THE NEW JEWS by James A. & Alan L. Mintz -- Eds. Sleeper


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Diverse reflections by young Jews in search of identity in the affluent diaspora where, for better or worse, Judaism is ""an ancillary set of commitments to a basically American way of life."" Much of this, as the title indicates, is a dialogue between the second and third generations. The suburban, success-oriented, melting-pot parents have, willy-nilly, produced children who are radical activists or mystical communards asking that the Jewish tradition accommodate them by revitalizing the 'despised' and 'deviant' strains -- ""mysticism, sectarianism, Hasidism, liturgy, religious poetry. . . non-violence and sensuality."" The most urgently felt and often-repeated prayer is for some response from the ""wedding of Judaism and suburban life"" to the marriage of radicalism and youth culture. A rabbi agrees that Judaism as practiced in Scarsdale and Great Neck will not serve the young girl who said ""my life is too rich and beautiful for Judaism."" A young activist proclaims: ""I am a Jew, an American, a Revolutionary. . . to those who honestly question the compatibility of these categories, I declare my belief that the synthesis is a necessary prerequisite. . . ."" Included are some lukewarm to fervent considerations of Israel and Aliyah (the return), a sharp indictment of Hillel -- ""a structural block to the formation of meaningful Jewish groups on some campuses,"" a call for a ""reworking of the rationale of the legal system,"" and another marginal but interesting summons to use cinematography to realize and disseminate Jewish history and symbol by a young filmmaker who hopes to do for Judaism what Bunuel and Bergman have done for Christianity. All the contributors are earnest and most are intelligent, though there is a certain amorphousness to some of their complaints.

Pub Date: June 14th, 1971
Publisher: Random House--Vintage