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Download Community and Polity: The Organizational Dynamics of by Daniel J. Elazar PDF

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By Daniel J. Elazar

This revised and up-to-date version of group and Polity examines the ameliorations occurring in area people federations and within the national federation circulate, the decline of the mass-based companies, the shift within the kinds and association of Jewish schooling, the alterations happening within the synagogue events, and the issues of Jewish harmony generated via intermovement pageant.

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Additional info for Community and Polity: The Organizational Dynamics of American Jewry (Jewish Communal and Public Affairs)

Sample text

It is reflected in subsequent biblical narratives, and postbiblical Jewish history gave the blend new meaning. The fact that Jews are born Jewish places them in a special position to begin with, one that more often than not has forced them together for self-protection. Yet conversion, assimilation, or simple apathy toward Jewish life have almost always been available as options. In the modern era these opportunities to break away from Judaism expanded considerably in every respect. Today they stand at what is probably an all-time high, although counterpressures have begun to emerge once more.

In those parts of the world that originally converted to Catholicism and have remained Catholic, the mythic world view has remained particularly strong within the framework of Christianity. In those regions of Europe that later became Protestant as a result of the Reformation, an additional transformation moved the adherents of the new movement away from the mythic outlook. This was especially true in Reformed Protestantism, influenced by Zwingli, Bullinger, Calvin, Knox and the Puritans. The crucial factor in determining if a particular population group would break away from its mythic base or not was whether the group migrated from its original home during the time the transformation took place.

Nevertheless, their response was and is visible only through their institutions, as perforce it must be. The American Jewish community not only is the largest diaspora community but also has become the contemporary paradigm for Jewish communal organization by voluntary association and “religious” identification, a pattern that has spread to virtually every part of the world since World War II. An inquiry into the American Jewish experience, then, offers an important starting point for the study of contemporary diaspora Jewry Viewed from the perspective of Jewish history and the Jewish people as a whole, some central questions about American Jewish life present themselves at the very outset of our inquiry.

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