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Jewish Polity and American Civil Society: Communal Agencies and Religious Movements in the American Public Square Paperback – July 23, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0742521223 ISBN-10: 0742521222 Edition: annotated edition

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Editorial Reviews


Both books [Jewish Polity and American Civil Society and Jews and the American Public Square both edited by Alan Mittelman, Jonathan D. Sarna, and Robert Licht] furnish the reader with a great deal of useful information about Jews in America, while the essays included in the books are characterized by competence and earnestness throughout. (The Weekly Standard)

Both books [Jewish Polity and American Civil Society and Jews and the American Public Square both edited by Alan Mittelman, Jonathan D. Sarna, and Robert Licht] will be of interest to students of American Judaism. (First Things)

This anthology is the most comprehensive treatment to date of the participation of the organized American Jewish community in the American public square. Covering both the major communal and religious groups, this collection of insightful articles by the leading experts in their fields is both well integrated and masterfully written. It is a must-read for anyone concerned with organized American Jewry today—indeed, for anyone interested in the interaction of American religious and ethnic groups with the larger society. (Steven M. Cohen, Hebrew University)

There is no better description of the organization and behavior of the American Jewish community in the public square. This is must-reading for those interested in American Jews as well as those concerned with religion in public life. The book is outstanding. (David Allen, therapist)

This is an extraordinary anthology. This volume is a significant achievement. The editors and authors are owed a debt of gratitude by community leaders, scholars, and students. (American Jewish History)

Jewish Polity and American Civil Society is an extremely timely review of historic Jewish community agencies as well as of the social policies practiced by the major 'denominations' of Jewish observance. The essays make evident how fully the Jewish people have adopted American ways while still insisting on distinctive goals and particular objectives. This volume is a signal contribution to the growing literature on religion and civil society, and a valuable resource concerning the several strands of Jewish tradition in U.S. history. (John F. Wilson, Princeton University)

About the Author

Alan Mittleman is head and associate professor in the Department of Religion at Muhlenberg College and the author of The Scepter Shall Not Depart from Judah: Perspectives on the Persistence of the Political in Judaism. Jonathan D. Sarna is the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University. He is author, editor, or coeditor of many books, including Religion and State in the American Jewish Experience (with David Dalin) and Women and American Judaism: Historical Perspectives (with Pamela S. Nadell). Robert Licht is the editor of six books on the U.S. Constitution and is a lecturer in political thought at the University of Chicago.

More About the Author

Jonathan D. Sarna (1955- ) is the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History and Chair of the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program at Brandeis University, as well as Chief Historian of the new National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.

Dubbed by the Forward newspaper in 2004 as one of America's fifty most influential American Jews, he was Chief Historian for the 350th commemoration of the American Jewish community, and is recognized as a leading commentator on American Jewish history, religion and life. He is the only American Jewish historian ever elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Born in Philadelphia, and raised in New York and Boston, Dr. Sarna attended Brandeis University, the Boston Hebrew College, Merkaz HaRav Kook in Jerusalem, and Yale University, where he obtained his doctorate.

He has taught and lectured on four continents, has appeared in half-a-dozen documentary films, and is regularly quoted in newspapers across the world.

Sarna is perhaps the field's most prolific scholar. He has published hundreds of scholarly articles, writes a column in the Forward entitled "Now and Then" (because, he says, he produces it "now and then") and has written, edited or coedited more than thirty books, including, most recently, When General Grant Expelled the Jews..

He is probably best known for his acclaimed American Judaism: A History, winner of the Jewish Book Council's "Jewish Book of the Year Award." It has been praised as being "the single best description of American Judaism during its 350 years on American soil."

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