Simply Jewish: Diaspora Judaism Matters

By Shapiro, Rami | Tikkun, March/April 1998 | Go to article overview

Simply Jewish: Diaspora Judaism Matters


Shapiro, Rami, Tikkun


et me ask you a question: has a reborn Israel led to a reborn Judaism? We have seen the blooming of the desert; but is the soul any less parched? We have seen brown hillsides turn green with new forests; but is the heart any less barren? We have seen brave soldiers push back terrible armies; but is the greater enemymeaninglessness-any less a threat? We have seen an ancient language revived; but is there a new poetry of the spirit? We have seen the rebirth of Orthodoxy; but have we seen the rebirth of Judaism?

I don't think so. The truth is that almost everything fresh and new in Jewish learning and spirituality is coming from the Diaspora, not Israel. Israel is where we go to explore the past, the United States is where we go to create the future.

Why? Because the founders of Israel believed Judaism to be essentially irrelevant to their dream. They had little use for it and happily delegated it to those rabbis for whom they also had little use. Judaism in Israel is, to a great extent, an imitation of Judaism in the shtetl. Where Israel had once given birth to prophets, it now produces clerks. Where Judaism once challenged kings, it now stands on the sidelines of world events. How sad.

And what are we doing about it? We are exporting Reform and Conservative Judaisms from the United States. Who does this benefit? Reform and Conservative rabbis in the United States. The reason these movements are having such difficulty in Israel has less to do with the power of Orthodoxy then it does the irrelevancy of these movements to most Israelis. Liberal Judaism today is a variation of Orthodoxy; it is, as many Orthodox claim, Judaism Lite. Israelis may not dabble in Judaism very often, but like a dieter who chooses to binge once in a while, when they do indulge they want the real thing. When and if Israelis discover a need for American-style liberal Judaism, they know where to find it.

So what should we liberal Jews be doing about the future of Judaism in Israel?

First, we should pressure our Reform and Conservative leaders to cease all efforts to secure parity with the Orthodox, recognizing that we cannot sell a product until we create a market for it. Second, we should endow an Israeli think tank for the reinvention of Judaism-not to conserve, reform, or reconstruct the past, but to boldly and unabashedly invent the future. We should articulate a Judaism as revolutionary and as compelling as that which the Pharisees pitted against their priestly rivals. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Simply Jewish: Diaspora Judaism Matters
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.