Steeled by Adversity: Essays and Addresses on American Jewish Life

By Salo Wittmayer Baron; Jeannette Meisel Baron | Go to book overview

7
American Jewish Communal Pioneering *

The first three centuries of Jewish communal experience on this continent were primarily a period of constant communal exploration and pioneering. True, from its inception the Jewish people has been called upon to perform pioneering services. It first pioneered in the field of religion, introducing the doctrines of ethical and historical monotheism to the far corners of the western world. Twice in antiquity, and once again in our time, it has pioneered in colonizing a state without a mother country to support it. Throughout the history of its dispersion, it had to perform ever new noteworthy economic functions. At the same time, in order to survive under constantly changing external conditions, it had to blaze many a new path in communal cooperation. In our day, when most western men attend churches and mosques, it is difficult for us to imagine, for example, what a major revolution the synagogue represented in the ancient modes of worship.

It is small wonder, therefore, that upon their arrival in this country, Jews found themselves in a most congenial environment. Here the entire nation was a nation of pioneers, not only pioneers of the brawn, but also pioneers of the brain; not only covered- wagon explorers, but also inventors, scientists, efficiency experts, educators. Jews caught the spirit of America and synthesized it with their own heritage. Their new pioneering spirit found an

____________________
*
Address of the President, delivered at the Fifty-second Annual Meeting of the American Jewish Historical Society held in Philadelphia, February 20, 1954; and published in PAJHS, XLIII ( 1953-54), 133-50.

-127-

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Steeled by Adversity: Essays and Addresses on American Jewish Life
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments *
  • I - Introduction 1
  • 1 3
  • II 13
  • 2 - American and Jewish Destiny: A Semimillennial Experience 15
  • 3 - American Jewish History: 26
  • 4 74
  • 5 - The Emancipation Movement And American Jewry 80
  • 6 106
  • 7 127
  • 8 - The Image of the Rabbi, Formerly and Today 147
  • 9 - Palestinian Messengers In America, 1849-79: A Record of Four Journeys 158
  • Appendix I 243
  • Appendix II 246
  • III 267
  • 10 - United States 1880-1914 269
  • IV 415
  • 11 417
  • 12 454
  • 13 - Some of the Tercentenary's Historic Lessons 473
  • 14 - Some Historical Lessons For Jewish Philanthropy 485
  • 15 - Cultural Pluralism Of American Jewry 495
  • 16 506
  • 17 - The Jewish Community And Jewish Education 518
  • 18 - American Jewish Scholarship And World Jewry 532
  • 19 542
  • 20 - Reordering Communal Priorities 552
  • Abbreviations 573
  • Notes 575
  • Index 693
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