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Creating Community and Accumulating Social Capital: Jews Associating with other Jews in Manchester

The forces that pull Jews towards each other are complex

Ernest Schlesinger

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Several reasons have been advanced to explain why well-educated, middle-class and often highly anglicized Manchester Jews continue to associate with other Jews. The forces that pull Jews towards each other are complex, but mostly have to do with a shared history, background, location and attitudes to life. These are powerful forces: they can embrace even the most secular of Jews. However, many of these 'associational' Jews may well be Jews whose links with the more formally organized community are somewhat tenuous and whose Jewishness is based on emotion more than belief or practice.

Will this situation continue? In general terms, most respondents thought it would. For a variety of reasons individual associations might grow or dwindle, but the overall impression is that informal recreational associations will continue to be important in Manchester's Jewish social life in the foreseeable future. Unquestionably, for many, belonging to Jewish associations is very important. For some, membership in a voluntary association has resulted in or cemented lifelong friendships. A significant number of Jews will continue to associate freely with other Jews in recreational settings. These associations provide unthreatening and non-judgemental places for Jews to meet, whatever their religious denomination or designation. Accordingly, they play a critical and underrated role in maintaining community cohesion.

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Ernest Schlesinger

Ernest Schlesinger

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