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April 06 , 2009

Jewish Continuity in America

Creative Survival in a Free Society


Jewish Continuity in America presents an overview of a life's work by a preeminent scholar and brings new insight to the challenge of American Jewish continuity.

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Jews have historically lived within a paradox of faith and fear: faith that they are an eternal people and fear that their generation may be the last. In the United States, the Jewish community has faced to a heightened degree the enduring question of identity and assimilation: How does the Jewish community in this free, open, pluralistic society discover or create factors-both ideological and existential-that make group survival beneficial to the larger society and rewarding to the individual Jew?

Abraham J. Karp's Jewish Continuity in America focuses on the three major sources of American Judaism's continuing vitality: the synagogue, the rabbinate, and Jewish religious pluralism. Particularly illuminating is Karp's examination of the coexistence and unity-in-diversity of American religious Jewry's three divisions-Orthodox, Reform, and Conservative-and of how this Jewish religious pluralism fits into the larger picture of American religious pluralism.

Informing the larger enterprise through sharp and full delineation of discrete endeavors, the essays collected in Jewish Continuity in America-some already acknowledged as classics, some appearing here for the first time-describe creative individual and communal responses to the challenge of Jewish survival. As the title suggests, this book argues that continuity in a free and open society demands a high order of creativity, a creativity that, to be viable, must be anchored in institutions wholly pledged to continuity.

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