History of Judaism Part IV

History of Judaism 4

Enlightenment and emancipation: The shock caused by Sabbatianism prepared the ground for a later Enlightenment in Judaism in Central and Western Europe (Haskala), whose goals (regeneration of the Hebrew language and literature, contemporary education, assimilation), however, did not remain without internal Jewish resistance. Religiously, enlighteners and reformers shifted the emphasis from Torah piety and Kabbalistic mysticism to the ethical monotheism of prophetic Judaism. Messianic hope was replaced by belief in the moral progress of mankind, with Judaism as the forerunner. Christianity as a mixture of Judaism and paganism was assigned the task of missionary mediation. In Reform Judaism, there were adjustments to Christian customs and a far-reaching abandonment of Jewish traditions, more moderate also in conservative Judaism and partly in neo-orthodoxy.

The emancipation also met internal Jewish reservations, as equality was associated with the renunciation of communal and legal autonomy and thus the extensive abolition of Jewish law in favor of uniform state law. In revolutionary France, the Jewish minority was granted emancipation by granting them full citizenship in 1791, in the USA as early as 1776 with the Virginia Bill of Rights. The German states, on the other hand, pursued a policy that granted the Jews legal equality only gradually and also made this dependent on the development of their social and cultural conditions. After a severe setback as a result of the Congress of Vienna from 1815 onwards, emancipation in the individual states proceeded only gradually and in an inconsistent course; Finally, in 1871 the legal equality of Jews in the German Empire was completed (in Belgium in 1831, the Netherlands in 1848, Great Britain in 1858, Italy in 1870, Switzerland in 1874). As a counter-reaction, anti-Semitic parties and groups emerged, soon also with racist tendencies. The modern one Anti-Semitism, in conjunction with conservative-Christian and nationalist, but also socialist resentments, prevented the emancipation achieved in Central and Western Europe from having the full effect despite extensive cultural and national assimilation of the Jewish population.

From 1882 to 1948: Russia (with the majority of Poland) pursued a contradicting policy towards its strong Jewish minority, promoted Jewish enlighteners and assimilants and at the same time restricted settlement and rights, covered by ecclesiastical nationalist forces. After the anti-Jewish pogroms of 1881/82, the enlightenment leaders gave up; the Jewish enlightenment and its assimilation program proved to be a failure. The Russian doctor and writer Leon Pinsker (* 1821, † 1891) gave the impetus for a Palestine-oriented national movement (Palestine settlement movement ) in 1882 with the slogan “Autoemancipation” (emancipation as a nation) Palestine and the Hebrew language established (Zionism). Furthermore, socialist currents emerged: anti-Zionist (Yiddish-speaking) who hoped for the solution of the Jewish question in a classless society, partly also in the sense of national autonomy (territorial or personal autonomy), Zionist with the goal of a Jewish ideal society, pre-formed in kibbutz collective settlements, as well as anarchist groups. At the same time, revolutionary movements became more attractive. These socialist-revolutionary tendencies continued among the emigrants in the West, but were soon overtaken by the process of bourgeoisie.

According to dictionaryforall.com, the self-definition as a nation with a claim to territory and state formation, as represented by the Zionist movement, contradicted the positions of the assimilated majority in the West and also the religious convictions of Orthodoxy. But modern anti-Semitism and v. a. the National Socialist rule in Germany and Europe (1933–45) with its mass murders confirmed the Zionist cause, while the optimistic belief in the moral progress of humanity was broken. The Balfour Declaration von 1917 promoted Zionism, while the British mandate power in Palestine after 1920 pursued a contradicting and at times oppressive policy towards the Zionist settlement movement. In the Diaspora, the identification of many Jews with Zionism increased. Politically, this comprised the entire spectrum of parties, but religiously only a small Orthodox party ( Mizrachi), which, however, gained disproportionate influence.

The destruction of a third of all Judaism during the Nazi persecution of Jews by the Shoah (Holocaust) strengthened the Zionist movement. The Pioneer Society of Jewish Palestine (Jewish Agency for Palestine) and the State of Israel, founded in 1948 according to a UN resolution, offered the possibility of free self-development and self-determination. Nevertheless, the State of Israel can only accept a part of all Jews; the Jewish Agency for Israel, created in 1948, acts for immigration. – Despite their religious indifference, the Zionist pioneers of Palestine became models for a new Jewish self-confidence. This religious indifference made possible an Orthodox-Jewish religious monopoly in Palestine / Israel, which was further consolidated for reasons of coalition politics (Israel, history).

Today’s Judaism is determined in appearance and development by the Jews of Israel and the Jews in the USA (organized in four denominations). In May 1991 the last 15,000 falashas from Ethiopia moved to Israel. – The umbrella organization of the Jews in 70 countries is the World Jewish Congress; the European Jewish Congress and the Central Council of Jews in Germany exist analogously.

History of Judaism 4