Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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(1921-1992) Founder of the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, the first research center devoted to social scientific study of contemporary American Jewry, and the acknowledged "dean" of American Jewish sociology. President of the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry, 1973-1975, which now gives the Marshall Sklare award annually for outstanding scholarship in this field, in his memory.

Born in Chicago, Sklare graduated from both Northwestern University and Chicago's College of Jewish Studies in 1943; M.A., University of Chicago (1948). His Columbia University (1953) doctoral dissertation, Conservative Judaism: An American Religious Movement (Free Press 1955, 1972, 1985), is his best known work and remains a classic, as does his Jewish Identity on the Suburban Frontier: A Study of Survival in an Open Society , with coauthor Joseph Greenblum (Basic Books 1967, 1979). His anthologies—The Jews: Social Patterns of an American Group (Free Press 1958) and The Jew in American Society and The Jewish Community in America (both Behrman 1974)—and the widely used text, America's Jews (Random House 1971), still define the sociology of contemporary Jewish life. Throughout, insights from history and Jewish studies informed his study of religious practices, American Zionism, and Jewish primary and secondary group life.

Sklare served as Study Director for the American Jewish Committee from 1954 to 1966, conducting many survey studies. He was Professor of Sociology at Yeshiva University from 1966 to 1970, before going to Brandeis (1970-1990). He also lectured at Hebrew University (Jerusalem) and Princeton Theological Seminary.

J. Alan Winter and M. Herbert Danzger

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