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And I Will Dwell in Their Midst: Orthodox Jews in Suburbia

And I Will Dwell in Their Midst: Orthodox Jews in Suburbia (Paperback)

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Suburbia may not seem like much of a place to pioneer, but for young, religiously committed Jewish families, it's open territory." This sentiment--expressed in the early 1970s by an Orthodox Jew in suburban Toronto--captures the essence of the suburban Orthodox Jewish experience of the late twentieth century. Although rarely associated with postwar suburbia, Orthodox Jews in metropolitan areas across the United States and Canada have successfully combined suburban lifestyles and the culture of consumerism with a strong sense of religious traditionalism and community cohesion. By their very existence in suburbia, argues Etan Diamond, Orthodox Jewish communities challenge dominant assumptions about society and religious culture in the twentieth century. Using the history of Orthodox Jewish suburbanization in Toronto, Diamond explores the different components of the North American suburban Orthodox Jewish community: sacred spaces, synagogues, schools, kosher homes, and social networks. In a larger sense, though, his book tells a story of how traditionalist religious communities have thrived in the most secular of environments.

In so doing, it pushes our current understanding of cities and suburbs and their religious communities in new directions. |A fresh and enlightening study that examines the creation and success of Orthodox Jewish communities within the secular culture of North American suburbia. Diamond uses the example of Toronto, home to one of the largest Orthodox Jewish populations in North America, to depict and understand how religious traditionalism adapts and appropriates the suburban landscape to its own uses, thereby producing thriving religious communities.

Etan Diamond, an American social historian, is a senior research associate with The Polis Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

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