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Title: On marriageability, Jewish identity, and the unity of American Jewry
Authors: Berger, David
Keywords: Jewish marriageability
Jewish identity
American Jewry
Jewish unity
Issue Date: 1989
Citation: Berger, D. (1989). On marriageability, Jewish identity, and the unity of American Jewry. In Conflict or cooperation? Papers on Jewish unity (pp. 69-77). American Jewish Committee.
Series/Report no.: Bernard Revel Faculty Publications;1989
Abstract: The Jewish people faces a profoundly serious problem with highly problematic solutions. Before addressing the proposed cures, we need to take a brief look at the debate over the disease itself. ¶ Steven Cohen dismisses the fear that we are moving toward "two Jewish peoples," but his analysis affords scant consolation. "When I hear of two Jewish peoples,' he says, "I think of the sorts of distinctions that separate French and Italians today, or Jews and Karaites, or Jews and Christians centuries ago. Two peoples means, among other things, two languages, two cultures, two lands, two religious systems, two sets of economic involvement, two sorts of political interests, and, not least, two conceptions of ancestry and destiny."' Since a fundamental rift with respect to only one or two of these criteria would presumably not generate two peoples, Cohen has set a standard for separate peoples that Jews in the United States can indeed never meet. As long as American Jews are Americans, they will share with each other a language, a culture, a land, economic involvement, and political interests. It is no accident that one of Cohen's examples of separate peoples is "Christians and Jews centuries ago" (my emphasis) since the criteria that he proposes do not separate contemporary American Jews and Christians into two peoples. In the sense that most Jews in the United States are acculturated, patriotic Americans, Cohen is perfectly correct. In the sense of this symposium, however, such identity is of marginal relevance, and an analysis which tells us in effect that Jews will not become two peoples for the same reasons and in much the same way that American Jews and American Christians will not become two peoples provides us with little reassurance indeed. (from Introduction)
Description: Scholarly paper
ISBN: 0874951011
Appears in Collections:Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies (BRGS): Faculty Publications

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