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From the Publisher"When might a civic virtue become a civic vice? When it is practiced by an illiberal group, says Jan Feldman. It is a view she explains but criticizes in Lubavitchers as Citizens. . . . Lubavitch rejection of liberal values is misconstrued, she writes, as rejection of democratic citizenship. It is not, for example, that Lubavitchers fail to respect freedom. For them, freedom is achieved in the fulfillment of one's responsibility to God and the community."—Nina C. Ayoub. Chronicle of Higher Education, May 2, 2003
"If Chabad has done awesomely well by American liberalism, how has liberation adapted to Chabad? That's the question Jan Feldman poses in her academic but homey tome, 'Lubavitchers as Citizens: A Paradox of Liberal Democracy.' . . . Feldman's interesting approach is to test John Rawls and other liberal theorists to see whether their models can accommodate the Lubavitchers. Along the way, she provides a comprehensive overview of Lubavitch and general Orthodox theology."—Abigail Radoszkowicz. Jerusalem Post, June 27, 2003
"In this study of the Lubavitcher Chassicid group in the US and Canadian democracies, Feldman analyzes several assumptions underlying the question. . . . Issues about the status of women, secular versus religious education, sacred symbols, or behavior in public places provide many examples in her discussions of the liberal values of critical reasoning, individualism, autonomy, and the Lubavitchers' faith-based values of reason and obligation. . . . Summing up: Recommended. Graduate students through faculty."—R. L. Herrick, Westmar University, Choice Magazine, Dec. 2003.
"It is political scientist Jan Feldman's startling contention that the Lubavitcher Jews have a great deal to teach academic political theorists, particularly perfectionist liberals, about citizenship and liberalism. . . . Feldman's book, the work of a woman who is herself a professor and an observant Jew with 'a close affiliation with Lubavitch,' succeeds in humanizing the Lubavitchers and in capturing the rhythm of their lives, built around the Hasidic belief that even ordinary people can hasten the coming of the messiah through the joyous, enthusiastic fulfillment of the commandments. She also exposes some typical limitations of academic political theory concerning the devoutly religious."—Peter Berkowitz, Policy Review No 126
"Lubavitchers as Citizens is an original and provocative contribution to the debates on the limits and possibilities of liberal democracy. Using the case of the Lubavitcher Chassidic group, Jan Feldman argues that non-liberal groups can meet the tests for democratic citizenship. She thus suggests that a pluralist democracy can broaden the boundaries of what is tolerated and even valued."—Morton Weinfeld, McGill University
"Jan Feldman's meticulous and revealing study of Lubavitch political culture makes clear that democracy can exist—even flourish—in an illiberal group. The book challenges the popular notion that democracy is always threatened by illiberalism and, in doing so, breaks important new ground in the study of liberalism, democracy, and citizenship. Modest in its claims, but sweeping in its import, Lubavitchers as Citizens will force political theorists to rethink the relationship between liberalism and democracy."—Tom Rice, University of Northern Iowa