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Religion

Pure Heart

| Filed under: Award Winners, Civil War Era, Civil War in the North, History, Recent Releases, Religion, Understanding Civil War History
Quigley cover

In the summer of 1862, as Union morale ebbed low with home front division over war costs, coming emancipation, and demoralizing battlefield losses, 24-year-old William White Dorr enlisted as a lieutenant in the 121st Pennsylvania Volunteers, a new Union regiment organizing in Philadelphia. His father, the Reverend Benjamin Dorr, rector of Christ Church, Philadelphia, strived to prevent divisions in his congregation from sundering that Episcopal church historically tied to the nation’s founding.

 


Eric Mendelsohn’s Park Synagogue

| Filed under: Architecture & Urban Renewal, Religion, Sacred Landmarks

Eric Mendelsohn’s Park Synagogue tells the story of the construction of The Park Synagogue and examines how Mendelsohn consciously sought to express the ideals and traditions of the congregation and Judaism in its architectural forms. From one of the world’s largest copper-clad domes weighing 680 tons to the shape of the sanctuary and spectacular bimah, Mendelsohn sought to incorporate the architecture into Jewish ritual and worship. He favored dramatic curves of glass walls, circular stairwells, and porthole windows, and he used the circle as a dominant form throughout his career. The Park Synagogue is one of the few Mendelsohn buildings that remains virtually as it was built.

 


Beyond the Plain and Simple

| Filed under: Religion
Stevick Book Cover

Beyond the Plain and Simple reminds readers that although the Amish dress in almost identical clothing, they have distinct personalities and convictions. In vignettes and reflections she reveals the ways in which members of the Amish community live out their faith against the background of their communal culture, all the while emphasizing their individuality. Topics range from Amish family values to women to a retirement community in Florida to an Amish intellectual. Stevick’s eloquent narration is descriptive rather than expository as she often draws comparisons between Amish society and mainstream society, sometimes preferring the Amish ways and at other times questioning them. Beyond the Plain and Simple portrays the Amish as dynamic people who experience struggles, failures, and successes not unique to their community.

 


Inside Looking Out

| Filed under: History, Regional Interest, Religion

The Cleveland Jewish Orphan Asylum was for fifty years (1868-1918) the home for some 3,500 boys and girls, most of them immigrants from Eastern Europe. Gary Polster’s study examines the efforts of the more acculturated German Jews of Cleveland to “Americanize” and make good workers of the newcomers, and to teach a Judaism quite removed from the Yiddish culture and religious orthodoxy of Eastern Europe. The dominant figure at the asylum during the formative years was Samuel Wofenstein (1841-1921), a native of Moravia who by the age of 22 had earned both a rabbinical degree and a Ph.D in philosophy.

 


Peace and Persistence

| Filed under: Religion
Heisey Book Cover

In the first half of the 20th century, American society mobilized for the three great wars: World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. During this tumultuous period the Brethren in Christ joined other pacifists in opposing participation in the mobilizations. Like the Amish, Mennonites, and Church of the Brethren—other groups descended from sixteenth-century European Anabaptists—the Brethren in Christ held nonresistant pacifism as a fundamental aspect of their identity. They carried out their peace witness, however, not as an isolated community but as one integrated economically, technologically, and culturally into American society.

 


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