Rethinking Jewish Faith: The Child of a Survivor Responds

By Steven L. Jacobs | Go to book overview

thanks, and requested to take care of both the deceased and the living.

Again, as has so often been the case with all of these life-cycle events, the understanding of God is that of the historically traditional one of an interactive Deity concerned with and interactive with His Jewish children and the rest of the human community. As an event of cataclysmic proportions, however, the Shoah, is not addressed in any appreciable form for the generation who continues to confront the loss of Six Million Innocents and the religious and theological implications of the absence of God during the years 1933(39)-1945. The need to rethink and rewrite those additional prayers after the Shoah is self-evident. Other Torah-Scripture verses and passages need to be included that refocus these ceremonies and rituals on the human being and human community rather than on God.

What has been suggested in this chapter has been the conscious need to rethink the rationale for all Jewish life-cycle events, supplying new understandings where necessary, modifying others where appropriate, and disregarding entirely both events and understandings where warranted. For those Jews who wish to continue their positive affirmations of their Jewish selves and their involvement in Jewish religious doing after the Shoah, it is now possible to do so without sacrificing either personal integrity, religious sensitivity or historical knowledge. I leave to the creative liturgists of our Jewish world the poetic responsibilities now entailed in the rewriting of these life-cycle events consistent with all of the concerns voiced thus far, turning now to the holiday-festival calendar and an examination of the historically supplied reasons for their doing. Again, the caveat is the same as that applied to the life cycle: The specific manner of observance of this or that Jewish holiday may not necessarily change upon examination in light of the Shoah, but its rationale now needs to be rethought to see if its justification any longer makes sense. The courage to do so and to posit new ideas, modify old ones, and preserve those worthy of preservation is consistent, I do fully believe, with the integrity of the Jewish religious tradition as it has historically evolved over the centuries, always taking into consideration the world events of which we both are a part and a recipient.


Notes
1.
To date, the Reconstructionists have not yet published their own; its colleagues either borrow from the other three movements or create their own expressions.

-61-

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