This piece looks at the role of Jewish boundaries in shaping Jewish identities, in relation to the larger framework of being American. The author looks at the biblical representations of this boundary in terms of ancient edicts meant to separate Jews from non-Jews through political, social and bodily boundaries. The piece goes on to look at how these boundaries affected historical interactions with Christians and Germans. The piece also highlights Mordecai Kaplanâ??s reconstructed version of American Judaism, which made attempts to balance the values of living in two civilizations. The piece concludes by asserting the importance of Jewish distinctiveness but at the same time supporting the preservation and nurturing of universalism.