Contemporary American Judaism: Transformation and Renewal

Overview

No longer controlled by a handful of institutional leaders based in remote headquarters and rabbinical seminaries, American Judaism is being transformed by the spiritual decisions of tens of thousands of Jews living all over the United States. A pulpit rabbi and himself an American Jew, Dana Evan Kaplan follows this religious individualism from its postwar suburban roots to the hippie revolution of the 1960s and the multiple postmodern identities of today. From Hebrew tattooing to Jewish Buddhist meditation, ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (13) from $3.94   
  • New (6) from $18.62   
  • Used (7) from $3.94   
Contemporary American Judaism: Transformation and Renewal

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$14.49
BN.com price
(Save 44%)$25.99 List Price

Overview

No longer controlled by a handful of institutional leaders based in remote headquarters and rabbinical seminaries, American Judaism is being transformed by the spiritual decisions of tens of thousands of Jews living all over the United States. A pulpit rabbi and himself an American Jew, Dana Evan Kaplan follows this religious individualism from its postwar suburban roots to the hippie revolution of the 1960s and the multiple postmodern identities of today. From Hebrew tattooing to Jewish Buddhist meditation, Kaplan describes the remaking of historical tradition in ways that channel multiple ethnic and national identities.

While pessimists worry about the vanishing American Jew, Kaplan focuses on creative responses to contemporary spiritual trends that have made a Jewish religious renaissance possible. He believes that the reorientation of American Judaism has been a "bottom up" process, resisted by elites who have reluctantly responded to the demands of the "spiritual marketplace." The American Jewish denominational structure is therefore weakening at the same time that religious experimentation is rising, leading to the innovative approaches supplanting existing institutions. The result is an exciting transformation of what it means to be a religious American Jew in the twenty-first century.

Columbia University Press

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

A Reform rabbi in Albany, Ga., Kaplan has edited a collection of essays on American Judaism and written three books on Reform Judaism. His newest contribution focuses on American Judaism since the end of WWII, emphasizing recent innovations in the religion of the Jewish people. The first chapter provides a broad overview of both religious and historical developments, including the impact of the Holocaust and Israel. Changes in religious identity are sketched. The next seven chapters flesh out the fundamentals identified in the introductory chapter. Kaplan discusses spirituality, Jewish denominationalism, intermarriage, feminism, Jewish Renewal, mysticism and synagogue revitalization. He concludes by emphasizing the need to transform Judaism, implying that a more orderly structure is needed but not necessarily achievable. He fails to mention the value of ferment and debate as guarantors of survival, an odd omission given his insightful description of radical changes in American Judaism. (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Forward

[Kaplan] skillfully portrays the wide variety of untraditional, often idiosyncratic ways of 'doing Jewish.

Jerusalem Post Magazine
A keen observer of the faith of his people in the U.S., Kaplan does not hesitate to underline the fact that 'the American environment has impacted Judaism.'

— David Geffen

Jewish Review of Books

Kaplan is clearly breaking new ground and writing a new narrative for twenty-first-century American Judaism.

Wilson Quarterly

Kaplan's gallery of American-inflected Jewish innovators is entertaining and... illuminating.

Zeek

Kaplan's book is exhaustive in detail and broad in scope, touching on the fundamental challenges to contemporary Judaism in America from intermarriage, conversion, and the end of religious denominations to questions of ethnicity, spirituality, Israel, and the Holocaust.

Nathan Glazer

There is no better guide to the remarkable changes in American Jewish religion.

Chaim I. Waxman

A tour de force that covers every important development in each of the branches of American Judaism, and Kaplan does it with a deep sensitivity to the issues involved.

Yaakov Ariel

Contemporary American Judaism is a pioneering and exciting study. Dana Evan Kaplan should be highly commended for facing boldly and honestly the new realities of American Jewish life.

Harvey Cox

Spread around the world, interacting with diverse centers of communications, politics, and culture, the Jewish community is changing quickly and often in bewildering ways. But Judaism also remains a bellwether for what may be expected in other faiths as well. Dana Evan Kaplan has his finger on these changes and writes about them fairly and eloquently. You don't have to be Jewish to savor this book and learn from it.

Jerusalem Post Magazine - David Geffen

A keen observer of the faith of his people in the U.S., Kaplan does not hesitate to underline the fact that 'the American environment has impacted Judaism.'

Choice

Kaplan's book is an excellent starting point for anyone seeking to understand the current state of American Judaism.

Choice

Kaplan's book is an excellent starting point for anyone seeking to understand the current state of American Judaism.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231137287
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 6/22/2009
  • Pages: 446
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Dana Evan Kaplan is the rabbi of Temple B'nai Israel in Albany, Georgia, and adjunct professor of Jewish Studies at Gratz College. His books include The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism, American Reform Judaism: An Introduction, Platforms and Prayer Books: Theological and Liturgical Perspectives on Reform Judaismand Contemporary Debates on Reform Judaism: Conflicting Visions. Many of his publications can be found at www.DanaKaplan.com.

Columbia University Press

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Foreword, by Rabbi David Ellenson Preface Acknowledgments Chronology of Events Introduction 1. A Historical Overview from 1945 2. The Reengagement with Spirituality 3. The Rise and Fall of American Jewish Denominationalism 4. Facing the Collapse of the Intermarriage Stigma 5. Inclusivity as a Social Value 6. Radical Responses to the Suburban Experience 7. The Popularization of Jewish Mystical Outreach 8. Herculean Efforts at Synagogue Renewal Conclusion: The Future of Judaism in America Afterword, by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi Notes Glossary Index

Columbia University Press

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2009

    Insightful Contemporary Look into America's Jews

    Once again, Dana Evan Kaplan, proves that he is one of the foremost scholars on contemporary American Judaism. As always, Rabbi Kaplan's writing is well-researched and articulate. He probes some of the most interesting issues impacting the contemporary Jewish community in a refreshing manner. Rabbi Kaplan's exploration is equally interesting for non-Jews who sometimes turn to Judaism, arguably the world's most ancient religion, for answers to their own spiritual and religious quests.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2009

    A Must Have From Rabbi Kaplan

    Rabbi Dana Kaplan is first and foremost a scholar. His research and thorough understanding of the Jewish religion, its history and its culture are apparent in reading any of his works. Rabbi Kaplan's work as a spiritual leader in rural Southwest Georgia gibes him a unique perspective on the various issues that small congregations deal with in their daily lives, especially if those Jews are transplanted from larger communities. Having grown up in New York, Rabbi Kaplan is the epitome of that essay and brings his wealth of experience in larger congregations and communities combined with his working knowledge of smaller communities to bear in this insightful look at contemporary Judaism. The book is well written, diverse in its subject matter and able to sustain the reader throughout. Reading it makes you want to attend one of his services or Torah study sessions or sign up for his class. This is a must have edition for any Jewish home library.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 9, 2009

    Interesting book about the Transformations in Judaism

    This book is primarily about the ways that Jews have taken creative approaches to their spirituality in the last few decades. Dana Evan Kaplan has given many examples of how the Judaism has basically had to "change with the times." It was very interesting to me to read about the transformations taking place within this ancient religion. I recommend this book to anyone interested in Judaism or Religious studies.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 11, 2009

    Five Stars

    Contemporary American Judaism is an enjoyable, and extremely well-researched, thought-provoking examination of contemporary Judaism in the United States.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)