May 5, 2019

A RELIGION, NOT A RACE:

A Chaplain. A Rabbi. A Professor. An Editor. A Soldier. These Are the Faces of Jewish America: We sat down with five very different figures, all Jewish, all American, to discuss the tectonic shifts taking place within U.S. Jewry (Yair Ettinger, 5/05/19, Ha'aretz)

Groundbreaking U.S. Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, who heads the Central Synagogue in midtown Manhattan, explains why she changed her position on Jewish intermarriage, and what it's like to be the face of Judaism for many Americans, while still not being kosher enough for Israel. 

"When I go to Israel, in some way I feel deeply at home. I also feel...like I am a unicorn or a freak. Being a female rabbi is still a little strange for most Israelis, and being Asian and Jewish - I represent a Judaism that basically does not exist in Israel. There is still peoplehood, but I bring a whole other cultural identity as a Korean woman. There are many Israelis for whom their identity is nationality and ethnicity." 

"There are two unlikely keys to [Jewish] survival, which are both relevant and irrelevant to the present century. The first key is assimilation, in the absence of which Jewish culture would have stagnated long ago. The second component - which is crucial and plays a dialectic role together with the first factor - is anti-Semitism. I'm of course talking about anti-Semitism in nonlethal doses. Without assimilation, there would be no absorption of the cultural norms and habits of the host society; but without anti-Semitism there would be no limits to this process of integration nor affirmation of Jewish difference." [...]

Prof. David Myers, a historian, finds it hard to define himself as a Zionist, and at the same time he calls himself a "tribal Jew" who thinks it will be "a serious blow" if his daughters get married outside of the tribe. 

Posted by at May 5, 2019 10:46 AM

  

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