The Problem of Judaism in America

By Charles S. Liebman

Rabbinical Assembly of America (RA), 2004

The author discusses the pathologies and problems of American Judaism as outgrowths of its ability to adjust to what he calls "the religious marketplace" and the "changing needs of its consumers." He argues that across all denominations, ideologies and regional lines, American Judaism is characterized by a pragmatic approach to religious principles and values as well as being, generally, non-judgmental of broad social and cultural norms--rising intermarriage rates or new sex codes--though harshly judgmental of specific norms and values--governmental policies or legislation. He argues that since American Jews do not adopt the stance that if the cultural environment becomes inimical to Jewish norms and values they must change that environment or simply withdraw from it, Liebman expresses concern that this behavior places Judaism in the mainstream of American culture, enables Jews to feel that their religion is wholly compatible with their American identity and transforms Judaism in such a way that may be detrimental to its long-term interests.

Topic: Ritual, Intermarriage, Culture, Masorti Judaism, Diaspora, Acculturation, Pluralism, Conservative Judaism, Ethnicity, Values, Assimilation

Name of Publication: Conservative Judaism

Volume/Issue: Vol. 56

Page Number(s): 1-14

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Genre: Article

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Author

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Liebman, Charles S. The Problem of Judaism in America. Conservative Judaism. Rabbinical Assembly of America (RA). 2004: 1-14.


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