Arab and Jewish Women in Kentucky: Stories of Accommodation and Audacity
Outwardly it would appear that Arab and Jewish immigrants comprise two distinct groups with differing cultural backgrounds and an adversarial relationship. Yet, as immigrants who have settled in communities at a distance from metropolitan areas, both must negotiate complex identities. Growing up in Kentucky as the granddaughter of Jewish immigrants, Nora Rose Moosnick observed this traditionally mismatched pairing firsthand, finding that, Arab and Jewish immigrants have been brought together by their shared otherness and shared fears. Even more intriguing to Moosnick was the key role played by immigrant women of both cultures in family businesses—a similarity which brings the two groups close together as they try to balance the demands of integration into American society.
In Arab and Jewish Women in Kentucky: Stories of Audacity and Accomodation, Moosnick reveals how Jewish and Arab women have navigated the intersection of tradition, assimilation, and Kentucky’s cultural landscape. The stories of ten women’s experiences as immigrants or the children of immigrants join around common themes of public service to their communities, intergenerational relationships, running small businesses, and the difficulties of juggling family and work. Together, their compelling narratives challenge misconceptions and overcome the invisibility of Arabs and Jews in out of the way places in America.
Nora Rose Moosnick is a visiting scholar in the department of sociology at the University of Kentucky. She is the author of Adopting Maternity: White Women Who Adopt Transracially or Transnationally and lives in Lexington, Kentucky.
“An important, compelling work. Moosnick’s analysis of the interbraided relationships and experiences of Arabs and Jews in a southern setting is a captivating and powerful story.”—Marcie Cohen Ferris, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, author of Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South
“Moosnick weaves together a refreshing blend of life stories and follows a captivating group of Arab and Jewish women through a narrative negotiation between tradition, assimilation, and Kentucky’s cultural landscape.”—Douglas A. Boyd, author of Crawfish Bottom: Recovering a Lost Kentucky Community
"An important, compelling work. Moosnick's analysis of the interbraided relationships and experiences of Arabs and Jews in a southern setting is a captivating and powerful story." --Marcie Cohen Ferris, author of Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South