America’s Jews

Jack Wertheimer

in The Fractious Nation?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780520220430
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936911 | DOI:
America’s Jews

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This chapter reminds that citizens do not come to the culture wars as abstract Americans but as carriers of distinctive religious and ethnic traditions; the split between secular modernist Jews and their Orthodox brethren, even as it participates in the broader dynamic of cultural contention, has its own distinctive accents. The chapter notes that at a time of multicultural ferment, when gays, blacks, Latinos, women, fundamentalist Christians, and just about everybody else ebulliently promotes their own identities and interests in public, Jews are loathe to give credence to positions based on the particularistic traditions of Judaism. It observes that much of the public policy agenda of the organized Jewish community is still rooted in a post-World War II conception of American civil religion that soft-pedals particularism. It recommends that this approach warrants rethinking because American society has changed in recent decades and many minority groups now unabashedly put forward their own demands.

Keywords: culture wars; religious and ethnic traditions; secular modernist Jews; Orthodox; multicultural; particularistic traditions; Judaism

Chapter.  6677 words. 

Subjects: Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility

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