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Lavy's Shul : a Canadian experiment in Reconstructionism

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Lavy's Shul : a Canadian experiment in Reconstructionism

Gubbay Helfer, Sharon (2006) Lavy's Shul : a Canadian experiment in Reconstructionism. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Despite the fact that Reconstructionism is often referred to as the only "made-in-America" (USA) Jewish denomination, it was a Canadian community that was the first synagogue anywhere to call itself "Reconstructionist." The founder and guiding figure of Montreal's Reconstructionist Synagogue was Lavy M. Becker, who functioned as the community's "honorary" (unpaid) rabbi in its first phase of development, from 1960 through 1976. Throughout this period, "Lavy's Shul," as it was affectionately known, was a vibrant experiment in Jewish life, a hybrid, containing elements of both havurah and synagogue, whose special character was described by a member of the community as "an assault on the heart and the brain at the same time." This dissertation creates a portrait of this singular community in the context of its time. A framework of thought constructed around the themes of memory, identity, community and narrative is used to highlight the shifting tapestry of collective identities of a changing Canada within a world in flux, which is seen to form the backdrop to this community study. In the foreground, the founding and evolution of the synagogue are portrayed in some depth through profiles of Lavy Becker and of selected members of the founding community. These profiles are complemented by a characterization of community life and the "culture of conversation" that developed there. The interdisciplinary approach used here borrows elements from history and ethnography and is an adaptation of the methodology called "Portraiture"

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Religion
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Gubbay Helfer, Sharon
Pagination:ix, 358 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Religion
Date:2006
Thesis Supervisor(s):Joseph, N
ID Code:9281
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:18 Aug 2011 14:47
Last Modified:18 Aug 2011 14:48
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