He has written or edited a dozen books and hundreds of scholarly articles and reports on such issues as Jewish community, Jewish identity, and Jewish education. With Arnold Eisen, he wrote The Jew Within: Self, Family and Community in America. Steven is also the co-author with Charles Liebman of Two Worlds of Judaism: The Israeli and American Experiences, as well as Cosmopolitans and Parochials: Modern Orthodox Jews in America with Samuel Heilman. His earlier books include American Modernity & Jewish Identity and American Assimilation or Jewish Revival? He co-authored A Journey of Heart and Mind: Transformative Jewish in Adulthood, a monograph on Jewish identities of Great Britain, and, most recently, Sacred Strategies: Transforming Synagogues from Functional to Visionary. His current research interests extend to emerging forms of Jewish community and identity among younger Jews in the United States.
Steven serves as Director of the Synagogue Studies Institute of Synagogue 3000 and Director of the Florence G. Heller-JCCA Research Center. He is married to Rabbi Marion Lev-Cohen (HUC-JIR/New York ’10) and they reside in both Jerusalem and New York.
Interested in Dr. Cohen’s take on how American Jewish youth’s engagement? Read more…
Here you can read a deeper dive into Jewish Identity:
“When discussing ‘identity’ of Jews the term ‘identity’ is misleading. When applied to Jews, its connotations are too individual, too static, and too attitudinal. ‘Jewish identity’ is—or should be seen as—a social identity, referring not only to beliefs and attitudes but also to how Jews interact with others, and how Jews act and behave. Judaism and Jewishness place primary emphasis on interaction with other Jews and participation in community and society. There is no accurate word for the complex of Jewish belief, behavior, and belonging. As a result, we employ the term identity for lack of a better one.”
The last ten years have seen an efflorescence of “new Jewish organizing.” Led primarily by Jews in their 20s and 30s, this phenomenon encompasses five domains: spiritual communities (independent minyanim, rabbi-led emergent communities); culture (film-making, magazines, music, drama, etc.); learning (e.g., Limmud); social justice (many areas); and new media (Jewish- oriented pages on the Web; social networking; etc.).Structurally and culturally, new Jewish organizing breaks with prior patterns of Jewish communal life as embodied in the “system,” the long-standing complex of federations, Jewish Community Centers, congregations, defense organizations, and human service agencies.