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The Good Old Days
Nostalgia for American Jewish Children

Rachel Gross

Identity & Global Culture, Jewish History

Why is nostalgia such a powerful theme for American Jews, and how is it taught to children? We will discuss how American Jews have imparted nostalgia to children in books and toys, from the classic chapter book "All-of-a-Kind Family" to the American Girl doll Rebecca. American Jews’ longing for past eras can be seen in their efforts to make learning about Jewish heritage fun. We will examine how nostalgic children’s materials teach children about the past, and what they imply for the present.

Rachel Gross

Princeton University

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Rachel Gross is a PhD candidate in American religious history in Princeton University’s Religion Department. Her dissertation will examine the material culture—the objects and spaces that make up our lives—of American Jewish nostalgia from the mid-twentieth century through the present. She received a BA in Jewish Studies and holds Master's degrees in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia and Princeton University.

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