Translating A Tradition: Studies in American Jewish History

Translating A Tradition: Studies in American Jewish History

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Ira Robinson

Series: Judaism and Jewish Life
ISBN: 9781934843062 (hardcover)
Pages: 332 pp.
Publication Date: July 2008

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Divided into three sections, this work explains how the concepts and practices of traditional European Judaism were adapted to North American culture beginning in the late nineteenth century. Part I focuses on the ideas and activities of Cyrus Adler (1863–1940), one of the most prominent leaders of the traditionalist United States Jewish community in his era. The issues in these essays include the origins of American Jewish history as a field of study, the Kehilla experiments of the early twentieth century, and the relationship between the Jewish Theological Seminary and Orthodox Judaism. Part II deals with the beginnings of Hasidic Judaism in North America prior to the Second World War. It also includes several studies investigating the shaping of the worldview of Orthodox Judaism in contemporary North America. Part III examines the issue of contemporary American Jewish attitudes toward evolution and intelligent design.


Ira Robinson (PhD Harvard University) is professor of Judaic Studies in the department of religion at Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, and serves as president of the Canadian Society for Jewish Studies. His recent books include Rabbis and Their Community: Studies in the Eastern European Orthodox Rabbinate in Montreal, 1896–1930 (2007), Translating a Tradition: Studies in American Jewish History (2009), and Canada's Jews: In Time, Space and Spirit. Dr. Robinson is the 2013 recipient of the Louis Rosenberg Canadian Jewish Studies Distinguished Service Award.


An engaging and important contribution to the field.
— David Weinfeld, in the American Jewish Archives Journal (LXI, No. 2, 2009)