Jewish Polity and American Civil Society is a study of the civic and political engagements of American Jews as mediated by their communal and denominational institutions. The book explores how the various branches of the organized Jewish community seek to influence public affairs. Over the course of the last century, Jewish agencies and religious movements have tried to shape public debate and public policy on such issues as civil rights, church-state relations, and American foreign policy. The book sets the history of Jewish engagement in these areas into historical context; analyzes the motives, strategies, and tactics of various Jewish groups, and evaluates their successes and failures. The book also explores the underlying idea--the public philosophy--that informs American Jews' understanding of civic and political engagement.