God in America

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Episode 4 A NEW LIGHT https://www.pbs.org/godinamerica/view/

Jewish history professor Jeffrey Gurock says some Jewish immigrants to America wanted “to act and look and behave like the Protestant majority without abandoning their faith.” In what ways did 19th-century America alter the religious identity of immigrants, and in what ways did immigrants alter the American religious landscape?
Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise saw America as a perfect setting for both the preservation and the reform of traditional Judaism, says historian Hasia Diner. He wanted “to sustain Judaism and to change it,” Jonathan Sarna has written. Rabbi Wise’s dilemma was how far to change Judaism in order for it to thrive, how much to negotiate. What particular American ideas and ideals influenced his alterations of religious rituals, customs, language and observances?

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