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The Jewish American Paradox

The Jewish American Paradox

Embracing Choice in a Changing World

Who should count as Jewish in America? What should be the relationship of American Jews to Israel? Can the American Jewish community collectively sustain and pass on to the next generation a sufficient sense of Jewish identity?

Jews in America are in a period of unprecedented status and impact, but for many their identity as Jews–religiously, historically, culturally–is increasingly complicated. Many are becoming Jews without Judaism. It appears success and acceptance will accomplish what even the most virulent anti-Semitism never could—if not the disappearance of Jews themselves, the undermining of what it means to be Jewish.

In this thoughtful, personal, deeply-reasoned book, Robert Mnookin explores the conundrums of Jewish identity, faith and community in America by delving deep into Jewish history, law, and custom. He talks to rabbis, scholars, and other Jews of many perspectives to explore the head, heart, and heritage of Judaism and confronts key challenges in the Jewish debate from the issue of intermarriage to the matter of Israeli policies.

Mnookin shares provocative stories of the ways American Jews have forged (or disavowed) their Jewish identity over the past half-century, including his own to answer the standing question: How can Jews who have different values, perspectives, and relationships with their faith, keep the community open, vibrant, and thriving?
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Genre: Nonfiction / Social Science / Jewish Studies

On Sale: November 27th 2018

Price: $28 / $36.5 (CAD)

Page Count: 320

ISBN-13: 9781610397513

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews


"An accomplished facilitator of negotiation, Robert Mnookin offers a master course in negotiating the most important questions a person--or a people--can confront. His focus on the contemporary challenges of Jewish identity--whether religious, social, familial, or ethnic--illuminates the larger issue of what it is to be self-critically human in a world for which few feel sufficiently prepared, much less at home. The Jewish American Paradox is an important book for Jews, Americans, and everyone who hopes for a better future."
James Carroll, author of Constantine's Sword and The Cloister
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"Mnookin presents a terrific case that Judaism should be a welcoming umbrella. My whole Jewish education was based on what you cannot do, what you cannot eat, when you cannot drive, play ball, etc. This book focuses on what you can do--embrace an ancient tradition and identify with a group. It is a call to stop feeling oppressed--an optimistic, almost non-doctrinal, evangelism."—Harold Holzer, Lincoln historian and director of Roosevelt House at Hunter
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"In a book at once deeply personal and deeply learned, one of America's leading intellectuals invites us to a fascinating conversation about what it means to be Jewish in contemporary America and the challenges facing the American Jewish community."—Robert D. Putnam, professor of public policy, Harvard, and author of American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us
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Reader Reviews