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Articles on American Jews

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A mother hugs her son at the memorial of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, 2019, the first anniversary of the shooting at the synagogue. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

How American anti-Semitism reflects the centuries-long struggle over the meaning of religious liberty

The US Constitution is supposed to protect freedom of religion. But in the 20th century, white Christian nationalists used this ideal to discriminate against Jews and justify their exclusion.
Despite courting the Jewish vote, President Trump has used anti-Semitic rhetoric. AP/John Locher

Anti-Semitism in the US today is a variation on an old theme

A task force has been assembled in the US Senate to fight anti-Semitism. A specialist in Jewish-American history says the group has a big job ahead of it. Anti-Semitism has a long history in the US.
Particularly for young Canadian Jews, a holiday meal achieves conviviality in the family and solidarity with the Jewish community, but its religious significance is less important than in the past. Makom/Facebook

Young, Canadian and Jewish: The shift from religious to cultural identity

A new survey of Canadian Jew suggests young adults are finding ways of remaining Jewish that are not principally religious.
In the United States, Hanukkah has gained much significance. Tercer Ojo Photography/Shutterstock.com

How Hanukkah came to America

Hanukkah is ranked one of Judaism's minor festivals, but its popularity in the US has a lot to do with America's Jews trying to fight assimilation into a culture that welcomed them.
A memorial outside Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue on Oct. 29, 2018, erected after a gunman killed 11 worshippers at the temple. AP/Gene J. Puskar)

America’s dark history of organized anti-Semitism re-emerges in today’s far-right groups

American anti-Semitism took an organized form in the 20th century. The German American Bund and the Silver Legion developed a unique culture of hatred for Jews that persists today in alt-right groups.
For decades, native-born American Jews changed their names to improve their job prospects. Billion Photos/Shutterstock.com

Why are some Americans changing their names?

The demographics of name change petitioners today – and the reasons that they give – tell a complicated story of race, class and culture.
Prayers outside the Tree of Life synagogue. Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

How safe is your place of worship?

A national survey of over 1,300 congregations found that religious leaders struggle to balance security concerns with carrying out a mission to be open to the communities they serve.
Immigrants and inspectors in the registry room for legal inspections at Ellis Island.

Jewish Americans changed their names, but not at Ellis Island

Thousands of Jewish immigrants and their children changed their names in America – but not at Ellis Island. The reasons are complicated and part of the Jewish struggle with their identity in America.
A protest by ‘If Not Now’ outside the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C., March 2017. Gili Getz

As Israel turns 70, many young American Jews turn away

As Israel approaches the 70th anniversary of its establishment, many older American Jews will be celebrating. Many younger ones will wonder whether the Jewish state is something to celebrate at all.

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