As absorbing as a good cinema verité documentary, Boyarin’s personal ethnography may make Lower East Side tourists of many readers hooked by its abundant charm.–Booklist
Releasing last week, at the Angel Orensanz Center, an enthused Jonathan Boyarin thanked some of the familiar faces from the Shul and read a few excerpts from the book.
Booklist gave this favorable review.
Mornings at the Stanton Street Shul: A Summer on the Lower East Side
Boyarin, Jonathan (Author)
Nov 2011. 208 p. Fordham, hardcover, $24.95. (9780823239009). 296.097.
Academic Boyarin goes popular with a journal of the 12 weeks in 2008 that he faithfully attended morning prayers at the 90-plus-year-old synagogue—the shul—of his Modern Orthodox home congregation on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Besides the daily suspense over whether enough men for a minyan will show up, he records the regulars and others who do; their personalities, concerns, relations, and life in the congregation; the congregation’s history, relations with other Orthodox synagogues and institutions, and efforts to keep its historic character and building intact; and the ever-changing face of the neighborhood, now as obviously part of Chinatown as it once was a locus of East European Jewish immigrants. He mentions his dreams, as long as they’re pertinent to the shul, and family events within the context of shul life. The big congregational to-do during the period is over one rabbi’s departure and the search for his successor. As absorbing as a good cinema verité documentary, Boyarin’s personal ethnography may make Lower East Side tourists of many readers hooked by its abundant charm.–Ray Olson