Jewish Choices: American Jewish Denominationalism

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SUNY Press, 1998 - History - 215 pages
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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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Contents

Denominations in American Religious Life
3
A Sociohistorical Overview of American Jewish Denominations
15
A General Description of the Adherents of American Jewish Denominations
33
The Components and Consequences of Jewish Involvement
63
Jewish Denominational Switching Permeable Boundaries Among Jews in the United States
77
Denominational Preferences and Intermarriage Permeable Boundaries Between Jews and NonJews
93
A Look Toward the Future Jewish Fertility Births and Denominational Preference
115
Summation Conclusions and Recommendations
123
Total Survey Errors and the Comparison of the 1971 and 1990 Surveys
169
Model Indices Cited in Chapter 4
181
Computation of the Projections in Chapter 7 Table 72
187
Notes
191
References
197
Subject Index
207
Name Index
213
Copyright

Methodology of CJF 1990 National Jewish Population Survey
147

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About the author (1998)

Bernard Lazerwitz is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Bar Ilan University, Israel. His previous work includes Pathways to Suicide: A Survey of Self-Destructive Behaviors (with Ronald Maris) and Americans Abroad: A Comparative Study of Emigrants from the United States (with Arnold Dashefsky, Jan DeAmicis, and Ephraim Tabory).

J. Alan Winter is Professor of Sociology at Connecticut College. He is the author of Continuities in the Sociology of Religion: Creed, Congregation and Community; Clergy in Action Training (with Edgard W. Mills and Polly S. Hendrick); and is the editor of The Poor and Vital Problems for American Society (with Jerome Rabow and Marc Chesler).

Arnold Dashefsky is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life at the University of Connecticut. His previous work includes Ethnic Identification Among American Jews (with H. M. Shapiro), among others. Ephraim Tabory is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Bar Ilan University.

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