Merwin argues in this volume that American Jewish popular culture was born in the 1920s in New York City, the creative epicenter of the Jazz Age. During that period second-generation Jews moved out of the city’s Lower East Side and “made it” on the vaudeville circuit and on Broadway. “Why scholars have chosen to ignore such a vital period in the history of Jewish entertainment is mystifying,” Merwin writes in the introduction. He contends that Jewish entertainers from the 1920s, like Fanny Brice and George Jessel, laid the groundwork for Jon Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld and other contemporary Jewish cultural icons. Merwin is a professor at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa. He has served as theater critic for The Jewish Week, and his reviews have appeared in The New York Times.