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American Jewry’s ‘Social Zion’: Changes Through Time

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Chapter Summary

Compared to other Jewish dispersions, the American one has distinctively enjoyed equality and ample opportunity for group development. The embedded pluralism in most spheres of American life, notably the religious one, has made Jews in America feel at home and at the same time develop their traditions and communal qualities. In the United States, anti-Semitism increased and stayed noticeable until the victory over Nazi Germany. The systematic murder of Jews by the German police state and its collaborators during 1933-1945 deeply affected non-Zionist groups in the United States. The historic transformation discussed in this chapter raises the questions of whether the mission motive entirely vanished from American Zionist ideology and of whether it ever took any roots in the vigorously expanding pro-Zionist alignment. Large parts of American Jewry embraced the Holocaust memory in a rather Americanized version that settled into the American post-World War II culture.

Keywords: American Zionist ideology; Jews



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