The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism

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This Companion provides readers with a comprehensive introduction to the most important and interesting historical and contemporary facets of Judaism in America. Written by twenty-four leading scholars from the fields of religious studies, history, literature, philosophy, art history, sociology, and musicology, the survey adopts an inclusive perspective on Jewish religious experience. Three initial chapters cover the development of Judaism in America from 1654, when Sephardic Jews first landed in New Amsterdam, until today.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"One of the best features of this book is its usefulness to both scholars and the casual reader." — American Reference Books Annual

"The book is an interesting hybrid between an edited volume and an is an effective one-volume overview that could serve as a text for a course on the American Jewish Community" - Jewish Book World

"No one who reads this collection will view Judaism in America as simply a pale reflection of its European antecedents. The clear writing coupled with the introductory chapters on American Jewish history make The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism accessible to a broad audience. To be sure, experts in American Judaism will find this work to be more of a codification of significant scholarship over the past twenty years than a new development in the field. Nevertheless, the sheer volume of groundbreaking studies congregated in a single volume underscores the dramatic changes to our knowledge of American Judaism." —American Jewish Archives Journal

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Dana Evan Kaplan is one of the most prolific scholars writing in the field of American Judaism and contemporary Jewish studies generally. He is the author of American Reform Judaism, Platforms and Prayerbooks and Contemporary Debates in American Reform Judaism. He speaks widely throughout the United States, and has been the Scholar in Residence at numerous synagogues.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Dana Evan Kaplan; 1. From preservation to innovation: Judaism in America, 1654–1880 Eli Faber; 2. The reshaping of American Judaism, 1880–1945 Lloyd P. Gartner; 3. Trends in American Judaism from 1945 to the present Dana Evan Kaplan; 4. Denominationalism in American Judaism Lawrence Grossman; 5. Patterns of American Jewish religious behavior Chaim Waxman; 6. Thinking Judaism through: Jewish theology in America Byron L. Sherwin; 7. The essence of American Judaism Charles Liebman; 8. Contemporary Jewish education Isa Aron, Michael Zeldin and Sara Lee; 9. The place of Judaism in American Jewish identity Debra Renee Kaufman; 10. The Holocaust in Jewish American life Lynn Rapaport; 11. Long distance nationalism: Zionism, Israel and American Jews Steve Rosenthal; 12. Life cycle rituals: rites of passage in American Judaism Rela Mintz Geffen; 13. Choosing lives: evolving gender roles in American Jewish families Sylvia Barack Fishman; 14. The body and sexuality in American Jewish culture David Biale; 15. The American Jewish urban experience Nathan Glazer; 16. 'Sacred survival' revisited: American Jewish civil religion in the new millennium Jonathan Woocher; 17. Judaism and democracy in America Alan Mittleman; 18. The economics of American Judaism Carmel U. Chiswick; 19. American Judaism and interfaith dialogue Yaakov Ariel; 20. American midrash: urban Jewish writing and the reclaiming of Judaism Murray Baumgarten; 21. Recent trends in new American Jewish music Mark Kligman; 22. The visual arts in the American Jewish experience Matthew Baigell; 23. Present and future tense: American Judaism in the 21st century Bruce Phillips; Afterword Jonathan D. Sarna.

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