Ch 2 judaism in america

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25. Aug 2020

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Ch 2 judaism in america

  1. Albanese Ch 2: Israel In a Promised Land Judaism in America
  2. Some Historical Background • Abraham - Moses - King David - Babylonian Captivity • Roman Diaspora and destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem (66 CE) – Synagogues and Rabbis – Judaism becomes first universal religion • Golden Age of Toleration in Spain (until 1492) - al-Andalus • By end of 15th C. Jews persecuted in all European countries. • Many move to Eastern Europe • Martin Luther and Prot. Reformation bad for Jews. • Catholic Counter-Reformation includes Inquisition to persecute Jews. • Ghetto system started in Naples, Italy - becomes the standard. • The Chosen People: Separation vs. Assimilation
  3. Sacred Texts Tanakh Torah - Law (5 Books, Moses) Nebi’im - Prophets Ketuvim - Wisdom (Jewish Bible, Old Testament) Mishnah (repetition) Commentaries Secondary Laws
  4. Sources of Tradition The Talmud – Offers Additional Commentary on Jewish Mishnah and Torah, Plus Commentary on all Areas of Jewish Life – Divided into 2 Parts: 1. Halachah (the proper way): Legal Material, Debates, Decisions 2. Haggadah (tale, narrative): History, Folklore, Sermons
  5. Other Sources and Traditions • Kabbalah and Messianism • Philosophy – Philo of Alexandria (20-50 CE) – Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) – Barach de Spinoza (1632-1637) • Hasidism (The Pious Ones) – Israel ben Eliezer (Baal Shem Tov or “Master of the Good Name [of God]” (1699-1760) in Poland
  6. Judaism Overview • First of the three Abrahamic Religions • Orthopraxis over Orthodoxy • Small enclaves like Native Americans • Correspondence with Space (Jerusalem) gives way to Time (Passover=exodus from Egypt, not winter solstice) - causality • Difficult to define Judaism: – Beliefs and practices vary among Jews – Some Jews are atheist, but identify as Jewish – Ethnic identity does not equal religious identity – A “Jew” is a person (race) – “Judaism” is a religious system – “Judaic” refers to Jewish culture and tradition, not necessarily religion
  7. Judaism in America 1. Colonial Era 2. New Americans 3. Jewish Divisions 4. Zionism and Holocaust 5. Equality and Civil Rights
  8. 1. Colonial Era • 23 Jews flee Brazil and arrive in New Amsterdam in 1654. • Synagogue built in New York, 1730 • Congregation in Newport, RI in 1649 • Savannah (1733), Charleston (1749), Philadelphia (1747). • Prohibited from worshipping publicly; could not hold public office. • Sephardim - Ladino Tauro Synagogue, Newport, RI
  9. 2. New Americans in the 1800’s • 1800: 1,600 Jews • 1860: 150,000 Jews in America (.5% total population) • 1880: 250,000 • 1900: 750,000 • 1914: 1,740,000 • Joseph Jonas to Cincinnati in 1817 • Isaac Meyer Wise arrives in 1850; “master architect” of Reform Judaism in America. • Ashkenazim - Yiddish Old Jewish Cemetary, Cincinnati
  10. Issues for Jews in 1800’s • Intermarriage: children usually identified as Protestants • Sephardim (from Spain) vs. Ashkenazim (from Central and Eastern Europe) • Early immigrants (educated) vs. later immigrants (not educated) • Rabbi’s as teachers vs. preachers (Isaac Leeser, Philadelphia, 1829) • Need for adaptation - especially in West (Cincinnati) • Garment and retail industries • Too many differences to organize nationally
  11. 3. Jewish Divisions • Diaspora emphasized synagogue and rabbis as center of Jewish life (after final destruction of Temple) • European Jews had separate enclaves with multiple institutions for self-governance. • Modernity and America left only synagogues at the center. A. Reform Judaism B. Conservative Judaism C. Orthodox Judaism D. Reconstructionism
  12. A. Reform Judaism • An attempt to accommodate Judaism to the modern world. • The influence of Moses bar Mendel (1729-1786) “Mendelssohn” • Urged his fellow Jews to enter mainstream modern (German) life • Har Sinai (Baltimore) 1842 • Emanu-El (New York) 1845
  13. Reform Judaism and Isaac Meyer Wise • German rabbi in Albany until 1854, then Cincinnati. • 1873 founds Union of American Hebrew Congregations • 1875 Hebrew Union College • Rejected personal messiah • Equal rights for women • Torah of God (Ten Commandments, unchanging) vs. Torah of Moses (must adapt) • English language in service • By 1880 was dominant form of American Judaism • Kaufmann Kohler (1843-1926) - 1885 Pittsburgh Platform
  14. B. Conservative Judaism • 1883 Shrimp incident at Hebrew Union College • 1886 Jewish Theological Seminary in NYC • Reaction to the extreme nature of the reform movement • Both Hebrew and English in service, men and women sit together, only men’s heads are covered • Diet and observance of the Sabbath is attempted. • “revitalization movement” (57)
  15. Solomon Schechter (1847- 1915) • Great scholar from Oxford invited to lead Jewish Theological Seminary 1902 • United Synagogue of America (Conservative Judaism), 1915 • Founds day schools, emphasizes Halakha (Jewish Law), makes JTS a lasting and prestigious institution • Conservative Judaism absorbs Kaplan’s Reconstructionism and is sympathetic to Zionism
  16. C. Orthodox Judaism • Traditionalists • Heavier emphasis on practice rather than belief. • Sabbath services in synagogues, in Hebrew, men and women separated and heads covered
  17. Issues for Orthodox Judaism • Russia, Romania, Poland, Galicia pressured Jews to leave or convert, leading to mass exodus. Illiterate, various dialects of yiddish, tzaddik village traditions. Very foreign for the mostly German middle-class Jews already in America. • 1935 survey: 75% of Jews ages 15-25 had never attended a religious service. These new Jews seemed to be loosing their religion. – Radical antireligious movements – Zionists – Extreme Piety (Hassidim) • How to bring these odd new Jews into the fold??
  18. D. Reconstructionism • Response to falling away of many east European Jews in 1920’s • Mordecai M. Kaplan (1881- 1983) of Jewish Theological Seminary • Judaism as Civilization (1934) • Institutional Synagogues • Emphasis on Jewishness, less on religion and superstition • Havurah movement
  19. Numbers (Albanese, 2007) 45% Reform 42% Conservative 9% Orthodox 4% Reconstructionism
  20. 4. Zionism and Holocaust • Thoedor Herzl (1860- 1904) • Dreyfus Case • In 1894 French Captain Alfred Dreyfus Accused of Betraying French Military Secrets During Franco- Prussian War • Herzl Covered Dreyfus Case • The Jewish State (1896)
  21. Zionism and Israel • Zionist Movement Centered on Herzl’s Ideas Emerges, Settles on Palestine as Best Site • Early 1900s C.E. Jews Begin Buying and Settling Land in Palestine • In 1909 City of Tel Aviv Founded • By 1920, 50,000 Jews Living in Palestine • By 1928, 100,000 Jews Living in Palestine • Reform Jews resisted Zionism until 1935
  22. Holocaust (“burnt offering”) • Nuremburg Laws of 1935 • 1941: “Final Solution” • Profound Lasting Impact on Judaism • World Jewish Population Reduced by One-Third • Zionism Given a New Moral Imperative among Some Jewish and Non-Jewish Thinkers • Jewish Theology Undergoes Crisis
  23. 5. Equality and Civil Rights • In 1937, only 25% of Jews were involved with a Synagogue • By 1956 almost 65% • 18% attendance rate in 1947, 31% in 1955 (at least once in previous month) • Repeal of exclusionary laws, memberships in private clubs, access to private universities, etc.
  24. Summary • Jews like Protestants in some ways (p. 56) • American religious culture allowed Jewish divisions and freedom from religion and defection. • By 1960’s affluence lead to stirring of spiritual void - especially among younger American Jews (havurah movement and Kabbalah). • State of Israel ended the Diaspora - but most did not want to leave America. The hope of return had been a bonding tie for Jews of the Diaspora, but what now? Holocaust? • Turn to Hasidic communal life; Kabballah; existential theologies of Martin Buber; mystical piety of Abraham Heschel, or “Covenant theologies” that place Jews on an errand for all of humankind (Michael Lerner, Tikkun Magazine); Buddhism, and other alternatives. • 6 Million Jews in U.S. today (2% total population)