WHY SHOULD JEWS SURVIVE? by Michael Goldberg


Looking Past the Holocaust toward a Jewish Future
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 An eloquent, brave call to Jewish covenantal fidelitybut a jeremiad that may go as unheeded as that of the prophet himself. The author, a congregational rabbi in Los Angeles and founder of a synagogue consulting firm, is as anti-Reform and anti-Orthodox as he is anti-Zionist and anti-secular. The book's courage is never in question, however; God is the clear hero and ``chief survivor'' in a work that attacks ``civil Judaism's'' false idol of Holocaustism and (secular) Zionism's ``idolatrous belief that only the State of Israel can ensure Jewish survival.'' Jewish survival merely to spite Hitler is meaningless, explains Goldberg, in an America where more Jewish children have been lost to assimilation and intermarriage than were killed in Europe's crematoria. The author cites biblical prooftexts to show that secular Judaism's cult of victimhood offers neither a successful strategy for Jewish continuity nor any moral currency. But just when the average reader might be won over by the insightful glimpses into the central Exodus-Sinai story of Judaism, Goldberg goes on to equate expelled Hamas terrorists to innocent, exiled Jews. The author is so post- post-Holocaust that he wonders why Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust high priest, was silent when rioting Palestinians were sent to detention camps. After alienating Zionists, he dares a Christian-style appeal to disaffected Jews by positing the Holocaust and rise of Israel as the ``Jewish People's `Easter': raised up from the Good Friday of the Holocaust, brought back from the dead, made alive again by the power of God!'' Goldberg would blame the Orthodox for not converting non-Jews, and the Reform for doing it so flippantly. Why should Jews survive? Not because they owe it to the six million Holocaust dead, concludes Goldberg, but ``because they are the linchpin in [God's] redemption of the world.'' There are ample chapter notes and a full glossary. Goldberg's erudite passion deserves the ear of the masses.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-19-509109-4
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Oxford Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1995


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