Family of Strangers: Building Jewish Communities in Washington State (Paperback)

Family of Strangers: Building Jewish Communities in Washington State By Howard Droker, Jacqueline Williams, Stuart Eskenazi Cover Image
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From early immigrants to recent transplants, Jews in Washington have made notable contributions to civic and cultural life in their local communities, state, nation, and world.

Family of Strangers, published originally in 2003, draws on hundreds of newspaper articles, oral histories, and one-on-one interviews to provide the first comprehensive account of Jewish communities and people in Washington state. Jewish immigrants first arrived in the middle of the nineteenth century, followed by larger numbers during the open-door era that stretched to 1924. They included Ashkenazim from Central and Eastern Europe, and Sephardim from Turkey and Rhodes. Subsequent waves of immigration consisted of European Jews escaping the Nazis and, later, Soviet Jews fleeing persecution. Isolated from the large centers of American Jewish life, following different religious customs and speaking different languages, these immigrants initially found little in common beyond the fabric of Judaism. A family of strangers, they built vibrant Jewish communities across the state.

This second edition of Family of Strangers features a new epilogue that explores Jewish history in Washington state over the past several decades - an era characterized by growth, diversity, and geographic spread. Transplants migrated to Washington to work within the state's robust tech-based economy. Younger generations, feeling increasingly disconnected from their Jewish identity, searched for occasions to recall their history and honor their heritage. Jewish organizations and institutions responded, offering myriad opportunities for all Jews to engage and embrace their Jewishness, no matter how they might express it.

Strangers, perhaps. But connected as one family.

The second edition of this book was made possible by the support of 4Culture. Learn more at

Product Details
ISBN: 9780578306070
ISBN-10: 0578306077
Publisher: Washington State Jewish Historical Society
Publication Date: April 26th, 2022
Pages: 492
Language: English