Unity and Polarization in Judaism Today: The Attitudes of American and Israeli Jews
Steven M. Cohen
American Jewish Committee (AJC),
Steven M. Cohen questions the extent to which ideological disputes among leadership groups are affecting the Jewish public at large. In particular, he asks which groups of Jews are most concerned about the potentially divisive effects of intermarriage, patriliineality, and religious-secular tensions in Israel. He concludes that in both Israel and the United States the attitudes o f the Jewish laity are not nearly as polarized as those of the leadership. On the contrary, he argues that continued cooperation among lay Jews acts as a strong bulwark against irreparable schism. Most American Jewish laypeople have managed to make their peace with patrilineality; only the Orthodox remain implacably opposed. Conversely, most Israelis understand the distinctions among Israeli Orthodoxy and oppose only religious extremism, not Orthodox Jews as such.
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Cohen, Steven M. Unity and Polarization in Judaism Today: The Attitudes of American and Israeli Jews. American Jewish Committee (AJC). March 1988: