Jews in Christian America: The Pursuit of Religious Equality by Naomi W. CohenJews in Christian America: The Pursuit of Religious Equality by Naomi W. Cohen

Jews in Christian America: The Pursuit of Religious Equality

byNaomi W. Cohen

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

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Separation of church and state has become a veritable creed in the American Jewish community. Focusing on the way in which Jewish actions have contributed to the development of separation, this book examines how American Jews have contended with living in a fundamentally Christian state. Inthe first part, Cohen covers this history hronologically from colonial times to the Second World War. Throughout this period, Jewish community leaders focused on legislation and judicial opinions that in any way bespoke established Christianity. They were principally concerned with test oaths,Sunday laws, religion in public schools, and Christianity in federal treaties--issues that in one form or another have lasted well into the twentieth century. Dealing with the period after World War II, the second part of the book consists of an in-depth analysis of Jewish participation in, andresponses to, litigation on such issues as released time, prayer and bible readings in public schools, Sunday laws, and religious decorations in public places. Cohen also considers how separationism evoked differences of opinion among Jews and how it affected Jewish-Christian relations.

About The Author

Naomi W. Cohen is at Hunter College, CUNY.
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Title:Jews in Christian America: The Pursuit of Religious EqualityFormat:HardcoverDimensions:316 pages, 9.49 × 6.46 × 1.22 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195065379

ISBN - 13:9780195065374

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A driving force in the history of American Jews has been the pursuit of religious equality under law. Jews reasoned that state and federal legislation or public practices which sanctioned religious, specifically Christian, usages blocked their path to full integration within society. Always a small minority and ever fearful of the outspoken proponents of the Christian state, nineteenth-century Jews became ardent defenders of church-state separation. In the twentieth century, Jewish defense organizations took a prominent role in landmark court cases on religion in the schools, Sunday laws, and public displays of Christian symbols. Over the last two centuries, Jews shifted from support of a neutral-to-all-religions government to a divorced-from-religion government, and from defense of their own interests to the defense of other religious minorities. Jews in Christian America traces in historical context the response of American Jews to the issues presented by a Christian-flavored public religion. Discussing the contributions of each major wave of Jewish immigrants t

Editorial Reviews

"Cohen's unearthing of previously unused archival sources and skillful rendering of the historical nexus and language in which cases were argued makes the work outstanding."--The American Journal of Legal History