American Judaism's Old Dinosaurs Roar Again

After being written off for years as slow and outmoded, Jewish federations and other large institutions are proving themselves indispensable in their response to COVID-19.

October 12, 2020 | Jack Wertheimer
About the author: Jack Wertheimer is professor of American Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Seminary. His latest book, The New American Judaism: How Jews Practice their Religion Today, has been issued recently as a paperback.

Rabbi Mendel Sirota hands a box of Seder kits to volunteers to deliver to members of their congregation on April 7, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images.

This is the first essay in a projected series about the impact of the coronavirus on different sectors of the American Jewish enterprise. This installment focuses on Jewish communal institutions. Future installments will look at Jewish religious life and at how educational institutions are responding.

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