Academic journal article Shofar

The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism

Academic journal article Shofar

The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism

Article excerpt

The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism, edited by Dana Evan Kaplan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 462 pp. $27.99.

Like other volumes in the Cambridge Companion to Religion series, this work presents a number of essays dealing with the subject at hand, in this case: American Judaism. Dana Evan Kaplan has provided a valuable service by adopting a broad perspective and including selections by scholars not only from the field of religious studies but also from such areas as philosophy, literature, art history, musicology, and the like. The result is a book that is quite comprehensive and should be of interest not only to the general reader but also to professors for possible inclusion in their syllabi.

The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism includes a chronology of the major events in the history of American Judaism as well as a glossary of Hebrew and Yiddish terms, both very helpful to readers with limited backgrounds. The book is divided into two parts. The first consists of three well-written historical overviews by Eli Faber (1654-1880), Lloyd Gartner (1880-1945) and Kaplan (1945-present). These essays, totaling 78 pages, stand independently as an excellent account of the history of Judaism in America.

The second, and by far longer, part of the work is entitled "Themes and Concepts," and is divided into five sections: Religious Culture and Institutional Practice, Identity and Community, Living in America, Jewish Art in America, and The Future, each containing a number of essays. …

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