Jews and the New American Scene

Seymour Martin Lipset, Author, Earl Raab, With Harvard University Press $25 (256p) ISBN 978-0-674-47493-2
The authors of this often provocative study maintain that American Jews' ``tribal cohesion''--their term for ethnic and religious solidarity--is being markedly eroded by assimilation and intermarriage. Within just two generations, they predict, the American Jewish community could lose half its present population, even as a significant minority of Jews intensifies its religious affiliation. Lipset, professor of public policy at George Mason University, and Raab, director of Brandeis's Perlmutter Institute for Jewish Advocacy, link American Jews' ``tribal cohesion'' to a ``strong sense of communal foreboding'' based on fears of resurgent anti-Semitism, and they argue that Israel's vulnerability to attack reminds American Jews of their own vestigial insecurity, thereby reinforcing group solidarity. American Jews' predominant support for political liberalism, in the authors' analysis, is explained by Jews' recognition that the chief ideology of American society--individualism, populism, egalitarianism, anti-statism, civic equality--has helped to protect Jews from persecution while opening opportunities for economic advancement to them. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1995
Release date: 03/01/1995
Paperback - 250 pages - 978-0-674-47494-9
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