To appreciate what is distinctive about the contemporary politics of American Jews (as well as what it has in common with the political behaviour of Jews in other times and other places), we begin with an analysis of different patterns of Jewish politics. These are broad models-theoretical approximations combining the essential elements of these different patterns that serve as measuring rods for understanding and comparing diverse and complex particular historical situations. While three such patterns are identified, and discussed heretraditional Jewish politics; modern Jewish politics; and the new Jewish politicsthe major part of the article is devoted to the latter.