The American Synagogue: A Sanctuary Transformed / Edition 1

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When first published in 1987, The American Synagogue quickly established itself as the standard work on the subject. The strength of the book lies in its combination of broad overviews of denominational differentiation that took place and case studies drawing from many geographical regions and emphasizing themes ranging from effects of immigration on synagogue life to changing roles of women. The book has become an important comparative resource for students of American religious life, particularly in its examination of how religious communities change over time.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Wertheimer has brought together a group of social historians who have helped demonstrate the centrality of the synagogue to the American Jewish experience, and who have given us a rich beginning for the exploration of synagogue history." —Journal of American History

“This volume is minimally about religion, but implicitly it seems to be making the case that religion and particularism are less meaningful to younger Jews as opposed to cultural expression and the Jewish contribution to the world... It remains to be seen, then, whether this volume has documented the emergence of a new communal form for Jews (and thus Judaism) or whether it is merely a phase in Jewish assimilation.”—Sociology of Religion

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Product Details

Meet the Author

JACK WERTHEIMER is the Joseph and Martha Mendelson Professor of American Jewish History at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Director of the Joseph and Miriam Ratner Center for the Study of Conservative Judaism. He is author or editor of more than a dozen books.

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Table of Contents

Preface; Acknowledgments; 1. Overview: the synagogue in America - a historical typology Abraham J. Karp; Part I. The Denominational Perspective: 2. The orthodox synagogue Jeffrey S. Gurock; 3. The reform synagogue Leon A. Jick; 4. The conservative synagogue Jack Wertheimer; Part II. The American experience of a sephardic synagogue Marc D. Angel; 6. Education in the synagogue: the transformation of the supplementary school Barry Chazan; 7. From city to suburb: temple Mishkan Tefila of Boston Paula E. Hyman; 8. The special sphere of the Middle-Class American Jewish woman: the synagogue sisterhood, 1890–1940 Jenna Weissman Joselit; 9. Ethnic-religious ambiguities in an immigrant synagogue: the case of new hope congregation Benny Kraut; 10. Conflict over reforms: the case of congregation Beth Elohim, Charleston, South Carolina Robert Liberles; 11. A synagogue center grows in Brooklyn Deborah Dash Moore; 12. choosing a synagogue: the social composition of two German congregations in nineteenth-century Baltimore Marsha L. Rozenblit; 13. The debate over mixed seating in the American synagogue Jonathan D. Sarna; 14. Music in the American synagogue: a case study from Houston Kay Kaufman Shelemay; Index.

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