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Ambivalent EmbraceJewish Upward Mobility in Postwar America$
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Rachel Kranson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469635439

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635439.001.0001

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Pathfinders’ Predicament

Pathfinders’ Predicament

Negotiating Middle-Class Judaism

(p.68) Three Pathfinders’ Predicament
Ambivalent Embrace

Rachel Kranson

University of North Carolina Press

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.

Keywords:   Judaism, synagogue, suburbs, upward mobility, Congregation Solel

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