Economics of American Judaism
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This book collects in one readily-accessible volume the pioneering research of Carmel U. Chiswick on the Economics of American Judaism. Filling a major gap in the social-scientific literature, Chiswick's economic perspective complements that of other social scientists and historians. She demonstrates clearly that economic analysis can deepen our understanding of the historical experience of American Jewry and provide insights into its current situation. The author applies the methodology of modern labor economics to examine how America's unique economic environment in the twentieth century provided a context for the ancient Jewish religion to adapt to new circumstances. The development of distinctively American synagogue movements is linked to the economic assimilation of American Jews and their rapidly rising levels of education, social assimilation, and changing family structure. The economic perspective gives a fresh insight into questions of the long-run viability of Judaism in America. In a final section, economic analysis is applied in a novel way to highlight the symbiotic relationship between American and Israeli Judaism.