Jewish Polity and American Civil Society is a study of the civic and political engagements of American Jews as mediated by their communal and denominational institutions. The book explores how the various branches of the organized Jewish community seek to influence public affairs. Over the course of the last century, Jewish agencies and religious movements have tried to shape public debate and public policy on such issues as civil rights, church-state relations, and American foreign policy. The book sets the history of Jewish engagement in these areas into historical context; analyzes the motives, strategies, and tactics of various Jewish groups, and evaluates their successes and failures. The book also explores the underlying idea-the public philosophy-that informs American Jews' understanding of civic and political engagement.
Alan Mittleman is head and associate professor in the Department of Religion at Muhlenberg College and the author of The Scepter Shall Not Depart from Judah: Perspectives on the Persistence of the Political in Judaism. Jonathan D. Sarna is the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University. He is author, editor, or coeditor of many books, including Religion and State in the American Jewish Experience (with David Dalin) and Women and American Judaism: Historical Perspectives (with Pamela S. Nadell). Robert Licht is the editor of six books on the U.S. Constitution and is a lecturer in political thought at the University of Chicago.
Chapter 1 Introduction: The Jewish Political Tradition and the English-Speaking World Part 2 Communal Agencies Chapter 3 "Defenders": National Jewish Community Relations Agencies Chapter 4 Local Community Relations Councils and Their National Body Chapter 5 History of Israel Advocacy Chapter 6 The Jewish Social Welfare Lobby in the United States Part 7 Religious Movements Chapter 8 The Conservative Movement and the Public Square Chapter 9 Reform Judaism, Minority Rights, and the Separation of Church and State Chapter 10 Mainstream Orthodoxy and the American Public Square Chapter 11 Haredim and the Public Square: The Nature of the Social Contract Chapter 12 Reconstructionism and the Public Square: A Multicultural Approach to Judaism in America Chapter 13 Jewish Renewal Chapter 14 Afterword