The topic of this Independent Study is the modem identity of Reform Jews in America and factors within the twentieth century that have influenced this identity. Within the paper, the question of whether Judaism is a religion or a culture is frequently addressed. This paper begins with a discussion of Thesis and how the author became interested in the topic. It then moves on to the first chapter, which is about the history of Reform Judaism, starting in Europe prior to the emancipation of French Jews in 1789 and ending with Reform Judaism in twentieth century America. The next chapter deals with Reform Jewish identity in America, discussing the idea of an identity crisis suffered by modem Reform Jews, and then moving on to a discussion of the identity that modem Jews have chosen for themselves. The Six-Day War in the Middle East is the next topic addressed. The chapter discusses how this war had a large effect on the American Reform Jewish population of the 1960's and, in fact, caused the Jews of that time period to take new pride in their Jewish identity. The fourth, and final, chapter discusses Reform Jewish feminism and why it is needed by many females in order to have a strong sense of their Jewish identity. The paper concludes with the thoughts of the author regarding the topics addressed.


Kammer, III, Charles L.

Second Advisor

Scholz, Susanne


Religious Studies

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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