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 11: Judaism Reconstituted
The Historic Challenge
The scientific mode of thinking which began to grip the European mind in the 17th century turned into a veritable revolution in our understanding of the natural and human world. The Enlightenment which was the inevitable social and general philosophical outcome of the victory of the scientific method began to seriously impact Jewish life by the mid-eighteenth century.
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