American Jewish Orthodoxy in Historical Perspective
American freedom, opportunity and voluntarism has created challenges to the traditional faith and practice of all religious denominations. Jeffrey S. Gurock's pathbreaking work on the history of Jewish Orthodoxy in America has identified and explored the many ways that one religious group responded to those challenges. His model and influential studies of the American Orthodox rabbinate and synagogue have shown that attitudes favoring religious reconciliation and accommodation to the American environment were not less important than Orthodoxy's staunch resistance to that same environment. His seminal work has challenged scholars to understand that Orthodoxy is composed of a spectrum of approaches and has demonstrated that merely labelling a person or institution as "Orthodox" is only the first step towards understanding a particular stance on the most contentious of issues. American Jewish Orthodoxy in Historical Perspective brings together fifteen of Professor Gurock's most important essays with a new introduction that places his work in historiographical perspective. Beginning with his now-classic "Resisters and Accommodators" and "The Orthodox Synagogue", which provide the general viewpoint for what follows, this collection proceeds to individual case studies that examine the ways in which Orthodox Jews understood Christian religious threats, the challenges of modern Zionist ideologies, the varieties of Orthodox lay behavior, profiles of influential Orthodox rabbis, the styles of American Orthodox synagogues, and a description of one type of Orthodox day-school education.
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