In Light of Bomb Threats, Professor Dollinger Considers History of Jewish Community Centers

Friday, March 03, 2017

J WEEKLY -- Marc Dollinger is the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility at San Francisco State University, where he teaches a course on anti-Semitism. He wrote an op-ed on the history of American Jewish community centers, many of which have recently been the victim of bomb threats.

“With origins in the late 19th century, the modern Jewish community center grew from the vision of Mordecai Kaplan’s notion of Judaism as an evolving civilization, informed by a changing Jewish history and adapting to different varieties of Jewish life from place to place.

“JCCs positioned themselves at the center of the American Jewish experience, lowering the barrier of entry for interested Jews (and non-Jews) to learn about Jewish culture, engage in Jewish learning, socialize with friends and, as a central feature of most centers, exercise their bodies in a holistic approach to defining and expressing their Jewishness.”