American Post-Judaism

American Post-Judaism

Identity and Renewal in a Postethnic Society
Shaul Magid
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 04/09/2013
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-253-00802-2
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How do American Jews identify as both Jewish and American? American Post-Judaism argues that Zionism and the Holocaust, two anchors of contemporary American Jewish identity, will no longer be centers of identity formation for future generations of American Jews. Shaul Magid articulates a new, post-ethnic American Jewishness. He discusses pragmatism and spirituality, monotheism and post-monotheism, Jesus, Jewish law, sainthood and self-realization, and the meaning of the Holocaust for those who have never known survivors. Magid presents Jewish Renewal as a movement that takes this radical cultural transition seriously in its strivings for a new era in Jewish thought and practice.

Author Bio

Shaul Magid is Jay and Jeannie Schottenstein Professor of Jewish Studies at Indiana University Bloomington. He is author of From Metaphysics to Midrash (IUP, 2008).


“In every case, Shaul Magid's point is that the old paradigms for thinking about Jews and Judaism—specifically the ethnically inflected, assimilation-phobic, chosen/one God model—are dead. But all is not lost. He is optimistic that if we redefine the terms of Jewish survival, we will see just how much Jews have gained in these transformations.”
 — Lila Corwin Berman, Temple University

“Shaul Magid presents Jewish Renewal as a movement that takes this radical cultural transition seriously in its strivings for a new era in Jewish thought and practice.”

“Shaul Magid . . . has just happened to write one of the most important books on American Judaism written of late. . . . Magid has a keen eye on the politics of change and renewal as they impact Israel and the American Jewish community.”
 — The Daily Beast

“The ongoing public conversation about the future of American Judaism is embodied in a small library of recent books, many of which have been considered here. None of them, however, offers quite the same potent brew of courage, clarity, passion and expertise as Shaul Magid’s American Post-Judaism . . . , a scholarly but also visionary book about what it means to be a Jew in America today.”
 — Jewish Journal

“Magid’s important book is a clear and realistic – albeit incomplete – preliminary analysis of Judaism in America; its achievements; and its crises. It provides a variety of perspectives on the creation of contemporary Jewish society in the U.S. . . . that provide an accurate portrait of postethnic Judaism. ”
 — Haaretz

“[Magid's] American Post-Judaism provides a timely and necessary, if controversial, entry into contemporary Jewish theology. Highly recommended.”
 — H-Judaic

“[American Post-Judaism] deals with the reality of American Jewish life with realism and with insight.”
 — JNS

“[R]equired reading for anyone directly concerned with Jewish survival, and for everyone interested in the state of institutional religion and personal spirituality in the US today. . . Highly recommended.”
 — Choice

“[T]his spirited and erudite collection has much to contribute to the sociological understanding of American Jewry. . . When read against the findings of the Pew Study, however, his observation that American Jewry has arrived at a 'between moment' strikes me as singularly prescient. ”
 — Sociology of Religion

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Table of Contents

1. Be the Jew You Make: Jews, Jewishness, and Judaism in
Postethnic America
2. Ethnicity, America, and the Future of the Jews: Felix Adler,
Mordecai Kaplan, and Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
3. Pragmatism and Piety: The American
Spiritual and Philosophical Roots of Jewish Renewal
4. Postmonotheism, Renewal, and a New American
5. Hasidism, Mithnagdism, and Contemporary American
Judaism: Talmudism, (Neo) Kabbala, and (Post) Halakha
6. From the Historical Jesus to a New Jewish Christology:
Rethinking Jesus in Contemporary American Judaism
7. Sainthood, Selfhood, and the Ba’al Teshuva: ArtScroll’s American
Hero and Jewish Renewal’s Functional Saint
8. Rethinking the Holocaust after Post-Holocaust
Theology: Uniqueness, Exceptionalism, and the Renewal of American
Epilogue. Shlomo Carlebach: An Itinerant Preacher for a
Post-Judaism Age

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