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Creating American Reform JudaismLife and Times of Isaac Mayer Wise$
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Sefton D. Temkin

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774457

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774457.001.0001

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Jewish Life

Jewish Life

2. Jewish Life
Creating American Reform Judaism

Sefton D. Temkin

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses the establishment of Jewish communities and congregations in New York. It shows that there were problems of adjustment and acculturation facing the individual, and they form part of the problems besetting the organized Jewish community. No struggle for emancipation conditioned the religious thinking of the American Jew; they were called upon, however, to confront the fact of emancipation from the moment they set foot on American soil. Language and culture were different; they left a world which was all tradition and found themselves in a world which had no traditions. Just as Gentile prejudices were not always obliterated by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the prolonged Jewish experience of being treated as an outcast left its residue of fear and suspicion; the siege mentality did not disappear overnight; the opportunities for integration did not in all spheres overcome the barriers set up by the instinct for survival.

Keywords:   Jewish life, Jewish communities, Jewish congregations, New York, American Jewry, Jewish experiences, integration

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