Attitudes Towards the Non-Jew in 20th Century Jewish Thought

The issue of the Jewish stance towards the non-Jew recently came to the fore as a result of a rabbinic appeal to refrain from renting homes to non-Jews. The viewpoint expressed in that document can be called religious, on the one hand, and ethnic-nationalist on the other. It is not my intention here to debate this viewpoint, (though I personally reject out of hand the fanaticism manifest in the appeal), but rather to claim that the best of modern Jewish Thought, both Zionist and non-Zionist, takes an entirely different approach to the non-Jew, even though it too is generally founded on a religious and/or ethnic-nationalist basis.

(Post) Modern Alienation and Hope: Zionism as a Longing for Meaning

Jews throughout the world who became ardent Zionists during the 19th and 20th centuries relate the same personal testimony heard time and again in different voices: Zionism was, for them, first and foremost, a personal, existential redemption, a one-time opportunity to endow their lives with meaning. In leaving their homes in the country of their birth, they were not making a sacrifice, but rather reclaiming their souls from assimilation, emptiness, decadence and alienation.

The Father (Herzl) and the Holy (Zionist) Spirit

The amiable short stories and plays penned by Herzl reveal another side of the man, very separate from the political person whose views are better known. This is especially true when it comes to Herzl’s stand on gender issues[note]In so doing, I echo both Avineri’s journey into Herzl’s diaries as the arena for Herzl’s most inner thoughts and revelations, and Stanislawski’s analysis of Herzl’s literature as the haven for his psychological complexity.

Back to the Sources: Some Reflections on the War in the Galilee

On July 25th, a Rabbinical Assembly Solidarity Mission visited the Schechter Institute and met with Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin, President of the Schechter Institute, Rabbi Dr. Einat Ramon, Dean of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary and rabbinical students. We are very grateful for their visit, which included visits to Conservative institutions all over the country. The following article presents the three sources taught by Rabbi Golinkin as well as a fourth source taught by Rabbi Ramon.

Moses and Herzl

The original version of this article appeared in Conservative Judaism 47/1 (Fall 1994), pp. 39-49 and is reprinted here by permission of the Rabbinical Assembly. It was reprinted in Noam Zion and David Dishon, eds., A Leaders’ Guide to a Different Night: The Family Participation Haggadah, The Shalom Hartman Institute, 1997, pp. 90-95 (without the footnotes) and in Robert Golub, ed., Celebrating the Zionist Dream, Mercaz, New York, 1997. My thanks to Dr. Adam Garfinkle for his helpful comments and suggestions regarding the original version. The current version has been revised and updated here in honor of Herzl’s 100th yahrzeit.

Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers

Brothers and sisters of sorrow and pain! With a bowed head and in trembling before the Almighty, we gathered together Sunday evening, April 25 th , to recall and remember our sons and daughters, soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, who fell in the line of duty, defending Israel in her wars, and to recall and remember our brothers and sisters murdered by evil-doers for being Jews loyal to the land of their Forefathers…

Pidyon shvuyim (The Redemption of Captives): How Far Should Israel Go in Order to Redeem Captives from Terrorist Organizations?

For the past few months, Israelis and the Israeli media have been conducting a fierce debate on the subject of pidyon shvuyim (the redemption of captives). Should Israel exchange 400 Arab terrorists including Sheikh Obeid and Mustafa Dirani for Elhanan Tanenbaum and the bodies of three Israeli soldiers kidnapped and killed in Lebanon in October 2000. This has been further complicated by the fact that this exchange will not include Lt. Col. Ron Arad, who was captured in Lebanon seventeen years ago, nor information about his fate, even though Obeid and Dirani were captured by Israel for the express purpose of exchanging them for Ron Arad.