Sundays at Sinai: A Jewish Congregation in Chicago (Historical Studies of Urban America) (Hardcover)

Sundays at Sinai: A Jewish Congregation in Chicago (Historical Studies of Urban America) By Tobias Brinkmann Cover Image

Sundays at Sinai: A Jewish Congregation in Chicago (Historical Studies of Urban America) (Hardcover)


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First established 150 years ago, Chicago Sinai is one of America’s oldest Reform Jewish congregations. Its founders were upwardly mobile and civically committed men and women, founders and partners of banks and landmark businesses like Hart Schaffner & Marx, Sears & Roebuck, and the giant meatpacking firm Morris & Co. As explicitly modern Jews, Sinai’s members supported and led civic institutions and participated actively in Chicago politics. Perhaps most radically, their Sunday services, introduced in 1874 and still celebrated today, became a hallmark of the congregation.In Sundays at Sinai, Tobias Brinkmann brings modern Jewish history, immigration, urban history, and religious history together to trace the roots of radical Reform Judaism from across the Atlantic to this rapidly growing American metropolis.  Brinkmann shines a light on the development of an urban reform congregation, illuminating Chicago Sinai’s practices and history, and its contribution to Christian-Jewish dialogue in the United States. Chronicling Chicago Sinai’s radical beginnings in antebellum Chicago to the present, Sundays at Sinai is the extraordinary story of a leading Jewish Reform congregation in one of America’s great cities.

Tobias Brinkmann is the Malvin E. and Lea P. Bank Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and History at the Pennsylvania State University.

Product Details ISBN: 9780226074542
ISBN-10: 0226074544
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: June 26th, 2012
Pages: 384
Language: English
Series: Historical Studies of Urban America
“Replete with new information and fresh insights, Tobias Brinkmann’s history of a key Chicago synagogue becomes a platform for exploring Radical Reform Judaism, German-Jewish immigration to America, and the religious history of Chicago. This volume will stand for a long time as the standard work on Chicago Sinai and its path. This is congregational history at its best.”
— Jonathan Sarna, Brandeis University

“Readers usually learn about the influential Reform movement in American Judaism as if from a distance, since most historical glimpses deal with national episodes and trends. Readers can also get a close-up view through narratives of particular communities. Tobias Brinkmann's account of one of the most important Reform synagogues makes it possible for readers to be informed and entertained at once, since with this close-up he brings fresh perspective to Reform, in a story about some of the talent, inventiveness, energy, community sense and achievements at Sinai.”
— Martin E. Marty, emeritus, The University of Chicago

Sundays at Sinai is an important and well-crafted book that places this pioneer congregation firmly within the context not only of Judaism, but also the history of immigration and of Chicago. Tobias Brinkmann is an excellent practitioner of the historical method combining detailed research with new insights that widen and deepen our knowledge of the Jewish experience both in America and Europe.”

— Dominic A. Pacyga, author of Chicago: A Biography

2013 Outstanding Academic Title
— Choice magazine