amrel hist7-2

Report
Religion and Society in
America
The Emergence of Modern American
Religious Life – Part 2
Week 7 – Lecture 2
The Emergence of Modern
American Religious Life
 Shifting Religious Configurations:
Judaism and Eastern Orthodoxy –
Two examples of “Americanization”
 Summary of Judaism’s historical
development in United States
 The Emergence of Reformed Judaism
 The Pittsburgh Platform
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
 1630 – 1654 Large population of Jews
exiled from Spain living in Recife,
Brazil
 1654 – twenty-three Jews fleeing
Portuguese harassment in Brazil
arrived in New Amsterdam
 Establish the Shearith Israel
synagogue
 “Sephardim” Jews
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
 1677 Second Jewish community lands in
Newport, Rhode Island
 1763 synagogue of Newport, Rhode Island
is dedicated (only surviving Jewish
structure in America of 18th Century)
 1802 First synagogue following the
Ashkenazic rite (German, Poland,
Amsterdam) is established in Philadelphia
 1775 – 1815 immigration of Germanspeaking Jewish families (not necessarily
congregations)
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
 1824 – The Reformed Society of Israelites
is organized in Charleston, SC
 1836 – First mass migration of Jews to
United State from Bavaria
 1838 – Rebecca Gratz establishes a Hebrew
Sabbath School in Philadelphia
 1840 – 15,000 Jews in America
 1852 – First synagogue of East European
Jews is founded in New York City
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
 1875 – Isaac M. Wise (1819-1900) founds
Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio.
 1881 – Mass movement of East European
Jews to America
 1880s – Notable social stratification of Jews
in America (agrarian vs. urban)
 20% accountants, bookkeepers, clerks;
10% salesman; 5% profession; 15% skilled
labor
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
 1883 – First graduating class of rabbis from
Hebrew Union College. Orthodox Jews in
America (small in number) dismayed by
violation of the laws of kashrut by class.
 1885 – Reform rabbis meet in Pittsburgh,
PA to adopt a statement of principles of
Reformed Judaism in the United States
 1886 – In response to Pittsburgh Platform,
conservative Jews found the Jewish
Theological Seminary Association which
holds classes the following year
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
 What are some aspects or characteristics of
Reformed Judaism in America?
 Judaism is an evolutionary faith capable of
infinite development
 “Tradition” stands for institutions, loyalties,
sentiments which give structure to
communities
 Independent congregations and clerics in
U.S. setting
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
 Continual application of Halakah to
maintain validity of Jewish law (Halakah =
“path” – process of interpretation)
 Mitzvah = biblical or rabbinic injunctions
(613 traditional total) in Torah and also
large number in Talmud (oral laws)
 Orthodox Jews hold these are God-given
laws which regulate life
 Conservative Jews hold Halakah as
“development” but inspired
 Reformed Jews hold it as eternally binding
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
 Reformed Judaism’s quest for
“authentic” Judaism made two ideas
attractive:
 Judaism had special mission to the world
that helped explain dispersion not as
punishment, but as calling
 Social justice proclaimed by the Hebrew
prophets should be at the forefront of
Jewish life and expended energies
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
 Proselytism was least popular option
for Reformed
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
 Dietary laws no longer binding
 Prayer Books, the Union Prayer-Book in
particular, stresses social-mindedness and
tolerance
 Employment of organ and choir (sometimes
mixed with Gentiles)
 Reformed Judaism in America of late-19th
Century embodied a tenacious optimism
 Dampen ritualistic aspects of Judaism
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
 8 fundamental points declared in the
“Pittsburgh Platform” in 1885
 1. “We recognize in every religion an
attempt to grasp the Infinite, and in every
mode, source, or book of revelation held
sacred in any religious system the
consciousness of the indwelling of God in
man. We hold that Judaism presents the
highest concept of the God-idea…”
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
 2. “We recognize in the Bible the record of
the consecration of the Jewish people to its
mission as the priest of the one God, and
value it as the most potent instrument of
religious and moral instruction. We hold
that the modern discoveries of scientific
research in the domain of nature and
history are not antagonistic to the doctrines
of Judaism, or the Bible reflecting the
primitive ideas of its own age…”
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
 3. “We recognize in the Mosaic
legislation a system of training the
Jewish people for its mission during
its national life in Palestine, and today
we accept as binding only its moral
laws…”
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
 4. “We hold that all such Mosaic and
rabbinical laws as regulate diet, priestly
purity, and dress, originated in ages, and
under the influence of ideas, entirely
foreign to our present mental and spiritual
state. They fail to impress the modern Jew
with a spirit of priestly holiness; their
observance in our days is apt rather to
obstruct than to further modern spiritual
elevation.”
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
 5. “We recognize, in the modern era of
universal culture of heart and
intellect…[and] Israel’s great Messianic
hope for the establishment of the kingdom
of truth, justice, and peace among all men.
We consider ourselves no longer a nation,
but a religious community, and therefore
expect neither a return to Palestine, nor a
sacrificial worship under the sons of Aaron,
nor the restoration of any of the laws
concerning the Jewish state.”
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
 6. “…Christianity and Islam being
daughter religions of Judaism, we
appreciate their providential mission
to aid in the spreading of
monotheistic and moral truth. We
acknowledge that the spirit of broad
humanity of our age is our ally in the
fulfillment of our mission…”
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
 7. “We reassert the doctrine of
Judaism that the soul is immortal,
grounding this belief on the divine
nature of the human spirit, which
forever finds bliss in righteousness
and misery in wickedness. We reject
as ideas not rooted in Judaism the
beliefs both in bodily resurrection and
in Gehenna and Eden as abodes for
everlasting punishment.”
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
 8. “…we deem it our duty to
participate in the great task of
modern times, to solve, on the basis
of justice and righteousness, the
problems presented by the contrast
and evils of the present organization
of society.”
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
 Immigrant Jewish population,
reformed Jews, largely from Germany
during antebellum period and Gilded
Age
 While Jews from Europe settle in both
the North and South, their
concentration of settlement is in city
centers such as New York, Chicago,
Atlanta, etc.
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
 1860 – U.S. Census reports 77 Jewish
synagogues in the nation with
concentrations in Baltimore, New York City,
Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Charleston,
Savannah, and New Orleans
 1870 – U.S. Census reports 189
congregations, 152 synagogues
 1890 – U.S. Census reports 533
congregations, 301 synagogues
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Orthodoxy
 1875 – 1878 survey of Union of
America Hebrew Congregations
reports 230,000 Jews in the United
States
 1880 – 50,155,783 population of U.S.
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
1880 Census
230,000
Jews
Other
50,155,783
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
c. 1900 Population Estimates
1,700,000
Jews
Other
75,994,575
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
2,000,000
1,700,000
1,500,000
1,000,000
500,000
0
230,000
25 Years - Jewish Population
Growth
1880
1905
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Orthodoxy
 Origins of Eastern Orthodoxy in North
America are found in Alaska
 1790’s – Missionary monks come to
that region of North American
Continent and convert native
population
 Seminary in Sitka established in 1848
 1867 – Diocese was formed when
Alaska became a territory of U.S.
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Orthodoxy
 Seat of diocese transferred to San Francisco
in 1872
 Russian and Greek communities constitute
Eastern Orthodoxy Prior to 1900
 Early 20th Century immigration to U.S. by
Slavic peoples from Eastern Europe who
settle in the mining and steel towns of
Pennsylvania and Great Lakes region
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Orthodoxy
 Non-Slavic immigrants, principally
Greeks and Syrians, professing
Eastern Orthodoxy were largely
entrepreneurial and settle throughout
the country in small communities
 Approximately 100,000 members in
Eastern Orthodox Church in America
by 1900
Shifting Religious Configurations:
Reformed Judaism and Eastern
Christian Orthodoxy
c. 1900 Population Estimates
100,000
Eastern
Orthodox
Christianity
Other
75,994,575

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