Date: 03 Sep 2012

American Jewish Secularism: Jewish Life Beyond the Synagogue

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Abstract

This chapter goes beyond asking whether a Jewish identity can exist independently of religion in the contemporary United States. American Jews have already answered that question in the affirmative. The chapter documents and illustrates the richness of today’s secular Jewish culture and expressions of Jewishness beyond religion by exploring how a multitude of trends—intellectual, social, demographic and political—are broadening and transforming Jewish identity and identification in twenty-first century America. Pluralistic market forces and the new information technology provide increasing opportunities for expressions of Jewish secularism and the formation of new forms of community.