Negotiating Middle-Class Judaism
This chapter details the widespread communal discomfort surrounding the religious practices of upwardly-mobile American Jews in the decades after World War II, paying particular attention to how Congregation Solel – a suburban synagogue whose members considered themselves to be particularly intellectual, politically-oriented, and critical of the American middle-class -- responded to these concerns. While most postwar American synagogues did not follow Solel in steeling themselves against the normative patterns of middle-class Jewish congregational life, the anxieties articulated by the members of Solel reverberated widely among postwar Jews and especially among the rabbinic leadership. Long-accustomed to thinking of social exclusion and economic need as integral components of a genuine Jewish identity, postwar rabbis did not necessarily feel comfortable with an emergent American Judaism that reflected acceptance and affluence.
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