Sadly millions of Jews have left the faith. Others venture forth only hesitantly into a synagogue, now a bastion of fossilized ritual and conspicuous consumption. These millions needed more from the orthodoxy, and this book attempts to show them the way back by giving renewed life to the heritages of Judaism, and, consequently, to its meaning for the modern world. Judaism’s Promise argues for a return to the synagogue’s originating Hellenistic commitment «to come together» in intellectual and moral study. As Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan argued, Judaism must once more become in the 20–21st century the civilization that it once represented to the wider world, and not a fossilized ceremonialism.
Chapter 9: Israel, Judaism: Our Contemporary World Malaise
Israel, Judaism: Our Contemporary World Malaise
History Warns Us
By the close of the 19th century there were many Jews in the developed nations of Europe, especially Germany and Austria, who felt the impending dangers of the gross anti-Semitic hate rhetoric that was filling the minds of these nations. A tiny minority of Jews lived in Germany, a larger minority in the Austrian Empire, mostly the impoverished of the Slavic domains. The Zionists predicted what was to come. A few made their way to Palestine, then under Turkish rule. Most of the poor and still persecuted Jews in Eastern Europe saw the torch of the Statue of Liberty in their minds and attempted to head for the Atlantic ports.
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