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On Responding to the Challenge of the Alienated and Indifferent Jew in America

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Publication Date: March 1984

Publisher(s): Jewish Communal Service Association of North America

Author(s): Alvin I. Schiff

Series: Journal of Jewish Communal Service, 60: 3

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)

Keywords: Jewish Identification; Assimilation; Community Relations

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


Ahad Ha'am, the early twentieth century philosopher of Zionism shows that all minorities in western society have no choice but to imitate the larger environment in which they live. Yet, there are two ways to imitate. He calls them "imitation of absorption" (or absorptive imitation) and "imitation of competition" (or competitive imitation). The first kind of imitation leads to total assimilation. In the second, the minority group becomes stronger and competes with the majority culture as it learns to use the technical skills and know-how of the larger society in order to communicate and reinforce its own values.

In Journal of Jewish Communal Service, 60: 3.