Lobster and Latkes: Jewish Life in Maine

What has it meant to be a Jew from Maine?  There’s no single answer to this question.  After all, Jews think about their Jewishness in many different ways: as a religious identity, a cultural heritage, a source of ethnic pride.

Maine is equally diverse, and its Jews have lived in towns large and small from Kittery to Fort Kent.  Maine—and Jewishness—have also changed a lot since the first Jews settled here in colonial times.  The story of Jewish life in Maine, one might say, is a story of lobster and latkes: thoroughly Maine and distinctively Jewish.  It’s been that way for over 200 years, but each Jewish Mainer has blended these identities differently.

We invite you to explore some of the stories of Jewish life in Maine.  How does your own story relate? What does it mean to you to be a ________ from Maine?

Browse the complete exhibition

  1. Introduction
  2. Occupational Activities
  3. Religious Life
  4. Communal Life
  5. Life Cycle
  6. Maine’s Jews in America’s Wars
  7. Leisure and Recreation
  8. Jews in Maine’s Colleges

Take a thematic tour (hosted by Maine Memory Network)

  1. Overview: The Jews of Maine
  2. The Changing Landscape of Jewish Organizations
  3. Jews as Mainers: Jewish Contributions to Maine’s Cultural Landscape
  4. Preserving Jewish Traditions and Culture
  5. Contributing, Advancing, Succeeding: Jews and Occupations
  6. Experiences of Jewish Teenagers in Maine

Exhibition design team: Miles de Klerk ’13, Jena Hershkowitz ’12, Spencer Kasko ’12, Madeline Kurtz ’14, Robyn Wardell ’11, Margie Weiner ’12.  Directed by David M. Freidenreich, Pulver Family Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies.

This exhibition was made possible by a 2010-11 grant from the Legacy Heritage Jewish Studies Project, directed by the Association for Jewish Studies.  Support for the project is generously provided by Legacy Heritage Fund Limited.