Rethinking Jewish Faith: The Child of a Survivor Responds

By Steven L. Jacobs | Go to book overview

marish tragedy to revisit us. And, universally, in a nuclear world capable of both genocide and omnicide, German Pastor Martin Niemoeller's oft-quoted statement rings aloud with new clarity and urgency. 8 Our world grows continually smaller and more interdependent economically, ecologically, and politically; the threat of universal destruction ecologically, militarily, nuclearly likewise remains an ever-present dark shadow upon planet earth. Recognition of our common need to enter into "covenants of dialogue" for our own mutually assured survival becomes paramount. After the Shoah, it has become morally, ethically, religiously, and theologically imperative that Jews and Judaism and Christians and Christianity demonstrate, by their commitment to overcoming their past, the potential for goodness and shared respect that yet remains in both the present and the future. I hope, before it is too late, it is a demonstration from which all can learn.

We come now to the last chapter in this initial exploration of rethinking Jewish faith after the Shoah. At best, it is a summary of what has been previously written, pointing us toward a theological dialogue that has yet to take place stripped of all the heightened emotionalism and steadfast clinging to the past which has produced far more heat than light. That this volume has somehow contributed to that dialogue is more than ample repayment for the anguish it produced though never for the historical events that called it into being.


Notes
1
New York: Ktav Publishing House, 1973.
2
Here I am somewhat indebted to the writings and teachings of both Ellis Rivkin and the late Samuel Sandmel, alav hashalom, among others.
3
The writings of James Charlesworth, Paula Frederiksen, John P. Meier, Jacob Neusner, Sharon H. Ringe, E. P. Sanders, Elizabeth SchusslerFiorenza, John Townsend, and Clark Williamson come readily to mind.
4
The question of the Divine-human nature of the Christ is not one to be explored here for the obvious reason that this is a primary faith claim of Christianity, growing as it does out of the New Testament text, interpretively affirmed according to its own understanding by the Hebrew Scriptures, a faith claim that is not in accord with a Jewish understanding of either God or the messiah. At best, perhaps, all we can say is that it is one of those religiously sensitive areas about which we agree to disagree and always shall do so.

-96-

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