A growing number of Jews identify themselves as secular or "somewhat secular." Is this expansive definition of Jewishness a new phenomenon? What are its roots? What are its implications for the Jewish community, its institutions, and its future? In reflecting on secular forms of Jewishness, the contributors to this book explore the sources of Jewish secularism and its articulation in Jewish thought, belief, literature, and culture. Included in this book are several personal accounts of Jewish journeys, as well as analyses of the extent of the division between secular Jews and others in the Jewish community. In sum, Jewish Secularity: The Search for Roots and the Challenges of Relevant Meaning provides an overview of a profound development in the evolving history of Jewish life in America.
Preface Zachary I. Heller Introduction David M. Gordis Secular Forms of Judaism Paul Mendes-Flohr Demography and Dimensions of Secularity among American Jews Barry A. Kosmin Secularism in the Contemporary Jewish Community David M. Gordis Let Us Speak of Stories Leonard Fein A Personal History of Jewish Reading Ilan Stavans God's Language and the Making of Secular Jewish Culture David Biale Sources of Secularism Mitchell Silver Secular Jewish Musical Expression-Is Nothing Sacred? Hankus Netsky The Secularization of Jewish Cultural Memory: Epistemological and Hermeneutical Reflections Paul Mendes Flohr Secular Jewishness in Israel and the Diaspora Yonatan Glaser Accepting Secular Jewishness and Embracing All Jews Eva Goldfinger Contributors