Trauma in Judaism
Marty, Martin E., The Christian Century
WHEN THE hyperorthodox wing of the Orthodox rabbinate in the U.S.--more than 500 rabbis strong--declared earlier this year that Jews who belong to Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist or Humanist branches of Judaism are not professing the religion of Judaism, the Jews who had been virtually excommunicated (to use a Christian term) reacted in anguish or anger. The tempers raised by that defining act have not cooled. In the Christian community such a judgment might be brushed off as coming from marginal voices. But Jews are too small and close a family to be able to brush anyone off.
Globally there are 1.9 billion Christians, 1.2 billion Muslims and only 14 million Jews. For comparison, consider that the Southern Baptist Convention has over 15 million members in the U.S. alone. The 2.3 percent of Americans who identify with Judaism make up a cohort one-tenth the size of each of the following three groups: Catholics, mainstream Protestants and evangelical Protestants.
Small families are most aware of internal conflicts, and Judaism is a small family. It cannot afford to lose members, and for it deep internal strife is traumatic. Judaism in the U.S. has lost members through generations of intermarriage. The pace of intermarriage with …
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Publication information: Article title: Trauma in Judaism. Contributors: Marty, Martin E. - Author. Magazine title: The Christian Century. Volume: 114. Issue: 20 Publication date: July 16, 1997. Page number: 643+. © 2009 The Christian Century Foundation. COPYRIGHT 1997 Gale Group.
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