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For more than forty years there was a single synagogue in the quiet town of Williamette, Oregon. But then disagreements over gender roles, homosexuality, Israeli politics, and other issues tore the synagogue in two. Where there was once one Jewish community under one roof, there are now two hostile congregations--one Reconstructionist, one Orthodox--across the street from one another. Through a year as a participant in both congregations and in-depth interviews, Zuckerman tells a mesmerizing story of this religious schism. Strife in the Sanctuary then contemplates why religious groups split apart and how religious symbols come to mean different things to different groups. The first book-length study of a single congregation breaking in two, Strife in the Sanctuary provides a welcome ethnographic study for sociologists of religion. Plus, its moving story makes it an excellent read for undergraduate classes or anyone interested in religious divisions.
About the Author
Phil Zuckerman is a professor of sociology at Pitzer College.