The Debate Over Mixed Seating in the American Synagogue

By Jonathan D. Sarna

Cambridge University Press, 1987

Mixed seating is a ramified and multifaceted issue that clearly reflects the impact of American values on synagogue life, for it pits family unit, sexual equality, and modernity against the accepted Jewish legal practice of sexual separation in prayer. Discussions surrounding this innovation form part of a larger Jewish debate over Americanization, and should really be viewed in the overall context of ritual reform. By itself, however, the seating issue has taken on a symbolic quality. It serves not only as a focus on the changing nature of the American synagogue, but also on the changing nature of the larger society Jewish and non-Jewish.

Topic: Congregations and Synagogues, Jewish Identification, Religious Denominations, Synagogues and Congregations

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Genre: Report

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Sarna, Jonathan D. The Debate Over Mixed Seating in the American Synagogue. Cambridge University Press. 1987:


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