New Jews

The End of the Jewish Diaspora

215 pages

December, 2005

ISBN: 9780814740170



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Caryn Aviv is a Marsico lecturer and an affiliated faculty with the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Denver.

All books by Caryn S. Aviv

David Shneer is Director of the Program in Jewish Studies and Associate Professor of History at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

All books by David Shneer

For many contemporary Jews, Israel no longer serves as the Promised Land, the center of the Jewish universe and the place of final destination. In New Jews, Caryn Aviv and David Shneer provocatively argue that there is a new generation of Jews who don't consider themselves to be eternally wandering, forever outsiders within their communities and seeking to one day find their homeland. Instead, these New Jews are at home, whether it be in Buenos Aires, San Francisco or Berlin, and are rooted within communities of their own choosing. Aviv and Shneer argue that Jews have come to the end of their diaspora; wandering no more, today's Jews are settled.

In this wide-ranging book, the authors take us around the world, to Moscow, Jerusalem, New York and Los Angeles, among other places, and find vibrant, dynamic Jewish communities where Jewish identity is increasingly flexible and inclusive. New Jews offers a compelling portrait of Jewish life today.


  • New Jews is a thoughtful, persuasive case for why the Diaspora matters.”

    Secular Culture

  • “Offers a new way to look at contemporary Jewry, not just its present complicated realities, but the history behind the recent departures. Well researched, deeply contextualized, and written in a sprightly manner, New Jews demonstrates that Jews at the beginning of the twenty-first century have created new spaces, new places, and new faces in which to live and by which to present themselves.”

    —Hasia R. Diner, author of The Jews of the United States, 1654-2000

  • “Examining locations as diverse as New York, San Francisco and Moscow, Aviv and probe what makes Jews feel “at home.””


  • “This is a wide-ranging work . . . there is a definite shift afoot in thinking about matters of Jewish identity, and this is a worthwhile and useful effort toward articulating new directions.”

    Central Conference of American Rabbis Newsletter

  • New Jews makes the provocative argument that the Israel-Diaspora dichotomy no longer exists. In a series of engaging ethnographies of Jewish communities in America, Russia and Israel, Aviv and Shneer reveal a new generation of Jews embarked on a renaissance liberated from old ideologies and committed to creating homes where they live. A celebration of pluralism, this sure-to-be controversial book finds Jewish unity not in slogans but in the common search for new identities.”

    —David Biale, author of Cultures of the Jews: A New History