by Mitchell Silver
University of Massachusetts Press, 1998
Paper: 978-1-55849-180-9
Library of Congress Classification BM197.8.S55 1998
Dewey Decimal Classification 296.834

This book provides a philosophical rationale for maintaining a Jewish identity and explains how this can be done without compromising one's liberal or secular values. Mitchell Silver believes that many third- and fourth-generation American Jews have retained only a hazy knowledge of their ethnic traditions and rich history. But as they watch their own children grow up in a materialist, multicultural, Christian-dominated American society, many contemporary Jewish parents are loathe to abandon their distinctive heritage and wish to pass it on to their offspring. Silver begins by situating the possible emergence of a secular American Judaism within the context of attempts to reconcile the imperatives of tradition and modernity. He then proposes specific spiritual, moral, and institutional pathways that could lead to this reconceived form of Judaism. While the book's emphasis is on the possibilities and values of a secular American Jewish identity, Silver also proposes a supplemental school curriculum for children that would lay the groundwork for a viable contemporary Judaism.

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