Date of Award

8-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

History

Advisor

Anderson, Paul C

Committee Member

Andrew , Rod

Committee Member

Grant , Roger

Abstract

The first generation of Americans born after the Revolution found themselves in uncharted territory, defining what it meant to be an American in a country that did not yet know itself. The impact was far reaching, as old institutions struggled to adapt to changing mores. In the first decades of the nineteenth century, the city of Charleston, South Carolina was home to the largest Jewish population in America; it too found itself in the midst of the struggle between the old ways and the new. How should Judaism adopt or adapt to the customs of a new country, one dominated by a Protestant majority? Should it at all? This thesis will examine the impact of democracy and Christian influence on Charleston's Jewish community. Most scholarship has focused on the events of the birth of Reform Judaism, noting the importance of new freedoms to Jewish acculturation. But no scholarship has sufficiently examined the motivation behind Reform Judaism. For Such a Time as This analyzes the impact that Christian doctrine played on the specific alteration to Jewish doctrine and how proposed reforms were received not only by the Jewish community in Charleston, but also in America

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