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Becoming the Nation's Third Faith: Judaism and the Shaping of Post-WWII American Culture

Becoming the Nation's Third Faith: Judaism and the Shaping of Post-WWII American Culture
15 Devonshire Place, Larkin Building room 200
Time: Feb 12th, 2:00 pm End: Feb 12th, 4:00 pm
Interest Categories: United States Studies, Religion, Study of (FAS), Jewish Studies, History (FAS), Historical Studies (UTM), Historical and Cultural Studies (UTSC), 1950-2000
Lecture by Rachel Gordon, Visiting Fellow, Centre for the Study of the United States

The Centre for the Study of the United States, Munk School of Global Affairs, is pleased to present:

Rachel Gordon, Visiting Fellow

Becoming the Nation's Third Faith: Judaism and the Shaping of Post-WWII American Culture

During the 1940’s and 1950’s, Jews became – improbably, considering their tiny numbers – “America’s third faith.” For most of the nation’s history, American religion had meant, for all intents and purposes, Christianity. But as postwar America defined itself in contrast to its Cold War enemies, as Jews moved to the suburban frontiers and became known and befriended by middle-class neighbours who attended churches and Sunday schools, and as the Cold War demanded that every American have a religion, social and political rules were rewritten, resulting in a reordering of the American moral order. What was associated with Nazism was deemed undemocratic, if not evil. Jew’s racial categorization was replaced by a new American agreement: Judaism now counted as one of the nation’s primary religions. “Judeo-Christianity” proclaimed a bold revision of the nation’s religious history to include Jews and Judaism in America’s moral tradition. How Jews and American culture responded to those changes is at the heart of this story.

Rachel Gordan
is a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Study of the United States, Munk School of Global Affairs, in 2014-15. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University and her BA from Yale College. She teaches a course in American religious history, and is currently working on a book manuscript about post-WWII American Judaism.

Registration is required for this event. Please register here. For further information, please contact the Centre for the Study of the United States at (416) 946-8972.

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