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Pledges of Jewish AllegianceConversion, Law, and Policymaking in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Orthodox Responsa$
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David Ellenson and Daniel Gordis

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804778053

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804778053.001.0001

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Introduction Who Is a Jew? What Is a Jew?

Introduction Who Is a Jew? What Is a Jew?

Jewish Identity, Jewish Status, and the Challenge of Conversion

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction Who Is a Jew? What Is a Jew?
Source:
Pledges of Jewish Allegiance
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804778053.003.0001

This book examines the debate surrounding the definition of a Jew, Jewish status, and the nature of the Jewish community, focusing on the modern period of Jewish history as well as nineteenth- and twentieth-century legal opinions and other writings by Orthodox rabbis regarding conversion, including responsa. It discusses the overlapping but distinct ways in which traditionalist religious authorities have defined the core of Jewishness—Jewish identity, status, and community—in the context of modernity. It also analyzes how Jews and Judaism have responded to the challenges of the modern world, such as Israel, Germany, or the United States, regarding the continuity and borders of the Jews. In addition, the book looks at the dynamics of the posekim and the classical sources of Jewish law.

Keywords:   Jews, rabbis, posekim, Jewish law, Jewish identity, Judaism, responsa, Jewish community, conversion, Jewish status

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