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Being a Jew after World War II: What it means to be Jewish in America today

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Deborah K.
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  1. Introduction.
  2. Religion.
    1. Evolution of the laws and practices in Judaism.
    2. Three prominent movements in America today.
    3. The orthodox people.
    4. The Hasidim.
    5. The conservative movement.
    6. Humanistic Judaism.
  3. The Jewish identity.
    1. The Jewish people and the Jewish religion.
    2. The non-Jews.
    3. A land for the Jewish people in the State of Israel.
    4. Zionism in America.
    5. Marriage to another Jew.
  4. Conclusion.
  5. Works cited.

Judaism as an identity has become a different concept than Judaism as a religion. Skepticism has formed as a result of advances in science and industrialization, and religion has changed. Judaism is unique in its definition of what makes one Jewish: rather than being based on belief and practice, it is based primarily on descent. To say that you are Jewish could mean that you practice the Jewish religion. However, it could also mean that you trace your heritage to Jewish roots, and identify with the culture of the Jewish people.The laws and practices of Judaism have evolved throughout history. As a group that has long been without a homeland, Jews have been forced to learn to adapt and grow in the communities in which they live and raise their families. The way in which one practices their religion is often based on influences around them and on what they decide their fundamental values and beliefs are.

[...] RELIGION ?When the spirit of modernity broke the walls of the ghetto and the religion of the Jews was confronted with the secular gains of the centuries, it was found to be largely a survival, unequipped, indeed, unfit, to cope with the problems of adjustment in an environment where science, humanism, democracy and industry were the prevailing social aspirations and the increasingly prepotent social powers? (Kallen 2). The laws and practices of Judaism have evolved throughout history. As a group that has long been without a homeland, Jews have been forced to learn to adapt and grow in the communities in which they live and raise their families. [...]


[...] Hasidic people consider themselves entirely dedicated to being a pious Jew. Their lives are shaped around their religion, rather than their religion being a side-thought of their daily lives. Judaism is their main focus, rather than their career or their secular communities. The biggest divide in American forms of Judaism is between Orthodox and non- Orthodox. ?Non-orthodox Judaism arose in response to Jewish participation in mainstream, secular civilization? (29). Non-orthodox Judaism accepts that there is change in the world, and therefore changes must be made within religion. [...]


[...] Even without being active, one can accept his Jewish identity and use it simply as a way to define who he is, or will become, in his lifetime. CONCLUSIONS two major choices which modernity forced and continues to force upon Jews are the meaning of being Jewish, that is, the nature of Jewish identity, and the choice about how committed one will be to Judaism, that is, how much of one's life space will be occupied by being Jewish. Jews have to decide if they are to express their identity as a national group, as a religious group, as a cultural group, as an ethnic group, or as some combination of these. [...]

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