Conservative Judaism represents one of the distinctively American variants of Judaism, not fully orthodox, and yet not verging on secularism as Reform Judaism or an ethno-cultural definition of Judaism does. Centered on the congregation as the central institution of faith, conservative Judaism is an adaptation to American religious life.

This fascinating collection captures the tensions inherent in being Jewish in modern America, where Jews remain a distinctive religious and ethnic group. "Jews in the Center" includes sociological and religious descriptions Conservative congregations, as well as more philosophical discussions of the nature of modern Judaism. The most interesting section of the book consists of Conservative Jews talking about their religious lives. The book repeatedly returns to the theme of commitment: the extent to which practicing Jews must dedicate themselves to their faith, and the cycles they go through at different points in life.

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