According to the author, except when considering the early period of American Jewish history (the pre-1840 years without rabbinical presence in North America), historians have analyzed the development of Judaism solely along rabbinic lines. In contrast, Diner's article attempts to highlight the contributions of the lay leadership to American Jewish communities, and to explore the history of ordinary Jewish women and men providing leadership to American Judaism. Furthermore, the author writes about specific lay leaders who took it upon themselves to create new synagogues and organizations in the United States.
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Diner, Hasia R. Looking for Leadership in all the Right (and Wrong) Place: The Place of Laity in the History of American Judaism. Jewish Religious Leadership: Image and Reality. Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) Press. 2004: