Jews are widely seen as a “people of the book” and a nation of dissenters. This perception was validated by Joseph Telushkin, an ordained rabbi who declares that dissent and anti-authoritarianism are long-standing virtues of Jewish civilization. This chapter examines dissent, scholarship, and argumentation as core elements of the secular and religious traditions of Jews in postwar New York City. It discusses four general developments that help explain the notion that dissent and activism were fundamental elements of Judaism and Jewish civilization. It also considers the Jews' child-centered approach to family life and education as an important outgrowth of their self-conscious embrace of dissent and intellectual pursuit.
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