Dynamics of Continuity and Change in Jewish Religious Life

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Simcha Fishbane, Eric Levine
Touro College Press Books
  • Nashville, TN: 
    Academic Studies Press
    , November
     350 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


While the oft-quoted saying “the more things change, the more they stay the same” seems to aptly describe the nature of social life, the reverse may be equally accurate: the more things stay the same, the more they change. Indeed, the recognized institutions of human society, of which religion is a primary example, are both sources of stability and continuity as well as innovation and change. The dynamics of Jewish religious continuity and change are presented in this book through a group of distinguished scholars from the fields of sociology, history, medicine, religion, and Jewish studies examining key cases and themes in religious life, emphasizing illustrations of the maintenance of tradition and facing of trends pressing for transformation. 

This volume demonstrates the importance of case studies and historical, ideological, and philosophical surveys in understanding the actions of individual, organizational or communal actors attempting to create, maintain, or disrupt religious institutions, across geographical boundaries and time frames. This research has the potential not only to positively affect scholarly discussions, but also to generate greater understanding and dialogue among those who study Jewish life and those who work in Jewish organizations and live and function in religious communities. Indeed, the book brings a sophisticated understanding of Jewish law, religious texts, communities and institutions, of the interplay of internal and external social and ideological forces, of the impact of organizations, and of the potential for individuals and groups to shape their religious environments.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Simcha Fishbane is Professor of Jewish Studies at the Touro College Graduate School of Jewish Studies. He has been a rabbi, scholar, and educator serving the Jewish community for many years. Professor Fishbane is the author of numerous books and articles on such diverse topics as Mishnah Berurah, Aruch Hashulchan, Mishnah, Talmud, and Jewish custom and ritual, as well as contemporary Jewish life in North America. He is co-editor of Touro College Press and the Editor in Chief of the journal Studies in Judaism, Humanities and the Social Sciences. He has served Touro College in its overseas campuses in countries such as Russia, Germany, France, and Italy, and also holds the position of Special Assistant to the President of Touro College. 

Eric Levine is Director, Social Work Alumni Engagement, Continuing Education and Financial Resource Development, as well as a faculty member at the Touro College Graduate School of Social Work, where he teaches courses in social welfare policy and ethics. He has held leadership roles for major not for profit organizations with recognized expertise in communal planning and policy, organizational and communal change, and financial resource development. He also taught as an adjunct professor for over twenty years at Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work, teaching courses in ethics, social policy, organizational theory, ethnicity, administrative practice, and community relations. He has authored numerous articles, book chapters and papers, and co-editor of the journal Studies in Judaism, Humanities and the Social Sciences. His current research interests focus on contentious politics, organizations, social movements, and ethics. He co-edited with Fishbane the two-volume work Contention, Controversy and Change: Evolutions and Revolutions in the Jewish Experience, published by Touro College Press in 2016.


Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.