Neighborhoods have always played a distinctly important role in American public life. The neighborhood is the most intimate public setting outside of the home, the place where mediating institutions of common life—schools, stores, gyms, houses of worship—connect citizens to each other. American neighborhoods, however, have lately grown fragile and unhealthy, reflecting the nation’s loneliness epidemic, its underwhelming public education system, its demoralized society.

Seth Kaplan is the author of Fragile Neighborhoods, a new book that diagnoses these dilemmas and that offers practical steps to nurse neighborhoods back to health. He joins Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver to discuss how Jewish neighborhoods might serve as models that could inspire other communities in the United States.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.