The Organized Jewish Community of Greater Chicago


Publication Date: January 1999

Publisher: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Author(s): Daniel J. Elazar

Research Area: Culture and religion

Keywords: Jewish Organizations; History; Community Formation; Jewish Continuity

Type: Report

Coverage: Illinois


The author argues that the Jewish Community Federation is American Jewry's invention to replace the historic Jewish Kehilla and is itself a product of American progressivism. Due to a shift in American culture and Jews' position within that culture, he explains that the Federation has struggled to implement old models in a new environment. The author outlines the history of communal organization in Chicago as representative of general trends discussed in the first section of the report. On Chicago's communal organization, the author argues that the pluralistic federalism that has emerged has substantially eliminated the neat patterns of arrangement that were common earlier.