Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Daniel Elazar Papers Index

Jewish Political Thought

The Jewish People as the Classic Diaspora:
A Political Analysis

Daniel J. Elazar

There is little doubt that the Jewish people represents the classic diaspora phenomenon of all time. Indeed, it seems that the term "diaspora" itself originated to describe the Jewish condition.1 The Jewish diaspora has existed for at least 2,600 years and, if certain local traditions are accurate, perhaps even longer. It has existed alongside a functioning Jewish state and, for almost precisely 2,000 years, without any state recognized as politically independent. Moreover, for 1,500 years the Jewish people existed without an effective political center in their national territory, that is to say, exclusively as a diaspora community, so much so that the institutions of the Jewish community in Eretz Israel were themselves modeled after those of the diaspora and the Jews functioned as a diaspora community within their own land.2 Nevertheless, the Jewish people not only preserved their integrity as an ethnoreligious community, but continued to function as a polity throughout their long history through the various conditions of state and diaspora.

Approaching the Jewish Diaspora

Most analyses of diaspora phenomena focus on the diaspora group as a sociological category, whether it is considered an ethnic group, a religious group, or both. Political analyses of this sociological phenomenon will go a step further to examine the impact of this sociological category on the host societies in which the diaspora group finds itself. These are certainly important dimensions of the diaspora experience for Jews as well as for every other group. Jewish self-preservation through religious and cultural differentiation and endogamy are without doubt worthy of examination from a sociological perspective. For example, the way in which the Jews as a diaspora community created a way of life of their own, involving a calendar of daily specificity which established a separate rhythm of Jewish life, setting them apart from their neighbors, is worthy of the closest study. In a parallel way, it is possible to study the nature of Jewish exclusion from Christian and Muslim societies through a combination of anti-Jewish attitudes and measures on the one hand, and the mutually acceptable principle that the Jews were a nation in exile and hence deserving of corporate autonomy, on the other.

A focus on either of these, however, would be essentially historical, since both have undergone great changes in the modern epoch and to the extent that they survive at all, survive only as remnants in the postmodern epoch. Thus, while halakhah (Jewish law) still specifies a completely separate rhythm of life for Jews, no more than five percent of Jews in the diaspora today live so fully in accordance with that rhythm that they separate themselves from the society around them, and perhaps another 10 percent live sufficiently according to that rhythm to be considered fully part of it. Other Jews are touched by that rhythm to varying degrees depending on the extent of their connection to Jewish life. In every case it is a voluntary matter since with the rise of the modern nation-state, the notion of the Jews as a separate nation in exile was abandoned, first by the state builders and then by most diaspora Jews as they accepted the terms of emancipation.3 Similarly, the anti-Jewish attitudes of Christians and Muslims which developed in an age when religion was at the center of life, were transformed into modern anti-Semitism.4 The latter remains a factor in shaping the Jewish diaspora, certainly one that is high in the consciousness of Jews everywhere. It substantially diminished as an active force in the aftermath of the Holocaust and is only now beginning to reappear in certain circles as a legitimate form of expression.

It would be more useful to examine the role of the Jews as an ethnoreligious community within the societies of which they are a part. In most of these societies they play the role of a catalytic minority, making a contribution far in excess of their percentage of the total population, in a variety of fields, especially those at the cutting edge of social activity.5

One marked characteristic of the Jews as a group in their relationship with the rest of the world is their strong tendency to gravitate to the center of whatever universal communications network exists at any particular time and place. According to the best opinion of the historians of the ancient world the first Jews, symbolized by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were already involved as nomads in the trading patterns of the Fertile Crescent. Their settlement in Canaan put them at the very center of that network with its two anchors in Egypt and Mesopotamia.6 Subsequent generations of Jews have continued that tradition. Thus Jews have always gravitated to the capital cities of the world, and have been able to make their influence, as individuals and as a group, felt disproportionately. Not only that, Jews have always been involved in communication-related enterprises; whether communicating religious ideas, as in their earliest history -- ultimately to half of mankind -- or in radio, motion pictures, and television in the twentieth century, communicating new lifestyles worldwide.

This phenomenon has left the Jews exposed as well as influential, and Jews have paid the price for that exposure. In other words, Jews have played a very dangerous game as a small group of extraordinary importance and centrality in world affairs. As such, they have generated both strong positive and negative images and expectations, which have led to periodic efforts to cultivate them and equally frequent attacks upon them -- outbreaks of persecution which have at the very least culminated in expulsion and at the worst, in massacres and the Holocaust.

As a result of these pushes and pulls, the Jewish diaspora is different from other diasporas except, perhaps, the Gypsies, because it has been a diaspora in constant movement.

The conventional view of Jewish history is that of shifting centers of Jewish life, so that the Jews themselves have the self-image of a people on the move. These constant migrations were, on the one hand, disrupting, but, on the other, they offered the Jews as a group opportunities to renew life and to adapt to new conditions. In other words, they served the same purpose as Frederick Jackson Turner and his school have suggested that the land frontier served in the history of the United States -- enabling life repeatedly to begin anew, willy-nilly if not by choice (and it was a mixture of both, since Jews often chose to migrate to new areas and were not simply forced to do so), which offered new opportunities for adaptation and change.7

At the same time, the constant migrations generated a religious culture based upon time rather than space, upon the shared expressions of a common temporal rhythm rather than rootedness in a common land.8 Every civilization must somehow combine the spatial and the temporal; it must be located geohistorically. Particularly in premodern times, most emphasized the spatial over the temporal, existing and functioning because of deep-rootedness to a particular land and relatively unaware of the changes wrought by time. The accelerated pace of change since the opening of the modern epoch, and even somewhat before, has made people aware of time and its passage in ways that did not obtain earlier.9 For most, however, the emphasis on space over time has remained, transformed by the rise of the modern state with its emphasis on territoriality and sovereignty within particular territories as the guiding principle in the organization of civilization.

The Jews remained the anomaly in all this. Not having a functioning territorial state of their own and not even being concentrated in a particular territory, the Jews emphasized the temporal and organized time in the service of Jewish survival and self-expression. Halakhah (literally, the way) emphasizes the organization of time, the rhythm of its passage and the obligations of Jews to sanctify those rhythms -- in daily prayers and study, the weekly Sabbath, and through holy days, festivals, and celebrations at representative seasons.

On the other hand, the Jews were not unconcerned about space -- that would have made them unidimensional. The Land of Israel remained a vitally important space for them, one to which they expected to be restored at the right time and in which they sought to maintain organized Jewish life at all times, through regular reinforcements from the diaspora even when things were at their worst.10 Ultimately, modern Jews took matters into their own hands rather than wait for the restoration only in messianic times. Through the Zionist movement they reestablished first an autonomous Jewish community and then a Jewish state in the Land.11

Despite the success of Zionism, for two-thirds of world Jewry the State of Israel still remains "over there." They are devoted to it, but do not seek to make it the state of their citizenship or residence. So, just as moderns transformed the premodern commitment to space over time into a more modern commitment through the modern state system so did modern Jews or, more accurately, postmodern Jews, transform the particular Jewish relationship between time and space formed in premodern times into a more contemporary expression of the same.

This new relationship is at the heart of the new forms of Jewish diaspora political expression vis-a-vis the external world. Working on behalf of Israel has become a principal expression of Jewishness in the postmodern epoch whose secular character has served to diminish further the religious dimension of Jewish identification.12 The existence of Israel has stimulated a sense of political efficacy among diaspora Jews as well as among those in the Jewish state, which not only manifests itself in Jewish lobbies for Israel but also in Jewish political self-assertion in other matters which Jews perceive as affecting the Jewish people as a group.

The definition of what Jews see as affecting them as a group can also be examined extensively. In the latter half of the modern epoch, Jewish self-interest came to be considered almost totally coincident with liberalism and even left-liberalism, since the liberals and the left were the principal advocates of Jewish emancipation while the conservatives and the right, in their support for the ancien regime, implicitly if not explicitly denied Jews full entry into the larger society.13 Certainly by the latter half of the nineteenth century the vast majority of all Jews, traditional or modern, accepted the liberal outlook if only because they had no other choice. This convergence of interest was so great that Jews came to believe that it had always been so, whereas, in fact, in premodern times the interests of diaspora Jews converged at least as frequently -- and usually more -- with the conservatives and guardians of the status quo as with those seeking change, often at Jewish expense.

This overwhelming Jewish identification with liberalism had a latent functional utility in providing a unifying ideology for Jews at a time when traditional Jewish society was breaking down and Jews were losing the traditional bonds which had united them. The reestablishment of the Jewish state and the shifting goals of left-liberalism have led to the gradual breakdown of that automatic convergence, at the same time as the Jews found another rallying point around which to coalesce. Today, faithfulness to liberalism is no longer a requisite for the maintenance of common Jewish ties in the diaspora. Israel now serves that purpose, even for those who may be critical of the policies of a particular Israeli government.

Viewing the Jewish People as a Polity

These lines of analysis can be pursued and deserve to be. The remainder of this chapter, however, will focus upon the Jewish people as a polity, especially as seen from the inside.

The suggestion that it is possible to talk about a world Jewish polity is based upon a combination of factors. In part, it rests upon the persistence of the sense of common fate among Jews all over the world, the sense of which was reactivated as a result of the events of this century. This sense has led to concrete efforts to work together to influence the shape of that fate wherever Jews have settled, particularly whenever they have required the assistance of their brethren. This, in turn, has led to the development of institutionalized frameworks for cooperation in a variety of contexts, in our times increasingly revolving around the State of Israel for self-evident reasons.

Finally, the entire effort has acquired a certain legitimacy in the eyes of Jews and non-Jews alike as a result of the emerging redefinition of what constitutes the proper context for political linkage and action, namely, the recognition--in the Western world, at least -- that there are other forms of political relationship than those embraced within the nation-state, that polity is a far more complex condition than statehood, and that it can involve multiple relationships, not all of which are territorially based. In many respects, this represents a rediscovery of what had been an accepted phenomenon in the Western world until the modern era.

In short, we are beginning to recognize that all polities are not states. The Greeks, as usual, had a word for it. The Hellenistic world coined the term politeuma to describe phenomena such as the worldwide Jewish polity of that age in which Jews simultaneously maintained strong political links, including citizenship, with their respective territorial polities, the Hellenistic cities, and with one another across lands and seas.

A Historical Survey

Jewish tradition has it that the Jews were born as a diaspora people, although a central aspect of their birth was identification with the land which became known to them as Eretz Israel -- the Land of Israel. According to the Bible, the first Jew was Abraham, son of Terah, who was born in Ur of the Chaldeans, located in southern Mesopotamia near the Persian Gulf, and migrated with his family to Haran, now in northern Syria. On God's instructions, Abraham migrated to the land of Canaan (now Israel) which he subsequently left briefly because of a famine, but to which he soon returned.

Of Abraham's immediate descendants, only his son Isaac never left Canaan. His grandson Jacob (renamed Israel) sojourned for 20 years in Aram (now Syria) as a young man, returned to the land, and then spent his final days in Egypt. Abraham's great-grandson, Joseph, was forcibly taken to Egypt but remained there, later bringing his whole family which expanded from an extended family into a league of tribes while in Egypt.

The B'nai Israel (Children of Israel or Jacob) left Egypt as a people in a dramatic exodus led by a charismatic figure, Moses. In the course of the immediate exodus, Moses, as God's spokesman, established the basis for citizenship, promulgated a common law for the tribes immediately following the passage through the waters, and organized a full-blown polity at the foot of Sinai within seven weeks, through a national covenant and the introduction of a more regularized judicial structure and political organization.14 Whether the traditional account is historically accurate is far less important than what that account teaches us about the origins of the Jewish people and how it has shaped the Jews' self-perception over at least three and perhaps closer to four millennia. As a people who perceives itself to have been born in exile, as it were, diaspora is not an abnormal condition even if it is not a desired one. The people's political, social, and religious institutions were, from the first, organized so that they were portable and did not need to be attached to the national soil in order to function.

No doubt as a consequence of these experiences, the basic form of Jewish organization was designed to accommodate migration as well as concentration in a national state. Since the beginning of political science, all political theory has converged on one or another of three basic forms of political founding, organization, and development: hierarchical, organic, and covenantal.15 Hierarchical forms, which usually are the result of some initial conquest leading to the establishment of a political order, require a high concentration of power within a power pyramid, a more or less orderly structure, with a clear chain of command. Hierarchical forms are particularly useful for the governance of peoples concentrated within a single structure and clearly subject to the authority of those who dominate it. This kind of government went against the grain of Jewish political culture from earliest times, even when the Jews were concentrated in one land. Once they were scattered, and without any state whatsoever, this form of political organization was utterly impractical.

The organic form presumes a gradual and continuous development of political institutions serving a population rooted in one place, into a political system which can continue to function as long as the population is so rooted, but which once detached no longer has the wherewithal to survive. Obviously for the Jews this was equally impractical.

The covenantal form of political organization emerges out of agreements among equals, or at least equals for the purposes of the agreement, to form partnerships for purposes of political organization. It does not presuppose a territory, a clear chain of command, or organic development in a particular place. On the contrary, it is flexible in form, it can be territorial or aterritorial as the case may be, and it is capable of binding people who cannot be bound by force or by custom because they are not bound to a particular territory.

The Jewish people opted for the covenantal form no later than the exodus from Egypt and so organized themselves during their formative generation in the desert. Granted, the tribes themselves had an organic dimension in the sense that the members of each claimed to be descended from a common ancestor. In that sense, the Jewish people has always tried to combine kinship and consent, the organic with the covenantal dimension, to secure its unity.16 As a result, the Jews have been able to function as an ethnic group based upon primordial ties of kinship, a religious group based upon acceptance of the responsibilities of the Jewish religion, and a polity which rests upon the combination of both kinship and consent.

Over the centuries the Jews have refined this form of polity building. After the founding covenant at Sinai, the Israelite tribes renewed that covenant in the plains of Moab just before entering the land and then renewed it again at Shekhem under Joshua at the time of the conquest of Canaan.17 When Israel changed its regime to add a king to the tribal federation, the first strictly national-political covenant was made between the tribes and David.18 Much later, after David's kingdom had been divided and the northern kingdom conquered by Assyria, the regime was reconstituted under King Hezekiah through another covenant.19 When the exiles returned from Babylonia after the first diaspora, they covenanted once again to reestablish the state of Judea within the framework of the Persian Empire.20 Finally, in the last reconstitution of the Jewish polity within the Land of Israel until our own times, Simon the Hasmonean reconstituted an independent Jewish state through a covenant with the representatives of the people and the other institutions of the community.21

Subsequent to the exile, when it was no longer possible to use covenants in state building, they were transformed into instruments for community building with any ten men able to constitute themselves as a community and as a court of law within the context of the Torah through an appropriate covenant.22 Finally, in our own times the reestablishment of the State of Israel rested on a series of covenants, culminating in the Declaration of Independence, referred to in Hebrew as the "Scroll of Independence," which was accepted, witnessed, and signed by a wall-to-wall coalition of the Jewish community in Eretz Israel at the time as at least a quasi-covenantal document, and has been so treated by the courts.23

Beyond the fact of communal survival, consent has remained the essential basis for the shaping of the Jewish polity. Jews in different localities consented (and consent) together to form congregations and communities -- the terms are often used synonymously.24 They did (and do) this formally through articles of agreement, charters, covenants, and constitutions. The traditional Sephardi term for such articles of congregational-communal agreement, askamot (articles of agreement), conveys this meaning exactly. The local communities were (and are) then bound by further consensual arrangements, ranging from formal federations to the tacit recognition of a particular halakhic authority, shtadlan, or supralocal body as authoritative.25 When conditions were propitious, the de facto confederation of Jewish communities extended to wherever Jews lived. When this level of political existence was impossible, the binding force of Jewish law served to keep the federal bonds from being severed.

Thus, over the course of many centuries a very distinctive kind of polity has developed as the organized expression of Jewish communal life. While it has undergone many permutations and adaptations, an unbroken thread of institutions and ideas has run through the entire course of Jewish political life to give the Jewish people meaningful continuity.

It is important to emphasize this covenantal device, because of the way in which it made possible organized Jewish life in the diaspora beyond the merely religious sphere. Covenanting was only one of a range of complementary devices developed by the Jewish people to maintain their collective integrity even in the diaspora, with or without a center in the Land of Israel. In premodern times, when the Jewish community was all-embracing, whether in the state or the diaspora, these devices formed a framework within which all or virtually all Jews functioned. After the autonomous Jewish community had given way to the integration of individual Jews into the states in which they lived, this framework had to be readapted to a voluntaristic situation in which it provided a core, or magnet, around which those Jews who wished to could coalesce -- rather than a framework embracing Jews whether they wanted to be included or not.26 But the basic instruments have survived the transition and continue to offer the opportunity to do so under these new circumstances.

In sum, the Jewish people has the distinction of being the longest-lasting and most widespread "organization" in the history of the world. Its closest rival to that title is the Catholic church. Curiously -- and perhaps significantly -- the two are organized on radically opposed principles. The Catholic church is built on hierarchical principles from first to last and gains its survival power by their careful and intelligent manipulation.27 The Jewish people is organized on covenantal or federal (from the Latin foedus, i.e., covenant) principles from first to last and enhances its survival power by applying them almost instinctively in changing situations. The contrasting characteristics of these two modes of organization are intrinsically worthy of political and social investigation. So, too, is the role of the Jewish polity in the development and extension of federal principles, institutions, and processes.28

Heterogeneity of the Jewish Diaspora

Sometime in the thirteenth century B.C.E. the Israelite tribes crossed the Jordan into Canaan and began an unbroken period in what was renamed Eretz Israel. For seven and a half centuries the Jews remained concentrated in their land under independent governments of their own. This is the classic period of Jewish history as described in the Bible. During that period there may have been temporary settlements of Jews outside of the country and there are traditions of permanent Jewish settlements in such places as Yemen, although there is no corroborative evidence of this. But, in fact, ninety-nine percent of the Jewish people were located in the Land of Israel.

In 721-22 B.C.E. the northern kingdom, comprising 10 of the 12 original tribes, was conquered by Assyria and a major if undetermined portion of its population exiled to other parts of the Assyrian Empire, apparently in northern Mesopotamia. Popular legend has it that these exiles disappeared by assimilating into the local populations but there are traditions among the Jews of northern Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan that they are descended from those exiles. Some historians hypothesize that at least a segment later merged with the subsequent infusions of the Jews from Judea who were exiled from their country after the conquest of the southern kingdom by the neo-Babylonians in the first decades of the sixth century B.C.E.29

Whether this was the first diaspora or not, it is clear that the recognized Jewish diaspora begins with the Babylonian captivity. It was then that organized communities of Jewish exiles were established in Babylonia and Egypt. They quickly developed institutions to accommodate their corporate needs in the diaspora, including the Bet Knesset which has come to be known to us in its Greek translation as the synagogue and which, in fact, means house of assembly, a kind of town hall, where Jews could undertake all their public functions, especially governance, study, and worship. Indeed the Hebrew term knesset (assembly) comes from the Aramaic kanishta which in turn is a translation of edah, the original Hebrew term describing the Jewish polity, the assembly or congregation of the entire people. Hence, the bet knesset was a miniature version of that larger assembly -- one which could be established anywhere.30 Thus the framework established over 2,500 years ago has remained the basic framework for diaspora Jewish organization ever since.

It should be noted that the bet knesset is a product of the Babylonian exile; Jews who left Eretz Israel for Egypt tried to develop another framework around a temple constructed as a surrogate for that in Jerusalem, a system which required territorial permanence and did not gain acceptance outside of Egypt.31 Even there it was replaced by the Babylonian system some 400 years later, precisely because of the portability of the bet knesset and the possibility of establishing synagogues wherever ten Jewish men gathered.

Seventy years after the destruction of Jerusalem in 537 B.C.E., Cyrus the Great conquered the neo-Babylonian Empire and, following his policy of the conciliation of minority peoples through the granting of cultural autonomy, allowed the Jews to return to Judea to rebuild their Temple. In fact, only a relatively small number of Jews chose to do so and while they and subsequent migrations, culminating in the great reconstitution of Ezra and Nehemiah approximately a century later, did succeed in reestablishing Eretz Israel as the center of Jewish life, a large diaspora community remained in Babylonia and, indeed, under Persian rule, spread throughout the Persian Empire. It was paralleled by a somewhat smaller but still significant diaspora in Egypt which spread into other parts of northern Africa, Cyprus, and Asia Minor.

For the next millennium the Jewish people were organized in a point-counterpoint arrangement. The Jewish concentration in the Land claimed and usually exercised hegemony within the Jewish polity, but with a substantial population, perhaps consistently a majority, scattered in diaspora communities throughout the civilized world at that time. Until its destruction in 70 C.E., the Temple in Jerusalem served as the focal point for both, with the Temple tax uniting Jews in the land and outside of it.

The principal institutions of the edah -- the Jewish people as a whole -- were located on the Temple Mount. New institutional arrangements were developed to provide representation for diaspora Jewry in those institutions, the first of which was known as the Anshei Knesset Hagedolah (men of the great assembly) which later gave way to a successor institution, the Sanhedrin, which is a corruption of the Hebrew corruption of the Greek term for assembly. But given the problems of transportation and communication in that period, there were difficulties in providing diaspora Jews continuous access and representation in those common institutions.32

In the diaspora itself two patterns developed, each a response to the particular host civilization in which Jews found themselves. In most of western Asia, where the Persians and their successors ruled, the Jews tended to be concentrated in particular areas and could organize their public life on a quasi-territorial basis, with regional as well as local institutions. Out of this evolved the "Babylonian" Jewish community, which was concentrated in what is today the heartland of Mesopotamia. By the second century C.E. it had an extensive political structure headed by a resh galuta (exilarch) whose powers were those of a protected king -- for Jews a constitutional monarch who was recognized as being a descendant of the House of David. The resh galuta shared his powers with two great yeshivot (another Hebrew term for assembly) which had custody of the teaching and interpretation of the Torah. Together these institutions governed the collectivity of local Jewish communities within the empire.33 This framework persisted until the eleventh century, even after the seventh-century Arab conquest which transformed the language, culture, and religion of western Asia. Until the fifth century C.E., it was at least formally subordinate to the equivalent polity in Eretz Israel which had a similar structure, but after the elimination of that polity the resh galuta and the yeshivot extended their control over virtually the entire Jewish world.

This was facilitated by the Arab conquests of the seventh and eighth centuries that brought over 95 percent of all Jews under the rule of the Muslim caliphate, which empowered the resh galuta and the yeshivot to represent the Jewish community as their predecessors had. It was only with the breakup of the original Muslim empire and the development of independent successor states that the Jews lost this common, well-nigh worldwide diaspora structure.34

Meanwhile, in the Mediterranean world, where Hellenistic civilization held sway and first the Greek and then the Roman empires provided a common political structure, the Jews were concentrated in cities. (The exception here was Egypt, which also had a wider territorial concentration for several centuries). There they formed a part of the polis organization developed for each city as part of its Hellenization after the Alexandrian conquests of the fourth century B.C.E.

It was in those cities that Jews formed autonomous communities within each polis, for which the Greek term politeuma was invented. Each of the politeumata represented a separate structure with connections to Jerusalem but with no formal linkages between one another. Thus the Jewish communities in the Hellenistic and Roman worlds were far more fragmented. The institutions within each politeuma were based on Jewish models influenced by Greek practices and often bearing Greek names, but each was autonomous even when the Jews had citizenship within the polis itself.35 Most of these politeumata were destroyed during the uprising of the Hellenistic diaspora against the Romans in the years 115-117 C.E. The communities reconstituted subsequent to that event had more limited rights. It was only after the Arab conquest that regional organizations of communities were established in those countries linked to the resh galuta and yeshivot in Babylonia, which was also the seat of the caliphate.

Both forms of diaspora organization were linked to Jerusalem when an independent Jewish state was reborn in the middle of the second century B.C.E. That state survived for less than a century, then went through a period of upheavals for the next 200 years until the failure of the Bar Kokhba rebellion (132-135 C.E.) led the Jews to abandon major efforts to rebel against Rome and rather reconstitute themselves along the model of the diaspora communities within their own land. The nesiut (patriarchate) and Sanhedrin which formed the new structure of the community of Eretz Israel also functioned as prima inter parus in the governance and religious leadership of the Jewish people, until those institutions were abolished in the middle of the fifth century, after which Jewish communal organization in Eretz Israel became even more diaspora-like in character, undergoing changes under different rulers from then until the reestablishment of the Jewish state in 1948 some 1,500 years later.36

Thus the diaspora became the moving force in Jewish life. For 600 years the Babylonian center predominated. In the eleventh century there was increased Jewish migration to both southern and northern Europe which led to the transfer of power to the Jewish centers in Spain and, to a lesser extent, northern France and the Rhineland. The Iberian Peninsula and west central Europe remained the centers of Jewish life until the fifteenth century, when expulsions on the one hand, and attractive offers of refuge on the other, led the Jews from both centers to move back eastward: Iberian Jewry forming new concentrations in the Ottoman Empire, particularly in the Balkans, and central European Jewry concentrating in Poland. These two regions remained the principal centers of Jewish life until the nineteenth century.37

At first, Spanish Jewry -- the Sephardim -- followed the Babylonian pattern of regional organization, with local communities subordinate to the regional leadership. Under Christian rule, the local communities rose to predominance and the regional organization was limited to confederal arrangements. That pattern was later preserved in the Ottoman Empire where every congregation was autonomous and even within the same city congregations were often no more than confederated. The Jews of west central Europe -- the Ashkenazim -- developed local autonomy from the first, with loose leagues or confederations of communities providing whatever unification there was. But once they moved eastward to Poland they formed regional structures culminating in the Vaad Arba Aratzot (Council of the Four Lands), a fully-articulated federation of the Jewish communities of Poland, and its parallels in Lithuania, Bohemia, and Moravia.

Worldwide, the Jewish people lost any common political structure after the middle of the eleventh century but remained tied together by a common constitutional-legal system (the halakhah), which was kept dynamic by a system of rabbinic decision-making that was communicated to Jews wherever they happened to be through an elaborate network of responsa -- formal written questions posed to leading Jewish legal authorities which produced formal written responses that came to constitute a body of case law. This was possible because 1,500 years earlier, at the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, the Jews had developed a legal system parallel to their political structure which translated the original constitutional materials of the Torah into an elaborate edifice designed to enable every Jew to conduct his entire life within the framework of Jewish law, no matter where he happened to reside.38

The legal system that emerged became, in effect, a portable state. The halakhah's avowed purpose was to transform each individual Jew into a person concerned with holiness. Hence it was not designed with a political purpose in the usual sense; yet this very concern for individual and collective holiness in a larger sense became a political end which served to provide a basis for the unity of Jewry, even in exile, as long as there was a general commitment to this end or at the very least to living under Jewish law as distinct from any other law.

While it is clear that not every Jew had the same commitment to holiness as an ultimate end, or to the particular path to holiness developed by the halakhah, in the centuries immediately following the destruction of the Temple this legal system gained normative status among Jews so that even those who were not highly motivated by its ultimate goals but who wanted to stay within the framework of the Jewish community felt the necessity to conform. Because of its attention to minute detail, every aspect of life, public and private, civil and criminal, religious and "secular" (a category which did not exist within the Jewish vocabulary), the halakhah was able to become all-embracing. The political structures developed by the Jews to conduct their public affairs were authorized by the halakhah and rooted in it, and a major task of Jewish communities was to enforce halakhic regulations.

The opening of the modern epoch in the middle of the seventeenth century slowly eroded this comprehensive framework, in waves rolling from west to east. Jewish autonomy was the first casualty in western Europe as the new nation-states dismantled medieval corporatism, a system which had protected Jewish communal separatism. At first, Jews became people without civic status in the new states and without the possibility of maintaining their own states within the state. This led them to demand emancipation and citizenship as individuals, which they ultimately gained after a struggle sometimes taking two centuries.39 Finally, in the nineteenth century, the elimination of Jewish autonomy and then emancipation moved eastward to engulf the major concentrations of Jews in eastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, although it was not until the twentieth century that emancipation was completed in either region.40

While these changes were taking shape, a two-pronged demographic shift of great importance began. In the first place, the live birth and survival rate among Jews rose rapidly, causing the number of Jews in the world to soar. In the second, the Jews began to migrate at an accelerating pace to the lands on the Western world's great frontier: the Western hemisphere, southern Africa, and Australia in particular, but also in smaller numbers to East Asia, thus initiating a shift in the balance of Jewish settlement in the world.41

Medieval corporatism never gained a foothold in the New World and the Jews who migrated to those lands entered into their host societies as individuals.42 Hence all Jewish life was voluntary in character from the first.

While the majority of Jews readily abandoned communal separatism for the advantages of modern society, only a minority were ready to give up fully their Jewish ties in return. Most wanted to find some way to remain within the Jewish fold even while participating as individuals in the civil societies in which they found themselves or to which they migrated. Hence they were faced with the task of adapting Jewish institutions to a new kind of diaspora existence.

Once again the great flexibility of covenantal institutions proved itself. The Jews transformed their kehillot (communities) into voluntary structures. In the Western world, where pluralism was tolerated principally in the religious sphere, the Jews transformed the bet knesset into the synagogue as we know it, whose manifest purposes were avowedly religious and whose central functions revolved around public worship, but which was able to embrace within it the various ethnic, social, educational, and welfare functions which the Jewish community sought to preserve, principally on a supplementary basis.

In eastern Europe, where modernization frequently meant secularization, new forms of Jewish association developed, primarily cultural and political, utilizing similar principles and, with the exception of the public worship dimension which was absent from them, devoted to the same ethnic, social, educational, and welfare purposes, only on a more extensive basis because Jews remained nationally separate in that part of the world. By and large, Jews in the Arab world followed the Western pattern when they began to modernize, but within a framework in which their separate ethnic identity was clearly recognized by one and all, and in which they preserved a certain legal authority over the community members by virtue of their continued control of personal status laws involving marriage, divorce, and inheritance.43

Nevertheless, the new voluntarism did make it very difficult, if not impossible, to provide a comprehensive framework for the maintenance of Jewish culture and civilization. It rapidly became clear that the open society would lead to the assimilation of many of the most talented members of the Jewish community who saw greater opportunities outside of the Jewish fold. It was in response to this as well as to anti-Semitism that the Jewish national movement developed, which made as its goal the restoration of Jewish statehood in Eretz Israel. This movement, known as Zionism, was initially organized on the same covenantal principles as every other such Jewish endeavor, developing first through local societies and then, in a massive leap forward represented by the First Zionist Congress in 1897, through the World Zionist Organization established at that congress. In 50 years the WZO succeeded in bringing about the establishment of a Jewish state.44

Zionism from the first embodied two conflicting goals. There were those who were Zionists because, while they wanted the Jewish people to survive, they wanted them to become normalized like other nations. They believed that if the Jewish people or some substantial segment of them were to return to their own land, they could live like the French, the Italians, the Czechs, the Poles, etc. The other trend in the Zionist movement regarded Zionism as a means of restoring the vitality of Jewish civilization, which would retain its uniqueness but be better able to survive under modern conditions by being rooted in a land and state where Jews formed a majority.

The first approach more or less negated the continued existence of a diaspora once a Jewish state was established. According to it, those Jews who wanted to remain Jews would settle in the state where they would live increasingly normalized lives, interacting with the rest of the world as nationals of any state interact with nationals of any other. The rest of the Jews would assimilate as individuals into their countries of residence, no longer needing to preserve their Jewishness. Many of those who embraced the second view also wished to negate the diaspora in the sense that they wanted all Jews to settle in Israel. But they did not see diaspora existence as impossible per se. Rather, the Jewish state could become the focal point of the renewed Jewish people, whether living in the state or in the diaspora.45

Reality forced the issue. The state was established; even after an initial mass migration of Jews from Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia, only about 20 percent of the Jewish people were concentrated within it (the figure is now one-third). Moreover, despite assimilatory tendencies, the great bulk of the Jews outside the state showed every inclination of wanting to remain Jews. Consequently, a new interplay between state and diaspora began to emerge. In this, the second generation since the establishment of the state, it is still evolving.46

The Contemporary Situation

World War II marked the culmination of all the trends and tendencies of the modern era and the end of the era itself for all mankind. (The dates 1945-1948 encompass the benchmark of the transition from the modern to the postmodern era.) For the Jewish people, the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel provided the decisive events that marked the crossing into the postmodern world. In the process, the focus of Jewish life shifted and virtually every organized Jewish community was reconstituted in some way.

Central to the reconstitution was the reestablishment of a Jewish commonwealth in Israel. The restoration of a politically independent Jewish state created a new focus of Jewish energy and concern precisely at the moment when the older foci had almost ceased to attract a majority of Jews. As the 1967 and subsequent crises demonstrated decisively, Israel was not simply another Jewish community in the constellation but the center of the world for Jews.

The Jewry that greeted the new state was no longer an expanding one which was gaining population even in the face of the attrition of intermarriage and assimilation. On the contrary, it was a decimated one (even worse, for decimated means the loss of one in ten, whereas the Jews lost one in three); a Jewry whose very physical survival had been in grave jeopardy and whose rate of loss from defections came close to equaling its birth-rate. Moreover, the traditional strongholds of Jewish communal life in Europe (which were also areas with a high Jewish reproduction rate) were those that had been wiped out.

At the end of the 1940s, the centers of Jewish life had shifted decisively away from Europe to Israel and North America. By then, continental Europe as a whole ranked behind Latin America, North Africa, and Great Britain as a force in Jewish life. In fact, its Jews were almost entirely dependent upon financial and technical assistance from the United States and Israel. Except for those in the Muslim countries that were soon virtually to disappear, the major functioning Jewish communities had all become sufficiently large to be significant factors on the Jewish scene only within the previous two generations. Indeed, the shapers of those communities were still alive, and in many cases were still the actual community leaders. The Jewish world had been thrown back willy-nilly to a pioneering stage.

This new epoch is still in its early years, into its second generation; hence its character is still in its formative stages. Nevertheless, with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 the Jewish polity began a constitutional change of revolutionary proportions, inaugurating a new epoch in Jewish constitutional history. For the first time in almost two millennia, the majority of the Jewish people were presented with the opportunity to attain citizenship in their own state. Indeed, Israel's very first law (Hok Hashevut -- the Law of Return) specified that citizenship would be granted to any Jew-qua-Jew wishing to live within the country. In fact, the Law of Return is more complex than that. In an effort to show the Nazis that the Jewish people survived after all, the Knesset adopted many of the standards for defining who is a Jew included in the Nuremburg laws. At the same time, to accommodate Jewish tradition, the law provides for non-Jews to be converted to Judaism, presumably in a halakhic manner, although that is not exactly specified in the law, in order to qualify. Finally, the Israel Supreme Court has held (the Brother Daniel case is the leading decision) that a person will not be recognized as a Jew if he has converted or embraced another religion, although that is equivocal from a halakhic point of view. Jewish sensibilities including the sensibilities of traditional Jews have always accepted that limitation.

The reestablishment of a Jewish state has restored a sense of political involvement among Jews and shaped a new institutional framework within which the business of the Jewish people is conducted.

The virtual disappearance of the remaining legal or even social or cultural barriers to individual free choice in all but a handful of countries has made free association the dominant characteristic of Jewish life in the postmodern era. Consequently, the first task of each Jewish community has been to learn to deal with the particular local manifestation of this freedom.

The new voluntarism extends itself into the internal life of the Jewish community as well, generating pluralism even in previously free but relatively homogeneous community structures. This pluralism is increased by the breakdown of the traditional reasons for being Jewish and the rise of new incentives for Jewish association. At the same time, the possibilities for organizing a pluralistic Jewish community have also been enhanced by these new incentives. What has emerged is a matrix of institutions and individuals linked through a unique communications network; a set of interacting institutions which, while preserving their own structural integrity and filling their own functional roles, are informed by shared patterns of culture, activated by a shared system of organization, and governed by shared leadership cadres.

The character of the matrix which has emerged and its communications network varies from community to community. In some communities, the network is connected through a common center which serves as the major (but rarely, if ever, the exclusive) channel for communication. In others, the network forms a matrix without any center, with the lines of communication crisscrossing in all directions. In all cases, the boundaries of the community are revealed only when the pattern of the network is uncovered and this in turn happens only when both of its components are revealed--namely, its institutions and organizations with their respective roles and the way in which communications are passed between them.

The pattern itself is inevitably a dynamic one. That is to say, there is rarely a fixed division of authority and influence but, rather, one that varies from time to time and usually from issue to issue, with different elements in the matrix taking on different "loads" at different times and relative to different issues. Since the community is a voluntary one, persuasion rather than compulsion, influence rather than power, are the only tools available for making and executing policies. This, too, works to strengthen its character as a communications network since the character, quality, and relevance of what is communicated and the way in which it is communicated frequently determine the extent of the authority and influence of the parties.

The structure of the contemporary Jewish polity is that of a network of single and multipurpose functional authorities, no single one of which encompasses the entire gamut of Jewish political interests, although several have attempted to do so in specific areas:

  1. "national institutions" -- e.g., Jewish Agency, World Zionist Organization, Jewish National Fund;
  2. multicountry associations -- e.g., ORT, World Jewish Congress;
  3. educational institutions defined as under the auspices of the entire Jewish people -- e.g., the universities in Israel;
  4. organizations under more specific local sponsorship whose defined sphere of activity is multicountry -- e.g., the Joint Distribution Committee.
Another way of grouping the multicountry associations is by their principal goals. Here are the broad categories, with prominent examples for each.

Principal Goal Characteristics Organization
Political - general purpose World Zionist Organization (WZO) World Jewish Congress (WJC)
Political - special purpose World Conference of Soviet Jewry
Distributive Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany
Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture
Services - operational World ORT Union
Services - coordinating European Council of Jewish Communities
Religious World Union for Progressive Judaism
World Council of Synagogues
Agudat Israel World Organization
Association - fraternal B'nai B'rith International Council
Association - special interest World Sephardi Federation
World Union of Jewish Students

The political associations listed here as "general" are those concerned with the status of the Jewish people as a whole; in this they are both outer-directed to the non-Jewish world and inner-directed to the Jewish community. Although defacto the Israeli government can largely preempt political activity on the world scene if it chooses (other Jewish bodies normally acquiesce if Israel wants to do so), it has not explicitly claimed to act as the diplomatic agent for the Jewish people beyond its borders. This leaves some room for diplomatic activity by the Jewish nongovernmental organizations, especially where Israel is not represented or is particularly limited in its access.47

Jewish Communities in the New Epoch

Jews are known to reside in 135 countries, 97 of which have been permanent organized communities.48 At least three and perhaps as many as twelve others are remnant communities where a handful of Jews have custody of the few institutions that have survived in the wake of the emigration of the majority of the Jewish population. Fourteen more are transient communities where American or Israeli Jews temporarily stationed in some Asian or African country create such basic Jewish institutions (e.g., religious services, schools) as they need. Only 21 countries with known Jewish residents have no organized Jewish life. Some 94 percent of all Jews reside in ten countries. In 1993, the largest communities were:

  1. United States - 5.6 million
  2. Israel - 4.2 million
  3. France - 530,000
  4. Russia - 415,000
  5. Canada - 365,000
  6. Ukraine - 276,000
  7. United Kingdom - 298,000
  8. Argentina - 211,000
  9. Brazil - 100,000
  10. South Africa - 100,000
  11. Australia - 90,000

In the late 1940s and the 1950s the reconstruction and the reconstitution of existing communities, and the founding of new ones, were the order of the day throughout the Jewish world. The Jewish communities of continental Europe all underwent periods of reconstruction or reconstitution in the wake of wartime losses, changes in the formal status of religious communities in their host countries, emigration to Israel, internal European migrations, and the introduction of new, especially Communist regimes. Those communities in Muslim countries were transformed in response to the convergence of two factors: the establishment of Israel and the anticolonial revolutions in Asia and Africa. The greater portion of the Jewish population in those countries was transferred to Israel, and organized Jewish life, beyond the maintenance of local congregations, virtually came to an end in all of these countries except Iran, Morocco, and Tunisia.

English-speaking Jewry and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Jews of Latin America were faced with the more complex task of adapting their organizational structures to three new purposes: to assume the responsibility passed to them as a result of the destruction of European Jewry, to play a major role in supporting Israel, and to accommodate the internal changes of communities still in the process of acculturation. Many of the transient Jewish communities in Asia and Africa were actually founded or shaped in this period, while others, consisting in the main of transient merchants or refugees, were abandoned.

The collapse of the USSR and its Communist empire which had the last major concentration of Jews in Europe led to another spurt of community-building in the years immediately after 1989. Demonstrating the Jewish talent for self-organization, organized Jewish communities rapidly appeared throughout the former Soviet Union, first local communities, then countrywide. While many of those who led in the establishment of these communities later emigrated to Israel, the communities have continued to exist. Thus, after seventy years of being denied the right to organize as Jews, with very few exceptions, every significant Jewish population concentration once again had an organized community.

At first, the pattern of Jewish communal organization followed that of the modern epoch with some modifications, but as the postmodern epoch leaves its own imprint, the differences in status and structure are diminishing. A common pattern of organizations is emerging, consisting of certain basic elements, including:

1. Governmentlike institutions, whether umbrella organizations or separate institutions serving discrete functions, that play roles and provide services at all levels (countrywide, local, and, where used, intermediate) which, under other conditions, would be played, provided, or controlled, whether predominantly or exclusively, by governmental authorities (for instance, services such as external relations, defense, education, social welfare, and public, that is, communal, finance), specifically:
-- a more or less comprehensive fundraising and social planning body;
-- a representative body for external relations;
-- a Jewish education service agency;
-- a vehicle or vehicles for assisting Israel and other Jewish communities;
-- various health and welfare institutions.

2. Local institutions and organizations that provide a means for attracting people to Jewish life on the basis of their most immediate and personal interests and needs, specifically:
-- congregations organized into one or more synagogue unions, federations, or confederations;
-- local cultural and recreational centers, often federated or confederated with one another.

3. General purpose mass-based organizations, operating countrywide at all levels, that function to: (a) articulate community values, attitudes, and policies; (b) provide the energy and motive force for crystallizing the communal consensus that grows out of those values, attitudes, and policies; and (c) maintain institutionalized channels of communication between the community's leaders and "actives" ("cosmopolitans") and the broad base of the affiliated Jewish population ("locals") for dealing with the problems facing the community, specifically:
-- a Zionist federation and its constituent organizations;
-- fraternal organizations.

4. Special interest organizations which, by serving specialized interests in the community on all planes, function to mobilize concern and support for the various programs conducted by the community and to apply pressure for their expansion, modification, and improvement. The resultant model is presented in schematic form in figure 2.


The United States, with over half of all the Jews in the diaspora, stands in a class by itself. The situation of a very large, fully modern society, established from the first on individualistic principles, pluralistic in the full sense of the word, settled by several significantly different waves of very adventurous Jewish immigrants who shared a common commitment in seeking new lives as individuals, was not conducive to the development of sufficient homogeneity to permit the formation of a neat communal structure.49

The organized American Jewish community is entirely built upon an associational base. That is to say, not only is there no inescapable compulsion, external or internal, to affiliate with organized Jewry, but all connections with organized Jewish life are based on voluntary association with some particular organization or institution, whether in the form of synagogue membership, contribution to the local Jewish Welfare Fund (which is considered to be an act of joining as well as contributing), or affiliation with a B'nai B'rith lodge or Hadassah chapter. Indeed, the usual pattern for affiliated Jews is one of multiple association with memberships in different kinds of associations that reinforce one another and create an interlocking network of Jewish ties that bind the individual more firmly to the community. Without the associational base, there would be no organized Jewish community at all; with it, the Jewish community attains social, and even a certain legal, status that enables it to fit well into the larger society of which it is a part.

The associational basis of American Jewish life is manifested in a wide variety of local and countrywide organizations designed to suit every Jewish taste. While these organizations may be confined to specific localities or may reflect specific interests, classes, or types on a strictly supralocal basis, the most successful ones develop both countrywide and local facets. It is no accident that B'nai B'rith, a countrywide (even worldwide) federation of multistate districts and local lodges, and Hadassah, a countrywide organization that emphasizes the role of its local chapters (which are further divided almost into neighborhood groups), are the two most successful mass Jewish organizations in the United States. The key to their success is that they provide both an overall purpose attuned to the highest aims of Jewish life as well as local attachment based on the immediate social needs of the individual Jew in such a way as to allow people to be members for either reason. Sooner or later, all large countrywide Jewish organizations have found that their survival is contingent upon developing some sort of serious local dimension to accommodate the very powerful combination of American and Jewish penchant for organizational arrangements on federal principles.

While certain of its organizations sometimes succeeded in developing from the top down, the institutions of the American Jewish community are essentially local and, at most, loosely federated with one another for very limited purposes. The three great synagogue movements, for example, are essentially confederations of highly independent local congregations, linked by relatively vague persuasional ties and a need for certain technical services. The confederations function to provide the requisite emotional reinforcement of those ties and the services desired by their member units. As in the case of the other countrywide organizations, they combine countrywide identification with essentially local attachments. With the exception of a few institutions of higher education (and, once upon a time, a few specialized hospitals, now nonsectarian), all Jewish social, welfare, and educational institutions are local in name and, in fact, some loosely confederated on a supralocal basis.

The demands placed upon the American Jewish community beginning in the late 1930s led to a growing recognition of the need to reconstitute the community's organizational structure at least to the extent of rationalizing the major interinstitutional relationships and generally tightening the matrix. These efforts at reconstitution received added impetus from the changes in American society as a whole (and the Jews' position in it) after 1945. They signaled the abandonment of earlier chimerical efforts to create a more orthodox organizational structure in imitation of foreign patterns which, given the character of American society as a whole, would have been quite out of place.

What has emerged to unite all these highly independent associations is a number of overlapping local and supralocal federations designed for different purposes. The most powerful among them are the local federations of Jewish agencies and their countrywide confederation, the Council of Jewish Federations (CJF), which have become the framing institutions of American Jewry and its local communities. They are the only ones able to claim near-universal membership and all-embracing purposes, though not even the CJF has the formal status of an overall countrywide umbrella organization. Other federal arrangements tend to be limited to single functions and their general organizations rarely have more than a consultative role or power of accreditation.

This unity on a confederative basis, which characterizes American Jewry, is very different from unity on a hierarchical one; what emerges is not a single pyramidal structure, nor even one in which the "bottom" rules the "top" (as in the case of most of the communities with representative boards), but a matrix consisting of many institutions and organizations tied together by a crisscrossing of memberships, shared purposes, and common interests, whose roles and powers vary according to situation and issue.


While there are variations among them, characteristic of all of the Jewish communities whose origin is in the British Commonwealth is an ambivalence in defining their Jewishness. On the one hand, there is the sense on the part of both the community and the larger society of which it is a part that Jewish attachment is a form of "religious affiliation" and that every individual has free choice in the matter. On the other, there is an equally strong feeling that somehow Jews stand apart from the majority "Anglo-Saxon" population and can never bridge that gap. Regardless of the intensity of their Jewish attachments, the overwhelming majority of Jews in these countries have culturally assimilated into the wider society's way of life. Thus the associational aspects of Jewish affiliation are far more important than the organic ones, however real the latter may be, and the community structure is built around associational premises from top to bottom.50

The communities themselves have no special status in public law. At most, there is an umbrella organization which is formally or tacitly accepted as the "address" of the Jewish community for certain limited purposes, and subsidiary institutions which are occasionally accorded government support (along with similar non-Jewish institutions) for specific functions. Nor do the communities have any strong tradition of communal self-government to call upon. All are entirely products of the modern era, hence their founders were either post-emancipation Jews or Jews seeking the benefits of emancipation and desirous of throwing off the burdens of an all-encompassing corporate Jewish life.

The larger communities in this category, at least, were created by successive waves of immigration, the greatest of which arrived in the past 100 years; hence the history of their present communal patterns does not go back more than three or four generations, if that. Most of their present leaders are sons of immigrants, if not immigrants themselves.

Boards of Deputies: Eleven of these communities have representative boards, usually called "Boards of Deputies," as their principal spokesmen. These representative boards in most cases formally embrace virtually all the other Jewish institutions and organizations in the community. Those other organizations, however, while nominally associated with the Board are, for all practical purposes, independent of and even equal to it in stature and influence. Fundraising, religious life, and social services tend to be under other auspices. The Board tends to be pushed in the direction of becoming the ambassador of the Jewish community to the outside world rather than its governing body. This tendency has been accelerated since World War II by the "coming of age" of the last great wave of immigrants and the consequent diminution of the monolithic character of most of the communities. The increase in competing interests, the decline in religious interest, and the growth of assimilatory tendencies have all contributed to this change.

Communities with representative boards are also constructed on federal lines. At the very least, the Boards become federations of institutions and organizations. In federal or quasi-federal countries, they become territorial federations as well.


The Eastern European Jews who migrated to Latin America in the twentieth century established replicas of the European kehillah, without official status but tacitly recognized by Jews and non-Jews alike as the organized Jewish community. The central institutions of these communities have a distinct public character but no special recognition in public law. Founded in the main by secularists, these communities were built in the mold of secular diaspora nationalism as it developed in Eastern Europe and emphasize the secular side of Jewish life. Since they function in an environment that provides neither the cultural nor the legal framework for a European-model kehillah, they must rely on the voluntary attachment of their members. The Latin American communities were relatively successful in maintaining this corporate pattern until recently because the great social and cultural gap between Jews and their neighbors aided in giving the Jews the self-image of a special and distinct group, but it has become increasingly difficult to maintain this as the gap disappears.

Ashkenazim and Sephardim organized their separate communities, in some cases by country or city of origin. Just as Jewish immigrants did not assimilate into their host countries, so, too, they did not assimilate among themselves. In the course of time, these communities loosely confederated with one another to deal with common problems that emerged in their relations with their external environment, essentially problems of immigration, anti-Semitism and Israel. At the same time, each country-of-origin community retains substantial, if not complete, autonomy in internal matters and control over its own institutions.

In three of the larger Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil and Colombia) the indigenous federal or quasi-federal structure of the countries themselves influenced the Jews to create countrywide confederations based on territorial divisions (officially uniting state or provincial communities which are, in fact, local communities concentrated in the state or provincial capitals). In the other countries, the local community containing the overwhelming majority of the Jewish population itself became the countrywide unit, usually by designating its federation as the "council of communities." The community councils of the six Central American countries (total Jewish population 7,800) have organized the Federation of Central American Jewish Communities to pool resources and provide common services.

None of these tacitly recognized communal structures has been in existence for more than three generations, and the communities themselves originated no more than four generations ago. Most of the smaller ones are just now entering their third generation, since they were created by the refugees of the 1930s and 1940s. Consequently, many, if not most, are still in the process of developing an appropriate and accepted communal character.

The great postwar adjustment that has faced the Latin American communities centers on the emergence of a native-born majority. This new generation has far less attachment to the "old country" way of life with its emphasis on ideological and country-of-origin ties, hence the whole community structure is less relevant to them.

Moreover, most of the 625,000 Jews living in Latin America are located in unstable environments that do not necessarily encourage pluralism. Many of them are already beginning to assimilate into their countries, or at least into the local radical movements, in familiar Jewish ways. For an increasing number of Jews, the deportivo, or Jewish community recreation center, often seems the most relevant form of Jewish association and the building block for Jewish organizational life. The rise of these new institutions may foreshadow a new communal structure, based on local territorial divisions, that is emerging in these communities, with its accompanying substructure of associational activities whose participants are drawn in on the basis of common interest rather than of common descent.51


In the wake of the destruction in World War II and subsequent communal reconstruction, the Jews in this region have developed new forms of communal association while at the same time retaining the formal structures of governance of the previous epoch. This is most obvious in the case of those communities which in the modern epoch had exhibited either the characteristics of a Kultusgemeinde (comprehensive state-recognized communal structure) or a consistoire (state-recognized or semiofficial religious structure).

Kehillot, or state-recognized communal structures, were to be found in Central Europe, or areas influenced by Central European culture, before World War I. In recent years these communities have, by and large, lost their power to compel all Jews to be members and must now build their membership on a consensual basis. This usually means that all known Jews are automatically listed on the community's rolls but have the right to opt out if they choose to do so.

Structurally, the kehillah communities remain all-embracing. All legitimate institutions or organizations function within their overall framework, except where the state has allowed secessionist groups to exist. As countrywide communities, they are generally organized along conventional federal lines with either "national" and "local," or "national," "provincial," and "local," bodies, each chosen through formal elections and linked constitutionally to one another with a relatively clear division of power. In some cases, authority remains in the local community, perhaps with some loose confederal relationships uniting the various localities. The greatest source of strength of the state-recognized communities lies in their power to tax or to receive automatically a portion of their members' regular taxes from the authorities.

The state-recognized community, once the basis of Jewish life, is losing ground in size and importance in the Jewish world at the same time as it is losing its compulsory character. Most are declining communities, decimated by war, emigration, and assimilation. Moreover, an increasing number of Jews within those communities may be opting out of community membership (and the taxes that go with it). In 1980, 150,000 Jews lived in such communities.52

Despite its importance during the nineteenth century, only a remnant of the consistoire pattern still exists in France. Somewhat more faithful models are to be found in those countries within the orbit of French culture in Europe and Africa. In some, the consistoire has a certain legal status as a religious body and its officials are usually supported by government funds, but affiliation with it is entirely voluntary. It is distinguished by its emphasis on the exclusively religious nature of Judaism and its centralized character.

The consistoire is a casualty of the growing pluralism within the Jewish community. The refugees from Eastern Europe and, later, North Africa, who became major, if not the dominant, forces in many of the consistoire communities after World War II rejected its exclusively sacerdotal emphasis, while the growth of secularism made Jewish identification via a state-recognized religious structure increasingly incongruous. The new ultra-Orthodox congregations created by certain of the refugees rejected the laxity of the official "orthodoxy" of the consistoire, and the tasks of communal reconstruction in the aftermath of the war proved too much for the consistorial bodies to handle alone. Above all, the rise of Israel generated demands for mobilization of diaspora resources that went beyond the capabilities of the consistoire structure, necessitating more appropriate organizational arrangements. In a broader sense, the times themselves conspired against the old system, as committed Jews the world over rediscovered the national-political aspects of Jewish existence.

New, entirely voluntary organizations began to emerge with a civil orientation to reach those elements which were otherwise not part of the official community. In the process, they began to assume the functions of umbrella organizations to the extent that their local situation encouraged such organizations within the context of an emerging pluralism in Jewish communal life. Consistorial bodies survive, but without the centrality they once had in Jewish life.53


The communities located in the formerly Communist countries of Eastern Europe are basically remnant communities, most of whose earlier residents either died in the Holocaust or emigrated to Israel. Under Communist rule they were subjugated in the way that all potential rivals for the citizens' interests are curbed in totalitarian societies. Since the collapse of Communist rule, they have been revived, usually in the form they had acquiesced before World War II. The communities in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Rumania actually have a formal status similar to that of their sister communities in other continental European countries and function through state-recognized communal or religious structures. The communities of Bulgaria and Poland are organized under what were originally Communist-imposed structures.


Soviet Jewry, subjugated after World War I, lost the last remnants of its organized communal life in the Stalin purges that came in the aftermath of World War II. As glasnost and perestroika spread in the USSR of the 1980s, Jews in local communities across the Soviet Union began raising their heads to establish free Jewish universities, cultural circles, or theater groups as nuclei of new community organizations. In 1989 these were expanded to include the normal institutions of an organized Jewish community and by 1991 the phenomenon had spread throughout the by-then dying USSR.54 While the USSR existed, there was a national body that claimed to speak for all Soviet Jews that had been established by a convention of representatives from all the local communities. Now that the USSR has broken apart, similar or appropriate organizations were established in the newly independent republics.


The communities located in the Islamic countries of the Middle East are the remnants of what were, until the rise of Israel, flourishing traditional kehillot. Their present state of subjugation or dissolution dates from their host countries' attainment of independence or from the establishment of Israel, and therefore reflects another kind of postwar reconstitution. The character of the subjugation varies from virtually complete suppression of all communal and private Jewish activities (Iraq) to government appointment of pliable leadership to manage the community's limited affairs (Tunisia). Only Morocco and Turkey have allowed their Jewish communities to continue to function with a minimum of disturbance, albeit under close government supervision.

In every case, the Jews' situation has deteriorated after each Israeli victory and the number of Jews remaining in the communities has decreased. Since emigration from the larger ones is not impossible, it seems clear that they, too, are fated to disappear or to become no more than very small remnant communities in the near future. In the meantime, communal life continues, as much as possible. This usually means some form of religious life, increasingly limited opportunities to provide children with a Jewish education, and a few limited social services.55 Iran, the last major concentration of Jews in the Muslim world, watched its Jewish community flee after the fall of the Shah who had been the Jews' protector, and the establishment of the Islamic republic. In Morocco, where the king continues to protect the Jews, the exodus has been more gradual. Each of those communities today has approximately 13,000 Jews. In Morocco, the future looks promising as a result of the Israel-Arab peace process, while in Iran it seems quite gloomy. Today Turkish Jewry remains the largest Jewish community in the Muslim world. While the Jews in Turkey are essentially free and protected, they are also closely supervised by the government, which does so with a velvet rather than an iron hand.


What can be learned about diaspora existence from the Jewish experience which is new and unique? Four points can be made in particular.

1. Long-term diasporas seem to be an Asian phenomenon, in that the peoples who seem to be able to produce and sustain diasporas are overwhelmingly Asian or emerged from Asia. European émigrés to new territories break off into fragments of their original cultures, as Louis Hartz has pointed out in The Founding of New Societies, and then become separate peoples in their own right.56 Traditional African cultures remained tribal, even in the case of the great tribal empires, and handled migration within Africa through the breakoff of families or clans and their reconstitution as new tribes. Africans who migrated outside of Africa did so on a forced basis as slaves and hence were given no chance to establish a diaspora. Although in recent times there has been some effort to impose a diaspora-style context on American Blacks, it has not succeeded. It seems that the nature of peoplehood in Asia and its relationship to statehood -- whereby peoples are far more enduring than states -- is an essential condition for the creation of diasporas. The Jews are a prime example of an Asian people who carried their diaspora first into North Africa, then Europe, and then into the New World, but they never lost this Asian dimension of their being.

2. A second point is that the Jewish experience is the quintessential example of how diasporas can be state-initiators. The history of the reestablishment of the State of Israel may be the classic of its kind, but it is not the only such example. It was the Norwegian diaspora in the United States which initiated the separation of Norway from Sweden, which led to Norwegian independence in 1905, and the Czech diaspora which initiated the establishment of Czechoslovakia after World War I. At any given time there may be a number of diasporas that are actively trying to establish states, such as the Armenians, for example. This is an important dimension in the reciprocal state-diaspora relationship.57

3. A third point is that the nature of interflows between state and diaspora and segments of the diaspora needs to be more fully examined. This article has suggested some of those interflows in the contemporary Jewish world. Elsewhere, I have mapped the shifting nature of such flows and the different institutional frameworks for them in different epochs of Jewish history.58 One would expect that this would be useful to do in connection with other diasporas as well.

What has been characteristic of the Jews is that at times they have had highly visible frameworks for such interflows. We have already noted how, in the days of the Second Temple, Jews throughout the world made pilgrimage and paid an annual Temple tax as well as accepted the authority of the Sanhedrin, which sat in the Temple. Several hundred years later, the resh galuta and yeshivot in Babylonia exercised authority over 97 percent of the Jews of the world who happened to be within the Arab caliphate.

At other times, the institutional structure was articulated but not quite as apparent to most Jews, even if they were influenced by it. That is the condition today regarding the various authorities which link Israel and the diaspora and the various diaspora communities with one another. What is becoming clear to those involved is that the reconstituted Jewish Agency for Israel and its constituent organizations are beginning to play a similar role on a voluntary basis.

Finally, there were situations in which external conditions prevented any visible institutional framework other than the institutions of local decision-making, whereby halakhic authorities from all parts of the Jewish world were in correspondence with one another and turned to one another for decisions binding on the entire Jewish people. The communications among these authorities helped maintain the formal constitutional structure of the Jewish people, which helped keep the Jewish constitutional framework intact even when Jews had no political institutions to unite them. This formal legal framework was supplemented by the continuing movement of travelers and migrants among most, if not all, of the communities of the Jewish world at any given time, which served to preserve the ethnic as well as the constitutional ties uniting the Jewish people.

4. Finally, any proper study of diasporas should consider the role of technology in making possible the maintenance of links between diaspora and state or one diaspora community and another. At the beginning of the Jewish diaspora, 2,500 years ago or more, it is very likely that Jews who spread beyond the limits of ongoing communication with their brethren (such as the Jews who settled in China), given the technologies of the time, disappeared as Jews. No doubt, the fact that first the Persians and then the Romans emphasized roadbuilding to facilitate communication among the far-flung reaches of their respective empires had a vital impact on the Jews' efforts in maintaining their links.

Later, in medieval times, the relative ease of water communication in the Mediterranean world held the Jewish communities of the Mediterranean Basin together while Jews who moved north of the Alps, though not out of communication with the rest of the Jewish world, developed a subculture of their own. The two subcultures persist to this day in the form of Sephardim and Ashkenazim.

In our own times, it is clear that the possibility of reviving common institutions for the Jewish people has been strengthened by the availability of such instruments as the telephone and the jet plane. Certainly, technology has served to heighten diaspora consciousness among other peoples. It would be worth investigating whether this has also helped foster links between other groups in the way it has with the Jews.

Because of the rapid changes in transportation and communications technology, the increased mobility of individuals across state lines, and the greater interdependence of states throughout the world, it may be that diaspora and the state-diaspora relation as they were known in the past will themselves undergo a sea-change. While the trend will continue to be for diasporas to grow as it has been the end of World War II, there will also be a situation in which significant populations will not be identifiable as living either in their state or in its diaspora. That is to say, they will live in both places, spending part of the year in one and part in the other, or traveling back and forth with great frequency. Maintaining their homes in one and their business interests in the other will be a common feature. Thus the whole idea of what is a diaspora will have to shift to accommodate new trends.


1. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term diaspora originates from the Septuagint, Deuteronomy 28:25, "thou shalt be a diaspora in all kingdoms of the earth" (1897 Ed. p. 321).

2. See, S. W . Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews (New York: Columbia University Press, 1973); Yehezkel Kaufman, Gola V'Nechar (Diaspora and Exile) (Tel Aviv: Dvir, 1958); Raphael Patai, The Tents of Jacob: The Diaspora Yesterday and Today (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1971); A. Tartakower, Hahevra Hayehudit (Jewish Society) (Tel Aviv: Dvir, 1959).

3. See, Daniel J. Elazar, Community and Polity: The Organizational Dynamics of American Jewry (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1976, pp. 70-77), and People and Polity: The Organizational Dynamics of Post-Modern Jewry (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1989).

4. Cf. James William Parkes, The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue (New York: Atheneum, 1969), and The Jew and His Neighbour (London: Student Christian Movement, 1930).

5. See, S. W. Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jewish, esp. Volume XII; W. P. Zener Jewish Retainers as Power Brokers in Traditional Societies. Paper presented at the 74th meeting of the American Anthropological Association, San francisco, December 4, 1975.

6. See, W. F. Albright, The Biblical Period from Abraham to Ezra (New York: Harper and Row, 1963); J. Bright, A History of Israel, Third Edition (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1981); Harry M. Orlinsky, Ancient Israel, Second edition (Cornell University Press, 1967).

7. See F. J. Burner, The Frontier in American History (New York: Holt, 1920); R. A. Billington, Westward Expansion: A History of the American Frontier (New York: Macmillan, 1949); W. P. Webb, The Great Frontier (London: Secker and Warburg, 1953).

8. See A. J. Heschel, Israel: An Echo of Eternity (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1969).

9. See, Daniel J. Elazar, Cities of the Prairie (New York: Basic Books, 1970, pp. 7-10); J. Goody, "Time" in International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Volume 16, page 30, et. seq., esp. pp. 39-41.

10. See, Isidore Epstein, Judaism: A Historical Presentation (England: Penguin, Middlesex, 1974); B. Halpern, The Idea of a Jewish State, Second Edition (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1969); J. W. Parkes, A History of Palestine from 135 A.D. to Modern Times (New York: Oxford University Press, 1949).

11. See, W. A. Laqueur, A History of Zionism (New York: Shocken Books, 1976); D. Vital, The Origins of Zionism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975).

12. See, Steven M. Cohen, American Modernity and Jewish Identity (New York: Tavistock, 1983), Daniel J. Elazar, "Renewable Identity", Midstream, January 1981; Peter Y. Medding, "Toward a General Theory of Jewish Political Interests and Behaviour in the Contemporary World," in Daniel J. Elazar (ed.) Kinship and Consent: The Jewish Political Tradition and Its Contemporary Uses (Ramat Gan, Israel: Turtledove, 1981).

13. See, L. H. Fuchs, The Political Behaviour of American Jews, (Illinois: Free Press, 1956); M. Himmelfarb, The Jewish of Modernity (New York: Basic Books, 1973); Stephen Isaacs, Jews and American Politics (New York: Doubleday, 1974); Charles S. Liebman, The Ambivalent American Jew (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1973); P. Y. Medding, "Patterns of Political Organization and Leadership in Contemporary Jewish Communities," in Daniel J. Elazar (ed.) Kinship and Consent; M. Sklare, The Jew in American Society (New York: Behrman House, 1974); J. Weyl, The Jew in American Politics (New Rochelle: Arlington House, 1968).

14. See, W. F. Albright, The Biblical Period from Abraham to Ezra; Daniel J. Elazar and Stuart A. Cohen, The Jewish Polity (BLoomington: Indiana Press, 1984).

15. I have elaborated this thesis more fully in "Covenant and Freedom in the Jewish Political Tradition," Annual Sol Feinstone Lecture, Gratz College, March 15, 1981.

16. See, Daniel J. Elazar, "Covenant as the Basis of the Jewish Political tradition," Jewish Journal of Sociology, No. 20, June 1978, pp. 5-37; G. Freeman, "Rabbinic Conceptions of Covenant," in Daniel J. Elazar (ed.) Kinship and Consent; D. R. Hiller, Covenant: The History of a Biblical Idea (Baltimore: John Hopkins, 1969).

17. Deuteronomy 34:1-4; Josh. 24:1-25.

18. II Samuel 5:1.

19. II Kings 18.

20. Ezra 1:2; Nehemia 8:1-8.

21. I Maccabees 8:1-9.

22. Cf. G. Blidstein, "Individual and Community in the Middle Ages," and M. Elon, "On Power and Authority: Halachic Stance of the Traditional Community and Its Contemporary Implications," both in Daniel J. Elazar (ed.) Kinship and Consent; M. Elon, (ed.) The Principles of Jewish Law (Jerusalem: Institute for Research in Jewish Law Publications, 1975).

23. Cf. Y. Aricha Megilat Haazmaut - Chazon Vemetsiut (Declaration of Independence - Vison and Reality), Faculty of Political Science, Bar Ilan University (Unpublished); H. M. Kallen Utopians at Bay (New York: Theodor Herzl Foundation, 1958); Amnon Rubinstein Hamishpat Hakonstituzioni shel Medinat Yisrael (The Constitutional Law of the State of Israel) (Jerusalem: Shocken Books, 1979).

24. Leo Baeck discusses this phenomenon in This People Israel (Philadelphia, 1965). See also Daniel J. Elazar, "The Quest for Community: Selections from the Literature of Jewish Public Affairs, 1965-1966," American Jewish Yearbook, Volume 68, 1967 (New York and philadelphia: American Jewish Committee and Jewish Publications Society, 1967).

25. See, for example, C. Finkelstein, Jewish Self-Government in the Middle Ages, Second Edition (New York: Feldheim, 1964); and H. H. Ben-Sasson, Perakim Betoldot Hayehudim Beyamei Habaynayim (Chapters in the History of jewish in the Middle Ages) (Tel Aviv, 1969).

26. See Daniel J. Elazar, Community & Polity; M. Himmelfarb, The Jews of Modernity; C. S. Liebman, The Ambivalent American Jew; H. M. Sachar, The Course of Modern Jewish History (New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1958).

27. See, for example, E. Samuel, "The Administrator of the Catholic Church," in Public Administration in Israel and Abroad, 1966 (Jerusalem, 1967) one of the few such studies available.

28. A few historians and social scientists have taken note of the covenant community as a distinct sociopolitical phenomenon from this perspective. Margaret Mead, for example, suggests that the Jewish polity and other covenant communities deserve special exploration; see her "Introduction" to M. Zborowski, and E. Herzog, Life is with People (New York, 1952). For an eloquent evocation of the spirit and character of the covenant community, see Page Smith, As a City Upon a Hill (New York, 1967).

29. See, A. Malamat, "Assyrian Exile," in Encyclopedia Judaica, Volume 6, p. 1034; I. Ephal, "Israel: Fall and Exile" in A. Malamat and I. Ephal (eds.), The World History of the Jewish People (Jerusalem: Massada Press, 1979), Volume Four, Chapter 8; H. H. Ben-Sasson (ed.) A History of the Jewish People (London: Weidenfield and Nicolson, Chapter 9).

30. See, L. Baeck, This People Israel: The Meaning of Jewish Existence (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1965), S. W. Baron, The Jewish Community: Its History and Structure to the American Revolution (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1972); Isaac Levy, (London: Valentine Mitchell, 1963).

31. See, B. Porten, Archives from Elephantine (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1960), Chapter 4.

32. See, S. Hoenig, The Great Sanhedrin (Philadelphia: Dropsie College, 1953); H. Mantel, Studies in the History of the Great Sanhedrin (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1961).

33. See, M. Baer, Rashut Hagolah B'Bavel Bimei HaMishna VhaTalmud (Leadership and Authority in the Times of the Mishna and the Talmud) (Tel Aviv, 1967); J. Neusner, There We Sat Down: Talmudic Judaism in the Making (New York, Ktav, 1978).

34. See, Daniel J. Elazar and Stuart A. Cohen, The Jewish Polity.

35. See, S. W. Baron, The Jewish Community.

36. Albeck, Batei Hadin Bimei HaTalmud (Courts of the Talmudic Period); G. Along, The Jewish in Their Land in the Talmudic Age (70-640 CE), Translated and Edited by G. Levi, Jerusalem 1980, Volume One; M. Avi-Yonah, The Jewish of Palestine: A Political History from the Bar Kochba War to the Arab Conquest (Oxford, 1976); A. I. Baumgarten, "The Akiban Opposition," Hebrew Union College Annual 50 (1974) pp. 179-197; E. Goldenberg, "Darko Shel Yehuda Hanasi," (In the Arrangement of the Mishna) Tarbitz 28 (1959), pp. 260-269.

37. S. W. Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews, Volume X, Chapter 45, and Volume 16; M. Elon, Principles of Jewish Law.

38. See, S. Assaf, Tekufat Hagaonim Vesifruta (The Period of the Sages and Its Literature) (Jerusalem: Mosad Harav Kook, 1955); Boaz Cohen, Law and Ethics in the Light of the Jewish Tradition (New York: Ktav, 1947), and Law & Tradition in Judaism (New York: Katav, 1969); M. Elon, The Principles of Jewish Law; S. B. Freehof, The Responsa Literature (New York: Ktav, 1973); L. Ginsberg, On Jewish Law and Lore (New York: Atheneum, 1970); C. H. Tchernowitz, Toledoth Hahalacha (The History of Halacha) (New York: Vaad Hayovel, 1953).

39. See, S. W. Baron, A Social and Relilgious History of the Jews; H. M. Sacha, The Course of Modern Jewish History.

40. See, H. P. Friedenrich, The Jews of Yugoslavia (Philadelphia: Jewish Publications Society of America, 1979); J. Datz, Tradition and Crisis (Cambridge MA: Harvard, 1974) and Out of the Ghetto (Cambridge: Harvard, 1976); N. Katzburg, Hungary and the Jews (Ramat Gan, Israel, 1981); J. Levitats, The Jewish Community in Russia, 1772-1844, (New York, 1943); E. Mendelsohn, The Jews of East Central Europe between the World Wars, (Bloomington, IN, 1983); B. D. Weinreib, The Jews of Poland (Philadelphia, 1972) M. Wilenski, Hasidim Umitnagdim (Jerusalem, 1970).

41. See, A. Altman, Moses Mendelsohn: A Biographical Study; S. W. Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews, Volume XV; S. Ettinger, "The Modern Age" in H. H. Ben-Sasson (ed), A History of the Jewish People, Part III (Cambridge, MA, 1976); A. Hertzberg, The French Enlightenment and the Jews, (New York, 1968) J. Reinharz, Fatherland of Promised Land: The Dilemma of the German Jews, 1893-1914 (Ann Arbor, 1975); C. Roth, History of the Jews in England, Third Edition (Oxford, 1964).

42. See, Daniel J. Elazar, Community and Polity and People and Polity; with P. Medding, Jewish Communities in Frontier Societies (London and New York: Holmes and Meir, 1983.

43. See, Daniel J. Elazar, "The Reconstitution of Jewish Communities in the Post-War Period," Jewish Journal of Sociology, Volume XI, No. 2 (December, 1969).

44. See, W. A. Laqueur, A History of Zionism; D. Vita, The Origins of Zionism.

45. See, A. Herzberg, The Zionist Idea (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1975).

46. See the series HaChug L'Yediyat Am Yisrael B'Tfutzot B'Beit Nasi Hamedina (Study Circle on World Jewry in the Home of the President of Israel), Shagar Library, Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, especially, B. Halpern and I. Kolatt, "Amadot Mishtanot B'Yehesai Medinat Yisrael VeHatefutsot" (Changing Relations Between Israel and the Diaspora), Third Series, No. 607 (1970-1971); E. Schweid, "HaKarat HaAm HaYehudi B'Hinuch B'Yisrael" (Identification with the Jewish People in Israeli Education) Sixth Series, No. 6 (1972-1973); N. Rotenreich, Z. Abromov, and Y. Bauer, "Achrayuta Shel Medinat Yisrael Latfutzot" (Israel's Responsibility to the Diaspora) Ninth Series, No. 7 (1977-1978).

47. Cf. Daniel J. Elazar and A . M. Dortort (eds), Understanding the Jewish Agency: A Handbook (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 1984); E. Stock, "Jewish Multi-Country Association" in American Jewish Yearbook 1994 (New York: American Jewish Committee, 1994).

48. See, Daniel J. Elazar, "The Reconstitution of Jewish Communities in the Post-War Period," Jewish Journal of Sociology; Daniel J. Elazar and Stuart A. Cohen, The Jewish Polity.

49. See, L. Hartz, The Founding of New Societies: Studies in the History of the United States, Latin America, South Africa, Canada, and Australia (New York: Harcourt, Bruce & World, 1964).

50. See, Daniel J. Elazar, People and Polity: The Organizational Dynamics of World Jewry (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1989) Chapter 11.

51. Ibid, Chapter 13.

52. Ibid., Chapter 15.

53. Ibid., Chapter 14.

54. See, Zvi Gittelman, "Former Soviet Union" American Jewish Yearbook 1994, op cit. pp. 337-345; Betsy Gidwitz, "Post-Soviet Jewry at Mid-Decade," Parts One and Two, Jerusalem Letter No 309, 15 February 1995, and No. 310, 1 March 1995; Irwin Cotler, "Revolutionary Times in the Soviet Union" in Jerusalem Letter/Viewpoints, No. 93, 2 October, 1989.

55. See, George E. Gruen, "Jewish in the Middle East and North Africa' American Jewish Yearbook 1994 (New York: American Jewish Committee, 1994).

56. Hartz. op. cit.

57. See, B. Azkin, State and Nation (London: Hutchinson University Library, 1964).

58. See, Daniel J. Elazar and Stuart A. Cohen, The Jewish Polity: Jewish Political Organization from Biblical Times to the Present (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1985).

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