But If You’re Going to be Jewish About It…

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6 Responses

  1. Ori Pomerantz says:

    The Forward started as a newspaper for Jews who left observance when they left the traditional Jewish society where they grew up. It might not be the proudest part of its history, but it’s worth remembering.

    Those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it. It might be a good idea for young Orthodox Jews to learn about Haskala and how a large portion of Jews decided to leave Torah uMitzvot, and why. It will tell them what not to do when they grow up and lead the community, so that the following generation will not leave.

  2. Jewish Observer says:

    ” It might be a good idea for young Orthodox Jews to learn about Haskala”

    – this can be a featured topic at the next Agudah convention

  3. Bob Miller says:

    Rabbi Menken said, “Unsurprisingly, neither the weekly Yated Ne’eman nor HaModia plan issues for Chol HaMoed. Considering the ongoing transformation in American Jewish life, how long will it be before the Forward joins them?”

    If this trend causes the Forward and other such papers to really join them, through mergers, we could then see some interesting compound newspaper names like those NY used to have (Journal American, Herald Tribune, World Telegram & Sun…) How about “Forverts Ne’eman” ?

  4. Micha Berger says:

    Mr / Rabbi Pomerantz,

    There are also many orthodox maskilim of some renown: the Maharatz Chajes (according to Beruriah Hutner’s PhD thesis), R’ Mendel (Leffin) Satanover (author of Cheshbon haNefesh) leap to mind.

    Moses Mendelsohnn, for whatever his beliefs turned into, personally was shomer Shabbos, kept kashrus and as far as we know taharas hamishpachah, and believed Maimonides’ 13 articles (although he didn’t believe one was obligated to).

    The truth of it most Orthodox Jews today are Maskilim… How many of us send our children to Elementary and High Schools that have secular studies — maths, sciences, the local language, literature? Even in Williamburg, Brooklyn or Gateshead. The Maskilim won!

    I wonder how many children we would have saved in the 19th cent had we taken this step then rather than our pulling up the drawbridge in a fight against Russification. Kelm had a gymnasia as a feeder High School, as long as the Alter was alive. Other yeshivos saw that the Russians turned such studies into an assimilation strategy, and therefore saw no alternative but to resist. Thus many were lost.


  5. Bob Miller says:

    Micha Berger,

    What is your definition of a Maskil?
    How does it apply or not apply to the Rishonim in “Golden Age” Spain?
    Or to the Central European “Torah im Derech Eretz” Orthodox communities (separatist or integrated) of the past?

  6. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Micha Berger & Bob Miller,

    I am certainly not a Rabbi. When I learned Jewish History is school in Israel, “Tnu’at HaHaskala” was used for the Jews who left off religious observance in the 19th and early 20th centuries, such as Bialik. That was the sense I meant.

    This is a different sense than “Torah im Derech Eretz”, which seems to me to be just the common sense of the matter. G-d doesn’t expect us to rely on miracles for a living, and these days a lot of secular subjects are necessary just to get a good job.

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