Does the World Need the Jews? Rethinking Chosenness and American Jewish Identity

by Daniel Gordis

Book, 1997



Call number

655 GOR


New York : Scribner, c1997.


"What would happen if the world woke up one day and there were simply no Jews left? Would the world be worse off? In Does the World Need the Jews?, Rabbi Daniel Gordis suggests that on the eve of the twenty-first century, one of the chief sources of malaise among contemporary Jews is that many cannot answer this critical question. Though many Jewish community leaders now speak of an American Jewish "continuity crisis," Gordis sees a very different problem. The issue, he argues, is not continuity, but identity. American Jews simply have no conception of why they matter or what their tradition stands for." "In this sure-to-be-controversial book, Gordis argues that by assimilating so thoroughly into American culture, Jews have lost their distinctive voice. He contends that important elements of American culture - among them the political left as well as the right, multiculturalism, new forms of anti-Semitism - undermine American Jewish identity. Gordis suggests that American Jews must be willing to stand out rather than blend in, and he urges a return to the substance and richness of Jewish tradition." "Rather than simply point to the problem, Does the World Need the Jews? offers solutions. Gordis's vision of an American Jewish future filled with meaning and significance takes us through discussions of abortion and capital punishment, a critique of the "Judeo-Christian" tradition, the problem of Jewish identity on university campuses and a defense of Jewish life in the Diaspora, among many others. What emerges is a dramatic and compelling agenda for American Jews who want to believe that Judaism still has a reason to survive."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved… (more)


0684803895 / 9780684803890

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