The American Jewish Polity

By Daniel J. Elazar

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), 1995

The author argues that the strength of the American Jewish community lies in its local locus. This means that, where there is a tendency to oligarchy, the existence of face-to-face relations between members of the oligarchy and the larger Jewish population is critical to moderate the former's control. Even when the oligarchy is a trusteeship, there needs to be that kind of face-to-face contact to keep the "establishment" trustees in tune with the community. Were countrywide organizations more powerful, they would also be more independent of the Jewish because they would be more separated from it and even less in tune with the Jewish public. Even the country-wide organizations are aware that their volunteer leaders are still rooted in their local settings. Thus, representatives of the American Jewish community acquire as a sine qua non the maintenance of a strong local dimension.

Topic: Jewish Federations, Leadership, Jewish Organizations, Volunteerism, Communal Organization

Name of Publication: Jewish Political Studies Review

Editor: Elazar, Daniel J.

Volume/Issue: Vol.7/no.3-4

Page Number(s): 75-88

Funder: Betsy Gidwitz , Milken Library of Jewish Public Affairs

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Genre: Book Chapter

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Elazar, Daniel J. The American Jewish Polity. Jewish Political Studies Review. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA). 1995: 75-88. http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=4746


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