Orthodox Jews in America
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Orthodox Jews in America

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Jeffrey S. Gurock recounts the history of Orthodox Jews in America, from the time of the early arrivals in the 17th century to the present, and examines how Orthodox Jewish men and women coped with the personal, familial, and communal challenges of religious freedom, economic opportunity, and social integration. His absorbing narrative portrays the varied lifestyles of Orthodox Jews and exposes the historical tensions that have pitted the pious against the majority of their co-religionists who have disregarded Orthodox teachings and practice. Exploring Orthodox reactions to alternative Jewish religious movements that have flourished in a pluralistic America, Gurock illuminates contemporary controversies about the compatibility of modern culture with a truly pious life, providing a nuanced view of the most intriguing present-day intra-Orthodox struggle-the relationship of feminism to traditional faith. The book exposes the hypocrisy of Jews who, while outwardly devout in their careful observance of religious ritual, have behaved as moral miscreants. Anyone seeking to understand the American Jewish experience will find Orthodox Jews in America to be essential reading.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 27.94mm | 657.71g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 17 b&w photos
  • 0253220602
  • 9780253220608
  • 1,650,602

Review quote

"The author has penned the first social history of Orthodox Jews in America from the first arrivals in the 17th century to the present... [He] illuminates controversies about the compatibility of modern culture with a truly pious life, thus providing a nuanced view of the most intriguing present-day intra-Orthodox struggle - the relationship of feminism to traditional faith." -Menorah Review "Gurock's work is a densely packed, deeply researched, and rich amalgam of history, speculation, and mediation between contending poisitions that is written... from within the tradition of Jewish worship he seeks to analyze." -Journal of American Ethnic History "[T]his is a very good historical and social introduction to the history of Orthodox Judaism and it will certainly find an important place in any collection that deals with American Jewry. The author has a pleasant writing style and provides rich documentation in the notes." -Religious Studies Review, Vol. 37, No. 1, March 2011 "This volume, superbly written and referenced and the product of dense scholarly research, is well worth the read." -American Jewish Archives Journal, Volume LXI, no. 2, 2009 "Gurock is the unrivaled expert on Orthodox Jews and Judaism in the United States, something he proves ably with this book." -Lila Corwin Berman, Temple University, American Historical Review, February 2010 "Gurock's new book is full of interesting details and analysis about how Orthodox Judaism has evolved in America, and how Orthodox Jews have made managed the challenges of American life. This is a well-written social history, illustrated with intriguing photographs." -The Jewish Week, December 4, 2009 "A great storyteller, Professor Gurock masterfully weaves together personal narrative, sermons, and social observations to create gripping narratives of Orthodox Jewry in America.... [Orthodox Jews in America] brings together several decades of Gurock's incisive research and thinking on American Orthodoxy while offering a still deeper and more nuanced analysis of its overall development." -Shuly Rubin Schwartz, author of The Rabbi's Wife "Jeffrey Gurock is positioned more propitiously than any other historian to take on an overall social history of American Jewish Orthodoxy." -Karla Goldman, author of Beyond the Synagogue Gallery "Gurock systematically describes how the devout built the communal infrastructure and developed a cadre of skilled functionaries to meet the requirements of ritual observance..." -Jewish Book World "Although there are many good books on the history of Jews in America and a smaller subset that focuses on aspects of Orthodox Judaism in contemporary times, no one, until now, has written an overview of how Orthodoxy in America has evolved over the centuries from the first arrivals in the 17th century to the present. This broad overview by Gurock (Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History, Yeshiva Univ.; Judaism's Encounter with American Sports) is distinctive in examining how Orthodox Jews have coped with the personal, familial, and communal challenges of religious freedom, economic opportunity, and social integration, as well as uncovering historical reactionary tensions to alternative Jewish movements in multicultural and pluralistic America. Gurock raises penetrating questions about the compatibility of modern culture with pious practices and sensitively explores the relationship of feminism to traditional Orthodox Judaism. There are several excellent reference sources on Orthodox Jews in America, e.g., Rabbi Moshe D. Sherman's outstanding Orthodox Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook, to which this is an accessible and illuminating companion; recommended not only for serious readers on the topic but for general readers as well." -Library Journalshow more

About Jeffrey S. Gurock

Jeffrey S. Gurock is Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University. He is former Associate Editor of American Jewish History and former chair, Academic Council, American Jewish Historical Society. His books include Judaism's Encounter with American Sports (IUP, 2005). He lives in Riverdale, New York.show more

Table of contents

ContentsAcknowledgmentsPrologue: Within the Wide Tent of a Bronx Orthodox Congregation, Circa 19601. All Alone and Out of Control2. American Challenges and Jewish Challengers3. Religious Dilemmas of a Treif Land4. Strategies of New York's Orthodox Activists5. Crisis and Compromise6. Brooklyn's Committed Communities7. A More Faithful Following8. Comfortable and Courted9. Orthodox vs. Orthodox10. Open and Closed to FeminismEpilogue: The Tentative Orthodox of the Twenty-First CenturyNotesIndexshow more

Rating details

11 ratings
3.54 out of 5 stars
5 9% (1)
4 45% (5)
3 36% (4)
2 9% (1)
1 0% (0)
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