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Religion and State in the American Jewish Experience Hardcover – May 1, 1997

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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About the Author

Jonathan D. Sarna is the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University and Chief Historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History. He has written, edited or co-edited more than twenty-five books, including "American Judaism: A History", winner of the Jewish Book of the Year award from the Jewish Book Council.

David G. Dalin, Ph.D., an ordained rabbi, is a professor of history and political science at Ave Maria University.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 331 pages
  • Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press (May 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0268016542
  • ISBN-13: 978-0268016548
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,747,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
With this reader, Jonathan D. Sarna and David G. Dalin illustrate the diversity of opinions by American Jewry about the place of religion in public life. While the notion that Jews have always adhered to a strict separation of church and state is a popular one, it is not an accurate one. Throughout the years, the Jewish community has accomodated a rich variety of outlooks and positions.
By examining documents from 1654 to the present day, Sarna and Dalin seek to recover divergent voices and opinions. To a large extent they succeed. The primary sources provided are ones that represent different positions on both general and specific church-state topics as they affected Jews. Each chapter opens with a two-page essay that provides a broad historical context for the selected topic. The chapters are then divided into sections and each section starts with an explanatory paragraph. The book itself is arranged chronologically. The authors' discussion of church and state is drawn from the papers of men and those agencies, such as the Synagogue Council of America and the American Jewish Congress, dominated by men. The voices of women would have been a welcome addition to this book, particularly when focusing on marriage and the family. The debate over whether a secular judge can compel a religious divorce, a get, is becoming of increasing interest but a woman's opinion is not represented in Sarna's and Dalin's book.
This reader is aimed at college students and succeeds as an anthology for students of history and philosophy as well as those with an interest in political science.
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