Survival through integration: American Reform Jewish universalism and the Holocaust

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Abstract

Focuses on the optimistic American Jewish belief in the prospects of a viable American-Jewish coexistence and examines its impact on the patterns of response to antisemitism in the 19th-20th centuries. The responses, subject to changing historical and social conditions, are forever torn between the quest for distinctive survival (i.e. preservation of Jewish identity) and full integration in American society. Discusses the pattern of "Americanization" of European responses to antisemitism, especially Zionism; the Europeans were generally more pessimistic regarding Jewish-Gentile coexistence. In the U.S., Zionist ideology was elevated into a post-World War II American Jewish consensus. Discusses, also, the postwar attempt to change the context of the fight against antisemitism from a Christian-Jewish struggle into an all-American struggle against prejudice. In the 1960s there was a shift to renewed emphasis on Jewish distinctiveness, in reaction to the integrationist approach. Contends that the pendulum continues to swing between these two approaches. (From the Bibliography of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism)
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLeiden
PublisherBrill
Number of pages178
ISBN (Electronic)9781433705434
ISBN (Print)900414109X, 9789004141094
StatePublished - 2005

Publication series

NameJewish identities in a changing world
PublisherBrill
Volumev. 4

Keywords

  • Morgenstern, Julian, 1881-1976
  • Antisemitism
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Influence
  • Jews -- Cultural assimilation
  • Reform Judaism -- United States -- Essence, genius, nature
  • Zionism

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