This introductory chapter presents an overview of the present book, which is about the Weimar Jewish paradox. It traces how social workers and physicians, lay people and religious leaders transformed the postwar Jewish crisis into an opportunity for Jewish revitalization. In the overlapping realms of family, welfare, and reproduction, Jewish reformers saw not only the threat of social disorder and potentially dangerous instability, but also the prospect for enlisting those very institutions in the drive to reconstitute a strengthened and more vibrant Jewish population. The book also builds on a body of literature that has substantially reassessed older notions of assimilation by examining the emergence of what the Zionist leader Kurt Blumenfeld first identified as a post-assimilation Jewish identity.
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