Translating A Tradition: Studies in American Jewish History

Translating A Tradition: Studies in American Jewish History


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)

Table of Contents


I. Cyrus Adler: Toward the biography of an American Jew
The Invention of American Jewish History
Cyrus Adler and The American: a Moment in the Intellectual History of American Jewry
Cyrus Adler the Philadelphian
Two North American Kehillot and Their Structure: Philadelphia and Montreal
Cyrus Adler, bernard revel and the Prehistory of organized Jewish Scholarship in the United States
Cyrus Adler and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America: Image and reality
Cyrus Adler: President of the Jewish Theological
Seminary, 1915-1940
The Correspondence of Cyrus Adler and Racie Friedenwald Adler: New Perspectives on the
Development of American Jewry in the Early
Twentieth Century (with Dr. Maxine Jacobson) 
A Supplemental bibliography of Cyrus Adler

II. Orthodox Judaism in North America
The First Hasidic Rabbis in North America
Anshe Sfard: the Creation of the First Hasidic  Congregations in North America
Hasid and Maskil: The Hasidic Tales of an American Yiddish Journalist
because of our Many Sins: The Contemporary
Jewish World as Reflected in the Responsa of Rabbi Moses Feinstein
That Marvelous Midos Machine: Audio Tapes as an Orthodox Educational Medium
“Practically I Am a Fundamentalist” : Twentieth Century Orthodox Jews Contend With Evolution and Its Implications

III. Contemporary American Judaism
American Jewish Views of Evolution and Intelligent Design