Toward a Jewish Theology of Liberation: The Challenge of the 21st Century

By Marc H. Ellis | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
The Cost of Empowerment

Immersion in the Holocaust event represents a critique of contemporary religion and humanism, in both the theoretical and the practical realms; it demands a rethinking of where we have come from and where we are going. In one sense, the Holocaust is a Christian and Western inheritance, and its victims cry out for justice. Yet, in another sense, the Jewish community carries forth this memory and, therefore, has a special task: to be faithful.

The Jewish writers analyzed earlier pose the question of fidelity in the stark terms of the Holocaust memory, the survival of a decimated people, and Jewish political empowerment in the state of Israel. The price now, however, seems prohibitive. The rise of the neoconservative movement in North America, with its visible and articulate Jewish component, initially exemplified by Norman Podhoretz, editor of Commentary magazine, Irving Kristol, coeditor of The Public Interest, and now Jews like Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of State, as well as the ascendancy to power in Israel of religious and secular expansionists, exemplified by recent prime ministers Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon, begins to cloud the horizon.

Jewish political empowerment is confronted by the marginalized populations of North America and the Third World. An ever-growing, displaced Palestinian people challenges the integrity of the state of Israel. The desire to remain a victim is evidence of disease; yet, to become a conqueror after having been a victim is a recipe for moral suicide.

It is not too much to claim that the acquired values of the Jewish people, discovered and hammered out over a history of suffering and struggle, are in danger of dissipation. In our liberation, our memory of

-31-

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Toward a Jewish Theology of Liberation: The Challenge of the 21st Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - A Shattered Witness 15
  • Chapter 2 - The Cost of Empowerment 31
  • Chapter 3 - Memory as Burden and Possibility 51
  • Chapter 4 - A Tradition of Dissent 75
  • Chapter 5 - Toward an Inclusive Liturgy of Destruction 115
  • Chapter 6 - Liberation Struggles and the Jewish Community 145
  • Chapter 7 - From Holocaust to Solidarity 203
  • Epilogue - The Coming of Constantinian and Evangelical Judaism 227
  • Notes 235
  • Index 253
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