenon of Jewish name changing to shed light on broad themes of racial and ethnic identity, and the complicated ways that Americans--and particularly American Jews--negotiated the markers of distinctiveness and racial "otherness" with the goals of integration and access... While only a minority of Jews petitioned to change their names, the phenomenon proves to be an instructive window for examining the changing boundaries of race and ethnicity in America."--The Journal of American History