From Christian Science to Jewish Science: Spiritual Healing and American Jews

By: Ellen M. Umansky

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During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, thousands of American Jews were drawn to the teachings of Christian Science. Viewing such attraction with alarm, American Reform Rabbis sought to counter Christian Sciences appeal by formulating a Jewish vision of happiness and health. Unlike Christian Science, it acknowledged the benefits of modern medicine yet, sharing the belief in God as the true source of healing, similarly emphasized the power of visualization and affirmative prayer. Though the numbers of those formally affiliated with Jewish would remain small, its emphasis on the connection between mind and body influenced scores of rabbis and thousands if not hundreds of thousands of American Jews, predating contemporary Jewish interest in spiritual healing by more than seventy years. Examining an important and previously unwritten chapter in the story of American Judaism, this book sheds light on religious and social concerns of twentieth-century American Jewry, including ways in which adherence to Jewish Science helped thousands bridge the perceived gap between Judaism and modernity.
Publication Date:
29 / 10 / 2004

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