Repairing Jewish Pioneer Memory:

What kind of teshuvah, repentance and repair, is appropriate for our communal role in colonizing America?

Dr. Maxwell Greenberg

Explore how Jewish Americans remember/misremember Jewish history in the 19th-century American West through the process of historical preservation.

The myth of the Jewish Pioneer, rooted in 19th-century narratives that celebrate the racial and gendered violence of US westward expansion, distorts our memory of Jewish western history by failing to acknowledge Indigenous dispossession as a precondition to Jewish settlement.

By naming Jewish immigrants as setters rather than pioneers, this research asks us to reconsider the collective myths we’ve inherited and invites meaningful reflection about how our memories—spoken, written, and situated–might serve a process of historical repair (or teshuva).

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