WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A JEW by Charles E. Shulman


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This text, written by a Rabbi, is addressed not only to world Jewry, but to the reader at large. In a first section, Rabbi Shulman, an American, attempts to define Judaism. It is, he asserts, a state emerging from the individual's own sense of value and tradition and from the identification made by non Jews. It is a state accompanied by enormous advantages--adaptability, stamina--and by obvious disadvantages of persecution and frustration. He proceeds to define Judaism as a religious philosophy and traces in outline the lives of several prominent contemporary Jews--Stephen Wise, Israel Zangwill, Ludwig Lewisohn, Sholem Asch, Milton Steinberg, Louis Brandeis, Henrietta Szold, Aaron Gordon. Each is analyzed in terms of his dedication and conflict as precipitated by the state of modern Jewry. He then poses questions of Jewish survival in terms of a distinguishing ethic and way of life, discusses the problems of modern Israel, the dichotomy between Jew and Israeli, and questions the role of the Jew in Diaspora. Not a book for Jews who have regularly and thoroughly pursued questions of Judaism, but an excellent exposition for the Jew and Christian who would become acquainted in a direct and illuminating manner with the basic philosophical problems today confronting Israel and international Jewry.

Pub Date: May 3rd, 1960
Publisher: Crown