What do we mean by Judaism/American Judaism?
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What do we mean by Judaism/American Judaism?

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The slideshow presentation offered on the first day of American Jewish Cultures class, Sept 27, 2011.

The slideshow presentation offered on the first day of American Jewish Cultures class, Sept 27, 2011.

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  • 85 % of U.S. Jews live in 20 metro areas.

What do we mean by Judaism/American Judaism? What do we mean by Judaism/American Judaism? Presentation Transcript

  • What is Judaism?
    Is it a religion, a culture, a nation, a people, a system of ethics, an ethnic group, a pre-requisite for making it as a successful comedian?
  • It’s a religion
    It’s an ethnicity
    One God
    Universal Creator
    Specific God of Israel
    System of ethical and ritual laws & practices
    Sacred homeland
    Sacred texts
    Torah and Hebrew Bible
    Talmud, Midrash, Kabbalah
    Holidays
    Sacred narrative (Moses, etc.)
    Common language(s)
    Shared history
    Shared rituals
    Shared foods
    Shared humor
    Shared roots in a particular land
    Sense of shared destiny
    Shared physical appearance attributes
  • Ashkenazi Jews
    (European descent)
    Sephardi Jews
    (trace roots back to Spain)
    Mizrahi Jews
    (Jews descending from the Middle East, North Africa, and Persian Gulf)
    Ethiopian Jews
    Sabras
    Jews-by-choice
    Jews adopted as children
  • “Judaism is an
    evolving
    religious
    civilization.”
    history
    languages
    Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan1881 - 1983
    religion
    cuisine
    culture
    homeland
    humor
    art & literature
  • Centers of Jewish civilization today
    EUROPE
    1,500,000
  • Jewish-Americans: population centers
  • Politics
  • Comedy
  • Hollywood
  • Different Ways of Analyzing or Surveying Contemporary American Jewish Cultures
  • By Movement/Philosophy
    Conservative
    Orthodox
    Modern Orthodox
    Haredi
    Chabad
    Other Hasidic Sects
    Reconstructionist
    Renewal
    “Just Jewish”
    Secular/Cultural
    Reform
    Humanistic
  • How the movements differ
    Beliefs about Torah & Sacred Texts
    Beliefs about God
    Authority of Jewish law (halakhah)
    Who has authority to determine halakhicdecisions or other decisions of ethics and ritual practice
    Nature and purpose of the Jewish people
    Ways of relating to modernity & the contemporary world
  • By Geographic Region
  • By Attitudes towards Israel
  • By Sub-ethnicity
  • By LGBT issues
  • By In-marriage/Intermarriage
  • By JBB or JBC