Fate and Faith: The Contemporary Jewish Scene

Fate and Faith: The Contemporary Jewish Scene

Fate and Faith: The Contemporary Jewish Scene

Fate and Faith: The Contemporary Jewish Scene

Excerpt

More than twenty years ago, when the ravages of the war laid waste cities and villages in most areas of our globe, and the European Jewish communities were brought face to face with the Nazi hordes, the teachers engaged in secondary and higher Jewish education had to deal with groups of frustrated, confused and depressed students. Reverberations of Jewish woe echoed throughout our atmosphere and agitated our spirits. It was then that I, a teacher of history, decided to discuss with my students the nature of the Jewish problem in the light of the past and in relation to the actualities of Jewish life between the two world wars. By so doing, I hoped to bolster our common morale, teacher and pupil alike. My lecture notes were subsequently revised and edited and, in 1943, my book Jewish Life in Our Times was published.

In that volume I surveyed the religio-cultural and organizational life of the Jews, endeavoring to strike a note of optimism by pointing up those values of our heritage which stood the test of time and which motivated our people not to despair but to keep on struggling for survival. In the preface to that book I expressed the hope that "justice and righteousness will emerge victorious and that Jewish life will be more secure in the world of tomorrow."

Twenty years have elapsed. Radical changes have taken place in the Jewish world. While justice emerged victorious and the Allied Forces defeated the Nazis and set out to heal the wounds inflicted by the war, the Jews had meanwhile paid the price with their very lives. The great European Jewish community was destroyed. Six million Jews met a horrible death at the hands of the Nazi savages and their collaborators. But after this unprecedented annihilation of more than one-third of the world Jewish population, and out of the depths of our people's sorrow, there came into being the State of Israel. These two historic events, the liquidation of the . . .

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