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Jewish Identities in 20th-Century America

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Publication Date:

Publisher(s): Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry

Author(s): Marc Dollinger

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)
Culture and religion (Cultural heritage and preservation)
Social conditions (History)

Keywords: American Jews; Identity formation; Political behavior

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


In: Contemporary Jewry 24, 9-28. The article challenges generational approach to American Jews by examining three critical eras in the formation of modern American Jewish identity: the New Deal of the 1930s, the civil rights movement of the 1950s, and the social protest era of the 1960s. By doing this, the author claims, we can see the limits of linear approaches to Jewish identity. The articles concludes that American Jews have not journeyed along a generational continuum as much as they have sought to define and redefine their ethnic identity according to imperatives created in the social and political culture surrounding them.