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The Cultural Pluralism Perspective Of North American Jewry During The Holocaust

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the reasonability and implications of the existential group ideology of non-choice among American Jews shortly before the Holocaust, when black clouds of physical and spiritual threats were gathering on the horizon. It focuses on the pattern of activity of the American Zionist leader and Reform rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, who led an assertive, militant course of action during the Holocaust and the early post-Holocaust periods. The chapter further explores whether Silver's militancy reflected a growing feeling of insularity on the part of a minority defending itself against the hostile non-Jewish environment or whether the key to understanding Silver's political power, as well as the militant nature of his activities, was his existential ideology of non-choice. It focuses on the two decades before the Holocaust-a time when political, social, and cultural integration were perceived by many American Jews as achievable and perhaps even a self-evident right.

Keywords: Abba Hillel Silverm; American Jews; cultural pluralism; Holocaust; North American jewry



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