Conference Proceeding: Texas Jews: Myths and Realities

Bryan Stone and Rabbi Jimmy Kessler gave the Opening Plenary for the 2013 AJL conference in Houston, TX on June 17, 2013. They described the history of Jewish life in Texas through the lens of myth and misconception. When the first Jewish communities began to emerge in the 1850's, immigrants were attracted in part by a Texas mythology that emphasized individual freedom and economic opportunity. In the 20th century, Texas retained its appeal as a place of mythic opportunity, as the Galveston Movement illustrates. Even today, myths persist about Texas Jewry. The speakers provide evidence and anecdotes to show that Texas is, and has been for more than 150 years, the setting for a thriving, self-identified, and spiritually rich - if a somewhat distinctive - Jewish community.

Presented by Bryan Stone and Rabbi Jimmy Kessler at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX.

Files: