The American Jewish community, the first fully emancipated Jewish community, is entirely a product of the modern epoch. As such it is in most respects a model of what Jewish life has become or is becoming for all but a handful of Jews in the world: based on the voluntary commitment, through a variety of paths, of those individuals who care to be Jewish, few of whom feel obligated or compelled. Once that initial commitment is made, the Jewish community comes into being, animated by the voluntary commitment of an even smaller number of Jews to serve as its movers and shakers, and shaped by the institutions they develop to embrace those who wish to be Jewish or who accept the fact that they are. Outside of Israel, it is a community held together by the strength and magnetism of its core, rather than by clear boundaries at its peripheries, and even in Israel being Jewish beyond the demands of Israeli citizenship and law is becoming more and more a matter of personal choice.
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Elazar, Daniel J. The Federation Movement in Three Contexts: American Jewry, the Jewish Political Tradition, and Modernity. Jewish Political Studies Review; The Federation Movement at 100. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA). 1995: