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World War I and America: American Religious Pluralism and the Jewish Experience
October 23, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Jessica Cooperman, Assistant Professor, Religious Studies Department/ Director, Jewish Studies Program, Muhlenbuerg College
The American government entered World War I confident in the knowledge that the United States was a predominately Protestant country, albeit one which extended religious tolerance to other faiths. By the end of the war, however, the U.S. military and War Department increasingly depicted Judaism and Catholicism as equal partners to Protestantism in the “three faiths of American democracy.”
World War I marked a period of critical, although not always intentional, transformations in the ways that American religion was defined and supported by the policies and practices of the government. This talk will explore how these changes came about: who advocated for them? And how was it that Americans gradually began to think of themselves as part of a “Judeo-Christian” country that included Protestants, Catholics, and Jews?
The Scotch Plains Public Library is one of only four New Jersey institutions to have received a World War I and America grant. This grant, along with a generous gift from the Fanwood-Scotch Plains Service League, enables us to offer original programming to commemorate the centennial of American involvement in World War One, and to explore the ongoing experience of veterans who have served in our lifetimes.
Presented by The Library of America, World War I and America is a two-year initiative in partnership with The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the National World War I Museum and Memorial, and other organizations, with generous support from The National Endowment for the Humanities.
The aim of World War I and America is to bring veterans and their families together with the general public to explore the continuing relevance of the war by reading, discussing, and sharing insights into the writings of Americans who experienced it ﬁrsthand.