The Quest for Jewish Identity in America

By John Slawson

Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA), National Conference of Jewish Communal Service, Fall 1963

The current concern with Jewish identity centers increasingly on how to achieve an integrated yet unassimilated status in the general American community. Indeed, to many leaders of Jewish communities, defense against assimilation now seems more urgent than defense against discrimination. The intensity of this new interest doubtless derives from the need, now more than in the past, for the individual Jew to formulate his own beliefs and support them from within. He can no longer rely on the non-Jew to tell him what he is ; he must decide and affirm the fact for himself. Otherwise he will cease to exist as a Jew. Although assimilation always requires integration, the reverse is not true. Integration does not necessarily involve assimilation. Integration is working and interacting with others for common purposes. Assimilation is trying to forget that one is a Jew.

Topic: Jewish Identification, Community Relations, Ethnicity, Integration, Assimilation

Name of Publication: Journal of Jewish Communal Service

Editor: Sherman, Sanford N.

Volume/Issue: Vol. 40/ No. 1

Page Number(s): 17-25

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Genre: Article

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Slawson, John. The Quest for Jewish Identity in America. Journal of Jewish Communal Service. Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA),National Conference of Jewish Communal Service. Fall 1963: 17-25.


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