Wednesday Book Club "The Jew Store" by Stella Suberman

Library Meeting Room

Russian immigrant Aaron Bronson took his wife and children from their enclave of New York Jews to a tiny Tennessee town where he set himself up as a successful storekeeper in the 1920s. The social, economic, and even spiritual experiences of the Bronson family are recounted by its youngest member, who evidently was a keen listener to family tales as well as an observer of events around her in early childhood. Nearly half of this autobiographical work predates Stella Ruth's birth and even when she appears on the stage, she is no scene-stealer. Her mother had to hide her ethnicity on her jobs in New York, and took years to assimilate to life in Tennessee. Joey and Miriam, the older children, dealt with the blunt questions asked by local children about their Jewishness with aplomb and made good friends. Mr. Bronson had to sell the insular town of Concordia on the idea that a "Jew store," a low-priced dry-goods store, was even needed and, being a "born sal-es-man," he succeeded in selling the idea and the goods as well. Suberman's fine writing and her ability to record tones and scents as well as images make this a lively and engaging story. Anti-Semitism is presented factually, as are the limitations of various townsfolk's penchant for doing good or evil. This will attract casual readers and serve as a useful auxiliary text in classrooms..... from publisher's source