By Bernard Susser
All through heritage, the persecutions of the Jewish humans were imperative to their id and to the team spirit in their faith and cultural background. yet now, with the good fortune of the Jewish nation of Israel and the prosperity of Jews within the usa, the collective sufferings that experience solid the Jewish identification are disappearing. The compelling query Bernard Susser and Charles Liebman ask in deciding upon Survival is: Will this good fortune sarcastically end up deadly to Judaism? Susser and Liebman paint a irritating portrait of the decline of Judaism in either Israel and the U.S. and the various--and mostly ineffective--efforts to opposite that decline. In Israel, as Jews are more and more attracted to cosmopolitan Western tradition, Jewishness is at risk of being diminished only to communal folkways, whereas political tensions among non secular and secular Jews threaten to tug the kingdom aside. within the united states, assimilation and secularization is even tougher to withstand. Efforts to reinforce Jewish identification through claiming the U.S. continues to be anti-Semitic and by way of pointing to the Holocaust and the threats to Israel's survival haven't labored. The authors do, in spite of the fact that, see a hopeful check in Jewish Orthodoxy which, whereas no longer a attainable approach to the matter, is effectively passing on its tenets and practices and attracting many non-Orthodox Jews. They establish a number of facets of Orthodoxy that may be emulated via all Jews and carry the easiest wish for Jewish survival--its reverence for learn, its skill to set and preserve barriers, and its deep trust in community.For someone excited about the destiny of Judaism and what it ability to be Jewish, selecting Survival is an impassioned, troubling, and crucial ebook.
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Additional info for Choosing Survival: Strategies for a Jewish Future
8 In a word, for religious commitment to truly flower, some form of adversity must be overcome. 5 Gentile hostility has been, overwhelmingly, the single most consistent— one might even say reliable—source of adversity in Jewish history. It has rarely failed to provide the calamities that necessitated ennobling sacrifice and heroism. So much so, indeed, that unremitting Gentile hostility has been both woven deeply into the fabric of Jewish folk wisdom and formalized in Jewish theology. It has, in a basic sense, insinuated itself into the very psychology of Jewish existence.
This page intentionally left blank , amencan jews — four Preserving the Old J mages of Gentile hostility, as we noted, are pivotal to Jewish self-understanding. They underwrite the Jewish worldview and provide traditional concepts such as "the chosen people" and "messianic deliverance" with their most striking vindication. They also afford a comforting rationale for a history replete with tragedy as well as a promise of future redemption and glory. But what if adversity and hostility visibly decline and the traditional images no longer seem appropriate?
And yet, viewed retrospectively from the vantage point of a century and half or so, these attempts have either failed outright or, more often, have slowly reverted to the perceptual status quo ante, that is, to the view that Jewish existence is embattled, disempowered, and insecure. It may well be that to read Jewish history is to develop at least a mild case of paranoia. After the Holocaust there is understandable resistance to the idea that the siege may be ending. The fears and sensitivities accumulated over the centuries have had so many painful reinforcements that they will not be easily swayed by a half-century of relative affluence and security—even if this new reality gives every sign of being essentially different from everything that preceded it.