State University of New York Press

SUNY series in American Jewish Society in the 1990s (discontinued)

Barry A. Kosmin

Published by: State University of New York Press

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SUNY series in American Jewish Society in the 1990s (discontinued)

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Conservative Movement in Judaism, The

Dilemmas and Opportunities

Illustrates how the American Conservative Movement in Judaism can continue to prosper amidst ideological and institutional challenges. Viewing the Conservative Movement at a turning point, this book analyzes the problems facing the religious movement with the largest synagogue membership in the American Jewish community and outlines a plan of action for the future. Elazar and Geffen suggest: clarifying ideology, mission, and purpose, finding the right balance between traditionalists and advocates of change, unifying movement institutions in a cooperative effort, staunching the decline of membership to the left, recapturing the loyalty of lapsed adherents, closing the gap in observance between the laity and the standard bearers of the movement, developing the Movement in Israel and world-wide, and strengthening ties with Jewish federations and other Jewish communal bodies. The authors propose that the Conservative Movement’s remedying of these problems will benefit not just American, but all world Jewry.

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Gender Equality and American Jews

Based on the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey, this book analyzes gender equality in education, labor force participation, and occupational achievement among American Jews, and offers a comparison with the wider American population and Israeli Jews. Gender Equality and American Jews studies gender equality in education, labor force participation, and occupational achievement among American Jews, based on the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey. It first focuses on education and training as key “gatekeepers” to roles in the economy, and then on the gender differences in labor force behavior and occupational attainment. To place American Jews in perspective, they are compared to the wider American population, and to Israeli Jews, presenting a multi-dimensional analysis of American Jewishness in the 1990s. The difficulties of comparing Israel and American Jews are discussed, lending insights into the similarities and differences between the two cultures. The authors draw on a solid base of sociological literature, placing American Jews in the wider American context with comparative data. The book discusses the conclusions that can be drawn from the analysis along with some policy implications.

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Jewish Baby Boomers

A Communal Perspective

A thorough analysis of the religious and ethnic identification of America's Jewish baby boomers. This book critically analyzes American Jewish baby boomers, focusing on the implications of their Jewish identity and identification for the collective American Jewish community. Utilizing data obtained from the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey, the book begins with a demographic portrait of American Jewish baby boomers. Realizing that America’s Jews are both a religious and ethnic group, a comparison is made with Protestant and Catholic baby boomers, as well as other ethnic groups. The religious patterns of the Jewish baby boomers and their ethnic patterns are examined in-depth, and placed within the larger contexts of the modern or post-modern character of religion and ethnicity. The book’s extensive presentation of detailed quantitative data is consistently complemented by qualitative examinations of their communal implications for Jewish continuity and the organized American Jewish community.

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Jewish Choices

American Jewish Denominationalism

Illustrates how and why Jewish denominational preferences are more a matter of individual choice than family heritage. Having a religious preference and expressing it via a denominational choice is a fundamental way Americans relate to their society. Similarly, American Jews have divided their religion into four parts—Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and no preference Jews. This book focuses on how Jewish lifestyles are expressed through denominational affiliation. The development of American Jewish denominations is viewed as more a matter of individual choice than family heritage. The characteristics of individual adherents of the three major denominations vary systematically as does one’s involvement both in local Jewish communities and in the community-at-large. The authors show that as one goes from Orthodox to no preference Jews, the extent of religious expression, ethnic attachments, and Jewish community involvement declines. They project the distribution of denominational preference in 2010 and conclude with recommendations for those who wish to see Jewish identity survive and thrive in America.

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Jewish Life and American Culture

Illustrates how some Jews have created a new, hybrid form of Judaism, merging American values and behaviors with those from historical Jewish traditions. Jews in the United States are uniquely American in their connections to Jewish religion and ethnicity. Sylvia Barack Fishman in her groundbreaking book, Jewish Life and American Culture, shows that contemporary Jews have created a hybrid new form of Judaism, merging American values and behaviors with those from historical Jewish traditions. Fishman introduces a new concept called coalescence, an adaptation technique through which Jews merge American and Jewish elements. Analyzing the increasingly permeable boundaries in the ethnic identity construction of Jewish and non-Jewish Americans, she suggests that during the process of coalescence, Jews combine the texts of American and Jewish cultures, losing track of their dissonance and perceiving them as a unified Jewish whole. The author generates data from diverse sources in the social sciences and humanities, including the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey and other statistical studies, interviews and focus groups, popular and material culture, literature and film, to demonstrate the pervasiveness of coalescence. The book pays special attention to gender issues and the relationship of women to their Jewish and American identities. A blend of lively narrative and scholarly detail, this book includes useful tables, accessible figures and models, and fascinating illustrations which present the educational, occupational, and behavioral patterns of American Jews, organizational profiles, family formation, religious observance, and the impact of Jewish education.

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Jews on the Move

Implications for Jewish Identity

Based on data from the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey, the authors examine the high level of mobility among American Jews and their increasing dispersion throughout the United States, and how this presents new challenges to the national Jewish community.

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Next Generation, The

Jewish Children and Adolescents

Focusing on the more than one million Jewish children and adolescents living in the United States, this book questions the future of the Jewish community's next generation. The Next Generation offers valuable analyses of the critical issues concerning the entire United States Jewish community. Drawing on the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey (NJPS), the book questions the future of the Jewish community's next generation. Children are the key to the future and continuity of any social, religious or ethnic group. But researchers point to some disturbing trends. A recent study shows that in families with a Jewish and a non-Jewish parent, only 31 percent of children are raised Jewish; only 24 percent of children living in a single-parent household have received any Jewish education; and only about half of all Jewish children today live with two Jewish parents. The authors probe topics that have crucial policy implications for dealing with the new conditions of the American Jewish populace including the demographic and social characteristics of American Jewish children; the effect on children's socialization due to differences in parental religious background; the role of household composition and family structure on the way Jewish children are raised; the impact of children on the Jewishness of their families; and the demographic projects for the younger Jewish population.

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