American Judaism: A History

Jonathan Sar­na has giv­en us a mas­ter­ful gift to com­mem­o­rate the 350th anniver­sary of Jew­ish set­tle­ment in Amer­i­ca. Draw­ing on his own ency­clo­pe­dic knowl­edge of Jew­ish life in Amer­i­ca, his Amer­i­can Judaism pro­vides read­ers not only a well-­craft­ed and emi­nent­ly read­able his­to­ry but an insight­ful ret­ro­spec­tive allow­ing us to face the next 350 years with hope.

Sar­na describes, with cap­ti­vat­ing detail, the social, cul­tur­al and his­toric fac­tors which have shaped today’s vibrant Jew­ish Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty. Sar­na rec­og­nizes that it is impos­si­ble to sep­a­rate the sec­u­lar his­to­ry of Jews in Amer­i­ca from our reli­gious expe­ri­ence. Look­ing at our his­to­ry through the lens of reli­gious change is a unique approach. Sar­na uses it effec­tive­ly to guide us through the dilem­mas faced by gen­er­a­tions of Amer­i­can Jews. We learn that con­cerns about anti-Semi­tism, inter­mar­riage, edu­ca­tion, Zion­ism and reli­gious obser­vance are not unique to our gen­er­a­tion. Nei­ther are the result­ing respons­es. The mes­sage Sar­na clear­ly deliv­ers is that ​“today as so often before, Amer­i­can Jews will find cre­ative ways to main­tain and revi­tal­ize Amer­i­can Judaism.”


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American Judaism: A History

Jonathan D. Sarna’s award-winning American Judaism is now available in an updated and revised edition that summarizes recent scholarship and takes into account important historical, cultural, and political developments in American Judaism over the past fifteen years.

Winner of the 2004 National Jewish Book Award/Jewish Book of the Year

Published by Yale University Press $26.00

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