Developmental Judaism: Challenging the Study of American Jewish Identity in the Social Sciences
Publication Date: January 2000
Publisher(s): Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry
Author(s): Riv-Ellen Prell
Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive
Keywords: American Jews; Religious denominations; Jewish identification
Coverage: United States
In Contemporary Jewry 21, 33-54. The article is based on the author's study of Conservative synagogue Jews. By laying out the diversity of models through which these Conservative Jews articulated how they construct their Jewishness, the author demonstrates the complexity of what it means to them to be Jews. Their narrative forms are an effort to understand Jewish life from the point of view of the actor, and as such to demonstrate how Jewishness is negotiated over time and within relationships. While gross and normative measures of Jewish life are critical, they are always partial without understanding the meaning participants attach to them.