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Modern British Jewry$
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Geoffrey Alderman

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207597

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207597.001.0001

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The End of Consensus

The End of Consensus

Chapter:
(p.209) 5 The End of Consensus
Source:
Modern British Jewry
Author(s):

Geoffrey Alderman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207597.003.0005

The underlying theme of the communal politics of British Jewry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was the tension created by the desire of the established, Anglicized ruling elites to maintain their control of communal organization and leadership, and the determination of the newer arrivals that these should ultimately fall under their sway. Oligarchy was confronted by democracy; laxity by orthodoxy; political conservatism by social radicalism; synagogal centralism by the independency of the chevrot; the numerical dominance of London by the jealous independence of provincial Jewries; the institutionalized charity of the Boards of Guardians by the communal self-help of the friendly societies. At some times the drama was played out through explicit issues, such as kashrut. At others, issues of great importance in themselves were none the less used for ulterior purposes: everyone knew what was ultimately at stake, but it suited both sides not to say so. Of these, by far the most fundamental was that of Zionism, the movement having as its goal the national self-determination of the Jewish people, expressed through the re-establishment of the Jewish State.

Keywords:   Jews, British Jewry, Jewish State, Zionism, communal politics

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