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On the Sociological Significance of the American Jewish Experience: Boundary Blurring, Assimilation, and Pluralism

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Publication Date: January 2006

Publisher(s): Association for the Sociology of Religion

Author(s): Richard Alba

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

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

Keywords: American Jews; Identity formation; Jewish identification

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


The most significant feature of the contemporary situation of American Jews is the very significant blurring of boundaries between Jews and other Americans. A non-trivial set of individuals is position ambiguously with respect to Jewish/Gentile boundaries, so that their placement in one or the other category is inherently a matter of definition. The article analyzes how did this state come about and what does it mean.