Contemporary Jewry

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 25–43 | Cite as

A critical commentary on gans’ “symbolic ethnicity and symbolic religiosity” and other formulations of ethnicity and religion regarding American Jews

  • Stephen Sharot


Gans has recently introduced the concept of symbolic religiosity as parallel to, but yet separate from symbolic ethnicity. Gans sees symbolic religiosity as detached from any comprehensive religious observance or religious affiliation. Recognition of the importance of the religious organization of American Jews leads Gans to suggest an additional meaning of symbolic religiosity which has no parallel in symbolic ethnicity: religious affiliation and observances as symbolic of ethnic concerns. A critique is given of his application of these concepts to his major example, American Jews, and of related discussions by other sociologists of American Jewry.


Ethnic Identity Jewish Community Religious Institution Jewish Identity Contemporary JEWRY 
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Copyright information

© Springer 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Sharot
    • 1
  1. 1.Ben-Gurion University of the NegevIsrael

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