The Jewish Condition

Overview

This brilliant set of essays poses the paradigmatic question: are Jews in grave danger today or not? Concern is rooted in the storm clouds of 1938, when the same question arose just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War and the Holocaust. The contributors do not presume that the events of seventy years ago are identical with those today, or that they emanate from the same sources. However, the shared feeling is that Jewish communities worldwide are very much, once again ...

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Overview

This brilliant set of essays poses the paradigmatic question: are Jews in grave danger today or not? Concern is rooted in the storm clouds of 1938, when the same question arose just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War and the Holocaust. The contributors do not presume that the events of seventy years ago are identical with those today, or that they emanate from the same sources. However, the shared feeling is that Jewish communities worldwide are very much, once again at risk.

In post-1938 Germany, the Nazi state began its march toward world conquest, with the destruction of European Jewry as its centerpiece. In an act of willful blindness, Western democratic leaders chose to negotiate and appease the Hitler regime. Many Jewish leaders also chose to minimize the risks. Seven years later, over 50 million people, including six million Jews had been killed. In 2008, extremist Islamic forces have spawned a global Jihad. State-sponsored terrorism, a war against the West as well as against moderate Islamic states, once again holds the destruction of the Jewish people, and in particular the State of Israel, as a critical goal. The Iranian leadership proclaims that "a world without America and Israel is both possible and feasible." Against such a diplomatic and historical background a conference was organized resulting in these essays written by Alan Dershowitz, Norman Podhoretz, Michael Walzer, Leonard Fein, and David Pryce-Jones among others. The results are varied at the policy level, but unified in apprehending a disturbing revival of inherited hatred and anti-Semitic outbreaks against Jews both within and outside of Europe. The is a compelling effort that merits the attention of social scientists, policy makers, and those interested in international relations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The essays are well edited and easy to read for the scholar or layman. Included at the end of the book is a short biography of each speaker as well as an index. This timely and important book is recommended for all libraries."
— Ilka Gordon, Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412808026
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/15/2008
  • Pages: 180
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

William B. Helmreich is professor of sociology at CUNY Graduate Center and City College of New York and served as director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Queens College. He is author of eleven books, including The World of the Yeshiva: An Intimate Portrait of American Orthodoxy and Against All Odds: Holocaust Survivors and the Successful Lives They Made in America, which won the 1993 National Jewish Book Award.

Mark Rosenblum is director of the Jewish Studies Program and associate professor of history at Queens College.

David Schimel holds a law degree from New York Law School and several advanced degrees from Columbia University. He is co-author of Trade for Freedom.

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Table of Contents

Introduction William B. Helnireich Helnireich, William B.

Preface Mark Rosenblum Rosenblum, Mark

Cognitive Dissonance or Denial? - Perhaps Both David Schimel Schimel, David

1 Back to the Future: Is it 1938 Again? Malcolm Hoenlein Hoenlein, Malcolm 1

2 Lessons from the Past: Hopes for the Future Leonard Fein Fein, Leonard 13

3 What is Living and What is Dead in Jewish Twentieth-Century History? Irving Louis Horowitz Horowitz, Irving Louis 21

4 Can We Choose Politically between Right and Left? Michael Walzer Walzer, Michael 33

5 Echoes of 1938 Alan Dershowitz Dershowitz, Alan 39

6 The Case for Bombing Iran Norman Podhoretz Podhoretz, Norman 45

7 The Right of World Jewry to Criticize Israel Moshe Halbertal Halbertal, Moshe 57

8 The Ethical Limits and Ways of Criticizing Israel Blu Greenberg Greenberg, Blu 61

9 Diaspora Criticism and Advocacy Jeff Helmreich Helmreich, Jeff 67

10 Saving American Jewry: Demography, Politics, and Destiny Jack Wertheimer Wertheimer, Jack 75

11 1938 as a Paradigm Lawrence Grossman Grossman, Lawrence 91

12 From Hatred to Love: Is it Good - or Bad - for the Jews? Samuel Heilman Heilman, Samuel 99

13 Facing Armageddon - Evangelicals and the Jews Yechiel Eckstein Eckstein, Yechiel 103

14 Social Justice and Jewish Survival David Saperstein Saperstein, David 111

15 Europe's "Terrible Transformation?" David Pryce-Jones Pryce-Jones, David 119

16 If Israel Ceased to Exist Hillel Halkin Halkin, Hillel 127

17 Challenges and Dangers Facing American Jewry David Harris Harris, David 139

18 Dilemmas of Jewish Survival as Seen through the Prism of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Susannah Heschel Heschel, Susannah145

Contributors 153

Index 159

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