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Jews in Christian America the Pursuit of Religious Equality

by Naomi W. Cohen

  • ISBN: 9780195065374
  • ISBN10: 0195065379

Jews in Christian America the Pursuit of Religious Equality

by Naomi W. Cohen

  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr on Demand
  • Publish date: 06/01/1992
  • ISBN: 9780195065374
  • ISBN10: 0195065379
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Description: A driving force in the history of American Jews has been the pursuit of religious equality under law. Jews reasoned that state and federal legislation or public practices which sanctioned religious, specifically Christian, usages blocked their path to full integration within society. Always a small minority and ever fearful of the outspoken proponents of the Christian state, nineteenth-century Jews became ardent defenders of church-state separation. In the twentieth century, Jewish defense organizations took a prominent role in landmark court cases on religion in the schools, Sunday laws, and public displays of Christian symbols. Over the last two centuries, Jews shifted from support of a neutral-to-all-religions government to a divorced-from-religion government, and from defense of their own interests to the defense of other religious minorities. Jews in Christian America traces in historical context the response of American Jews to the issues presented by a Christian-flavored public religion. Discussing the contributions of each major wave of Jewish immigrants to the reinforcement of a separationist stand, Cohen shows how Jewish communal priorities, pressures from the larger society, and Jewish-Christian relationships fashioned that response. She also makes clear that the Jewish community was never totally united on the goals and tactics of a separationist posture; despite the continued predominance of the strict separationists, others argued the adverse effects of that position on communal well-being and on the very survival of Judaism.
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