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A People Divided (Paperback, New England pbk. ed) Loot Price: R663
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A People Divided (Paperback, New England pbk. ed): Jack Wertheimer

A People Divided (Paperback, New England pbk. ed)

Jack Wertheimer

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List price R722 Loot Price R663 Discovery Miles 6 630 | Repayment Terms: R62 pm x 12* You Save R59 (8%)

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A thoughtful but short-sighted study of a precariously splintered American Jewry. Wertheimer (Unwelcome Strangers, 1987) uses his background history professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary (Conservative) to offer more than sociological insights in reading several generations' worth of statistics on American Jewish patterns of religious practice and identification. Nonetheless, with his study anchored in the 40's and 50's - boom years for the Conservative movement - there's a strong tilt toward his own denomination. Wertheimer too often positions the Conservative movement as true "American Judaism," and, by not drawing the longer shadows of Reform and Orthodox Judaism, he fails to credit the Reform for initiating a Judaism for nonpracticing American Jews. Moreover, instead of wondering whether "Orthodoxy can be viewed as a coherent and united movement," he should have made the point that traditional Judaism is unchanged since the days of the Pharisees. To survive suburbanization, the Conservatives in 1950 decided to allow driving to synagogue on the Sabbath - forfeiting any fealty to biblical law. Wertheimer doesn't mark this milestone as the philosophical demise of the movement, although, to his credit, he concedes that Conservative Judaism is "caught in a cross fire...and hard pressed to justify its centrism." He shows the Conservative sun as setting and the inclusiveness of the Reform and Reconstructionists as instrumental in slowing rampant loss from intermarriage and assimilation. But for all of Wertheimer's statistics and trend-watching, the high birth and emigration rates of the Orthodox are ignored. The author is at his strongest when comparing the rises and falls of Jewish to Christian denominations, and when discussing how the various movements reacted to the sexual revolution, the women's movement, and the era of personal, nontraditional spiritual searching that began in the late 60's. Extensive notes and bibliography add to the value of this study for the student of religion, but it lacks the punchy thesis needed for more popular appeal. (Kirkus Reviews)
This brilliant analysis of American Judaism in the last half of the 20th century won the 1993-94 National Jewish Book Award for the best book on contemporary Jewry and also was named an Outstanding Book of 1993 by Choice. Jack Wertheimer examines how fundamental changes in American society have affected Jewish religious and communal life, paying special attention to contradictions and schisms that threaten the integrity of American Jewish practices and beliefs. A People Divided remains an essential primer for anyone interested in the ongoing debate about what constitutes Jewishness and who is a Jew.


Imprint: Brandeis University Press
Country of origin: United States
Release date: September 1997
First published: September 1997
Authors: Jack Wertheimer
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 19mm (L x W x T)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 287
Edition: New England pbk. ed
ISBN-13: 978-0-87451-848-1
Categories: Books > Social sciences > Sociology, social studies
Books > Social sciences > Sociology, social studies > Ethnic studies
Books > Social sciences > Sociology, social studies > Ethnic studies > Jewish studies
LSN: 0-87451-848-2
Barcode: 9780874518481

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