Jewish Film Series Presents "Birth of a Community: Jews and the Gold Rush" | Congregation Beth Am

Jewish Film Series Presents Birth of a Community: Jews and the Gold Rush

Film and Discussion with Historian Ava Kahn

Birth of a Community: Jews and the Gold Rush traces the journey of entrepreneurial Jews who, beginning in the 1850s, made their way across America by wagon, sailed for months around Cape Horn and hiked through the jungles of the Isthmus of Nicaragua to see their fortunes in California. The film follows the travels of these pioneers from their arrival in the "rough and tumble" West to their early settlements in the Gold Country and San Francisco.

Following the screening, there will be a discussion with San Francisco State University Professor Ava Kahn, co-author of California Jews, a history of Jewish life in California from the Gold Rush to the 21st century.

This program is free; all are welcome and refreshments will be served.

Ava F. Kahn holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Santa Barbara. While the Research Associate at the Western Jewish History Center of the Magnes Museum she authored Jewish Voices of the California Gold Rush: A Documentary History, 1849–1880 (2002). Kahn served as a visiting scholar at the California Studies Center, University of California, Berkeley. She was the historian-in-residence for the Autry museum’s exhibit “Jewish Life in the American West” and edited its companion book Jewish Life in the American West: Immigration, Settlement and Community (2002, 2004). Additional publications include Jews of the Pacific Coast: Reinventing Community on America’s Edge (2010) co-authored; California Jews (2003, paperback 2011) co-edited; and Transnational Traditions: A New Prospective on American Jewish History (2014) co-edited. At present, Kahn is working on a film about the contributions of Seymour Fromer, the founder of Berkeley’s Magnes Museum.

Congregation Beth Am
  • 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
  • (650) 493-4661 Contact Us

We strive to live as a holy community whose study and practice of Judaism inspires and challenges us to "do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God" (Micah 6:8).