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The sociology of Jewry involves the application of sociological theory and method to the study of the Jewish people and the Jewish religion. Sociologists are concerned with the social patterns within Jewish groups and communities; American Jewry, Israeli Jews and Jewish life in the diaspora. Sociological studies of the Jewish religion include religious membership, ritual and denominational patterns. Notable journals include Jewish Social Studies, The Jewish Journal of Sociology and Contemporary Jewry.
Sociology of Jewry initially emerged in the United States in the 1930s beginning with the 1938 publication of Jewish Social Studies, sponsored by the Conference of Jewish Relations. The Journal's mission was "to promote, by means of scientific research, a better understanding of the position of Jews in the modern world." And the later publication of The Jewish Journal of Sociology in 1958 was due to the "few opportunities... for publishing academic and scientific studies of the sociology of Jews."
In 1955, sociologist Seymour Lipset noted that the discipline was underdeveloped, stating that there were far more "Jewish sociologists" than "sociologists of Jews". However, the subfield began to grow in the late 1960s and 1970s. A professional organization was formed, namely the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry (ASSJ). In 1975, a new academic journal was founded as well, Contemporary Jewry.
Contributing to this growth was the work of Marshall Sklare, now considered one of the founding figures in the sociology of Jewry. Marshall Sklare and Joseph Greenblum’s 1967 study of Jewish identity in “Lakeville” is considered one of the most notable works of its kind. The sociological study of intergroup relations and the theories proposed by Nathan Glazer and Daniel P. Moynihan is also thought to have contributed to the growth of the sociology of Jewry.
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