Torah with the Way of the Land: The Legacy of German Judaism and Some Questions for Ethically Engaged Jews Today
Hosted By: Valley Beit Midrash
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What is the legacy of German Judaism, and what can it still offer us today? German Judaism began with Moses Mendelssohn’s controversial German translation of the Humash in 1783, and ended with the Nazi pogrom of November 1938. The best known slogan of the Torah-true wing of German Judaism is “Torah im derekh erets” (“Torah with the way of the land”). But this slogan is often misunderstood as nothing more than an educational philosophy that came in one flavor. In fact, it is an ideal of humanity articulated, in several competing versions, in the context of the quest for Jewish civil rights.
The German-Jewish tradition raises vital questions that remain relevant today: What is the mission of Jews within civil society? What makes a Jewish community Jewish? What role should Jews play within the ongoing struggle for social justice and civil rights?
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