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American Jewry's Comfort Level: Present and Future Paperback – July 15, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


In American Jewry's Comfort Level, Steven Bayme and Manfred Gerstenfeld address many critical issues on our communal agenda. It is a primer for those seeking to understand the challenges facing this generation and what can be done about them. Their introductions to this text alone would make this very worthwhile reading. It is my hope that this book will not only add to the body of knowledge, but will help stimulate new thinking that will be responsive to twenty-first-century demands. --Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

This timely volume takes the measure of the American Jewish community at a critical moment in its history. It features frank and up-to-date assessments of communal strengths and weaknesses as seen by some of its foremost leaders and scholars. --Jonathan D. Sarna, Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University and author of American Judaism: A History

As American Jewish life grows more diversified and unpredictable, this roadmap of essays is an indispensable guide to current religious, cultural, and political patterns and policies. The predictions, substantiated by independent research, are as sobering as they are sound. --Ruth Wisse, Professor of Yiddish Literature, Harvard University

About the Author

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is chairman of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, an editor of the Jewish Political Studies Review, publisher of Changing Jewish Communities, and copublisher of Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism and Jerusalem Viewpoints. Gerstenfeld has authored thirteen books and edited four. Books of his have been published in six languages, including the Italian bestseller Revaluing Italy.

Dr. Steven Bayme is National Director, William Petschek Department of Contemporary Jewish Life of the American Jewish Committee and of its Koppelman Institute on American Jewish-Israeli Relations. His books include Understanding Jewish History: Texts and Commentary, and Jewish Arguments and Counterarguments a volume of essays on contemporary Jewish life. He has been a visiting professor at Yeshiva University and at the Jewish Theological Seminary.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 277 pages
  • Publisher: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs - American Jewish Committee (July 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9652180866
  • ISBN-13: 978-9652180865
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,772,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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What is happening to the American Jewish community today? What have been the major changes in it over the past half - century? What is anticipated in the years ahead? And what can the community do to achieve its major goals in the years ahead?
All these questions are addressed in this extremely interesting and well- done volume edited by Manfred Gerstenfeld and Stephen Bayme. The co- editors each provide a long survey essay of the situation of the American Jewish community today. They point to the general prosperity and success of American Jewry within the wider American community. But they also address the major problem of Assimilation and what can be done to properly contend with this. The second part of the book largely consists in interviews conducted by Manfred Gerstenfeld with a distinguished group of scholars of American Judaism.
Chaim Waxman speaks about the tremendous transformation American Jewish denominations have undergone in the past half- century . Fifty years ago the Conservative movement ruled the roost but today Reform is the largest denomination and Orthodoxy exhibiting signs of being the strongest.Ira M. Sheskin talks about the way detailed knowledge of local communities can alter planning strategies. David Ellenson in explaining what he anticipates as the growing role of Reform Jewry in American Jewish life defends the view that a broadened definition of Judaism (Acceptance of patriarchal descent as criterion for Jewishness) is required in the radically transformed present situation. Arnold Eisen talks about principles important for ensuring a strengthening of the Conservative movement. Leonard Saxe speaks about the role 'Birthright Israel' has played in involving younger Jews in Jewish communal life.
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American Jewry's Comfort Level: Present and Future
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