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Americas Jews

Chaim Waxman

Publication Year: 1983

Published by: Temple University Press


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pp. vii

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pp. xi-xiii

Although the subject of this book, American Jewry, has long been an interest of mine, it was not until the fall of 1972, when I began teaching a course entitled "The Sociology of the American Jewish Community" at Brooklyn College, CUNY, that I even considered writing a book on the subject. Subsequently, having taught similar courses at the University of...

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pp. xv-xxv

One of the most serious weaknesses of many writings in American Jewish history and sociology is that they often study what was and is happening to American Jewry in a vacuum, that is, as if American Jews were "a people apart," completely isolated from and unaffected by what was and is happening to...

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1. The Formative Period, 1654-1880

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pp. 3-28

The American Jewish community may be said to have originated with the arrival in New Amsterdam on September 7, 1654, of twenty-three Jewish refugees from Brazil. Although individual Jews had arrived earlier, this was the first group to come. How their forebears got to Brazil and why...

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2. The Eastern European Immigration

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pp. 29-61

The years 1881-1923 constitute one of the most fascinating eras in American history in general, and in the American Jewish experience in particular. It was an era during which approximately twenty-five million immigrants, primarily from Eastern and Southern Europe, arrived in this...

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3. The Acculturation of the Second Generation

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pp. 62-80

Having achieved some economic security during the course of the first--the immigrant--generation, the second generation set out to take full advantage of the opportunities that American society presented to them. If their parents had not already done so, they moved out of the immigrant...

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4. Religion without Religiosity: The Third-Generation Community

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pp. 81-103

If the second generation was the era during which American Jews were largely acculturated but remained structurally isolated, the third generation was one of increasing acculturation and decreasing structural isolation imposed from outside; yet they remained a people apart. At the same...

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5. The Pendulum Shifts, 1965-1975

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pp. 104-134

American Jews were rather comfortable with themselves and their position in American society during the latter half of the 1950s and the early 1960s. Whatever misgivings individual American Jews may have entertained about the decline in the quality and intensity of Judaism in the third-generation community, the group and its constituent...

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6. Taking Stock: Contemporary America's Jews

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pp. 135-158

Reliable data on the American Jewish population are very difficult to obtain. The doctrine of separation of church and state has been interpreted to preclude questions concerning religious affiliation in surveys conducted by the United States Bureau of the Census. In the mid-1950s the Bureau of the...

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7. The Contemporary American Jewish Family

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pp. 159-183

One major social issue which was widely debated during the 1970s was the future of the family in modern society. The issue was probed from a variety of perspectives and involved spokespersons from such fields as sociology, social welfare, social history, religion, and politics; indeed, Sussman (1978)...

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8. Denominational Patterns, Jewish Education, and Immigration

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pp. 184-202

In the era of the second-generation community, as discussed in Chapter 3, social class and time of arrival in the United States were highly significant variables in the denominational structure of American Jewry. The general pattern was for those of upper-class status and longest length...

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9. Leadership, Decision Making, and the Struggles for Change

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pp. 203-224

American Jews as an ethno-religious group in American society are a voluntary group with no specific legal stature. In addition, while this group's organizational structure is very complex, its precise communal structure is somewhat amorphous. As we have seen, a variety of organizations operate in a...

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10. Conclusion: Diversification without Disintegration

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pp. 225-236

This work began as a challenge to one of the major perspectives in the sociological study of ethnicity which Neil Sandberg has appropriately termed "straight-line" theory (Sandberg, 1974, p. 67). The underlying assumption of the theorists who adhere to that perspective is that ethnic...


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pp. 237-260


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pp. 261-272

E-ISBN-13: 9781439906217

Publication Year: 1983