By Frida Kerner Furman
Examines Jewish identification within the prosperous and proficient neighborhood of a liberal reform synagogue. The ebook explores how one synagoue grapples with the method of identification building as a social phenomenon, revealing tensions among individualism and corporatism and different opposing components.
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Additional info for Beyond Yiddishkeit: The Struggle for Jewish Identity in a Reform Synagogue
Officers are elected for a term of two years by the general membership. The board-including the officers-and the committees are enthusiastic and very active. The governance of the synagogue is typified by cooperation rather than divisiveness. The rabbis are ex officio members of the board, yet they exert far more authority than that status would suggest. The power they are accorded inheres, to an extent, in the charisma of office, a legacy of the authority attached to rabbis in traditional society.
Ideology and Identity 43 A generally agreed-upon and rather specific ideology appears to reign at Temple Shalom. The congregation sees it principally as a reflection of the senior rabbi's philosophy. The other rabbi typifies it in this way: [It] includes things like racial justice, openness in religion, social action, a diversity and pluralism in the community, organizational independence, seriousness about Jewish ideas (even if we don't believe them), respect for the Jewish Tradition (with a capital "T") and liberation from many of those traditions (with a small "t").
With the destruction of European Jewry by the Nazis during World War II, questions regarding the nature ofJudaism and Jewish identity in modernity shift to America, the current home of the largest Jewish population in the world. It is in America that the question ofJewish survival in an open society reaches its most critical level. The American Experience Jewish adaptation to American society involved conformity to specifically American social and ideological patterns, as well as a continuation of the process of modernization.