Jew vs Jew: The Struggle for the Soul of American Jewry
Bargain Book Copy
At a time when American Jews should feel more secure and cohesive than ever, civil war is tearing apart their community. Congregations, neighborhoods, even families are taking sides in battles about Jewish identity and Jewish authenticity. The conflict pits fundamentalist against secularist, denomination against denomination, even liberal against conservative within each branch of Jewry. Jew vs. Jew tells the story of how American Jewry has increasingly - and perhaps terminally - broken apart in the last forty years. Jew vs. Jew stretches in time from 1960 to 2000. It travels the country from Florida to New England, from Los Angeles to the Catskills in New York, from Cleveland to Denver, and it also crosses the ocean to Israel to show how tensions within the Jewish state inflame those among American Jews. The flash-points range from conversion standards to the role of women, from the peace process in Israel to the sexual climate on an Ivy League campus. But behind them all, as Samuel Freedman writes, lie common causes. First, far from unifying American Jews, Israel now divides them on both political and religious grounds. Second, neither America nor the larger world presents Jews with a single enemy against whom to coalesce. Third, and most important, nothing in the Jewish history of persecution, oppression, and exile prepared the Chosen People for the challenge posed by America, the challenge of being absorbed into a tolerant and diverse nation, being accepted so thoroughly that the intermarriage rate tops 50 percent.
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