Jewish Peoplehood: Change and Challenge

Jewish Peoplehood: Change and Challenge

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Edited by Ezra Kopelowitz and Menachem Revivi

Series: Reference Library of Jewish Intellectual History
ISBN: 9781934843246 (hardcover) / 9781934843581 (paper)
Pages: 204 pp.
Publication Date: September 2008

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At a time when Jewish communities have become increasingly anxious about weakening Jewish identity, one response is to engage with the concept of Jewish peoplehood as a social phenomenon, in its varied contexts and processes. This volume represents the first in-depth effort to address the concept of Jewish peoplehood since the initial attempts of early twentieth century Jewish intellectuals Mordechai Kaplan and Salo Baron. Indeed, its substance goes far beyond the range of a contemporary academic anthology, constituting instead a dynamic think tank on the concept of Jewish peoplehood by bringing together intellectuals from France, Israel, the UK, and the United States. The collection offers both intellectual and practical frameworks for grappling with the policy outcomes of different understandings of the peoplehood concept, and contributors to this volume include noted figures from diverse walks of life: academic disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, a rabbi, a literary figure, and communal leaders.

Contributors include: Yonatan Ariel, Ami Bouganim, Arnold Eisen, Laura Geller, Michal Govrin, Moshe Halbertal, Ezra Kopelowitz, Riv-Ellen Prell, Michael Rosenak, Shmuel Trigano, Michael Walzer

Ezra Kopelowitz is a sociologist specializing in Israel–Diaspora relations and issues of Jewish identity, education, and religion in Israel and the United States. From 2000–2003, Dr. Kopelowitz served as the director of the research activities of the Department of Jewish Education of the Jewish Agency for Israel and, in 2004, as a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Menachem Revivi received his BA in psychology and sociology from Bar-Ilan University in Israel and his master’s degree in educational psychology from New York University. For the past twenty-five years, Mr. Revivi has been a leader in Israeli and Jewish communal affairs and is recognized for his expertise in the areas of Jewish education and Israel–Diaspora relations.

Table of Contents

John S. Ruskay
Editors’ Note
Menachem Revivi and Ezra Kopelowitz
Introduction: Four Questions Concerning Peoplehood — And Just as Many Answers
Arnold Eisen

The Problem of Jewish Peoplehood
Michael Rosenak
The Anomalies of Jewish Political Identity
Michael Walzer
On Modern Jewish Identities
Moshe Halbertal
The Jewish People and the Israeli Nation
Shmuel Trigano
Jewish Sectarianism and Jewish Peoplehood
Ami Bouganim
A Sociologist’s Guide for Building Jewish Peoplehood
Ezra Kopelowitz
A New Understanding of Peoplehood: The Jewish Conversation
Laura Geller
Against the Cultural Grain: Jewish Peoplehood for the 21st Century
Riv-Ellen Prell
Jewish Literary Manifesto (in First Person Feminine) 
Michal Govrin
Your People Shall Be My People. Notes on Nurturing Jewish Peoplehood
Yonatan Ariel

Alan Hoffmann
Author Biographies