By Frida Kerner Furman
Examines Jewish id within the prosperous and informed neighborhood of a liberal reform synagogue. The publication explores how one synagoue grapples with the method of identification building as a social phenomenon, revealing tensions among individualism and corporatism and different opposing components.
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Extra info for Beyond Yiddishkeit: The Struggle for Jewish Identity in a Reform Synagogue
The committees range from those responsible for the actual maintenance of the institution, in charge of budget and finance, fund raising, and landscape, to those involved with substantive programmatic concerns, responsible for education, the religious school, ritual, and social action. Service committees include the hospitality, membership, personnel, library, and insurance committees. Members of the board of trustees are elected for a period of three years. Officers are elected for a term of two years by the general membership.
These were motivated by the desire to change the character of the traditional service so as to conform more readily to Western tastes. In effect, this meant a critique of traditional worship style and the introduction of decorum into the synagogue. In general, reforms were gradually adopted in otherwise traditional congregations. Those congregations that embraced Reform from their inception usually grew out of societies, called "Reform-Vereine", which were formed with the purpose of giving expression to the doctrines of Reform.
A staunch anti-Zionist posture was sustained for generations in Reform circles; social activism, including interfaith dialogue and activity, flourished; and Reform Jews increasingly saw themselves as part of a religion, rather than members of an ethnic or national group. In adapting to modern times, religious observances and ancient traditions were frequently changed or eliminated. For example, dietary laws were eschewed; in some cases Sunday was adopted as the Jewish Sabbath to fit more readily into American religious cultural life; and a variety of modifications in worship style were introduced.