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The Jew Store
Cover of The Jew Store
The Jew Store
A Family Memoir
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This debut memoir about a Jewish family pursuing the American Dream in the early twentieth century South is "vividly told and captivating in its humanity" (Kirkus Reviews).
In small town America, in 1920, the ubiquitous dry goods store—selling suits and coats, shoes and hats, work clothes and school clothes, yard goods and notions—was usually owned by Jews and often referred to as "the Jew store." That's how Bronson's Low-Priced Store, in Concordia, Tennessee—owned and run by Stella Suberman's father—was known.
The Bronsons were the first Jews to live in the tiny Southern town consisting of one main street, one bank, one drugstore, and many Christian churches. Born into poverty in prerevolutionary Russia, Aaron Bronson moved his family from New York City to that remote corner of northwest Tennessee to prove himself a born salesman—and much more.
With a novelist's sense of scene, suspense, and characterization, Stella Suberman turns the clock back to a time when educated liberals were suspect and the Klan was a major threat to outsiders. In that setting, she brings to life her remarkable father, a man whose own brand of success proves that intelligence, empathy, and decency can build a home anywhere.

This debut memoir about a Jewish family pursuing the American Dream in the early twentieth century South is "vividly told and captivating in its humanity" (Kirkus Reviews).
In small town America, in 1920, the ubiquitous dry goods store—selling suits and coats, shoes and hats, work clothes and school clothes, yard goods and notions—was usually owned by Jews and often referred to as "the Jew store." That's how Bronson's Low-Priced Store, in Concordia, Tennessee—owned and run by Stella Suberman's father—was known.
The Bronsons were the first Jews to live in the tiny Southern town consisting of one main street, one bank, one drugstore, and many Christian churches. Born into poverty in prerevolutionary Russia, Aaron Bronson moved his family from New York City to that remote corner of northwest Tennessee to prove himself a born salesman—and much more.
With a novelist's sense of scene, suspense, and characterization, Stella Suberman turns the clock back to a time when educated liberals were suspect and the Klan was a major threat to outsiders. In that setting, she brings to life her remarkable father, a man whose own brand of success proves that intelligence, empathy, and decency can build a home anywhere.

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About the Author-
  • Stella Suberman was born in Union City, Tennessee, the setting for her memoir, The Jew Store, and spent her teens in Miami Beach, Florida. After twenty years in North Carolina, she returned to Florida in 1966 as the administrative director of the Lowe Art Museum of the University of Miami. Now retired, she lives in Boca Raton.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 29, 1997
    In 1920, two years before the author was born, her family became the first Jews to live in the small town of Concordia, Tenn. Against the objections of his wife, Aaron Bronson, a Russian Jewish immigrant who had worked in dry goods stores in Savannah, Ga., and Nashville, started his own business by opening Bronson's Low-Priced Store in Concordia, which the locals called "the Jew store." In this richly detailed memoir, in which her father's optimism contrasts sharply with her mother's anxiety about their ability to provide their children with a Jewish education in their new surroundings, Suberman evokes early-20th-century life in the rural South and depicts her family's struggles to find a place in a town where African Americans suffered discrimination and poverty, the Ku Klux Klan was on the march and townspeople viewed Jews with suspicion. Suberman provides vivid characterizations of Concordia's residents, especially Brookie Simmons, who not only gave the Bronsons a home but fought to end child labor in the town's factory. In 1933, Aaron finally yielded to his wife's entreaties and moved with her and their three children back to New York City, even though they had come to regard Concordia as home. Author tour.

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A Family Memoir
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