Why Should Jews Survive?

Why Should Jews Survive? : Looking Past the Holocaust Toward a Jewish Future

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This study argues that a "cult" of the Holocaust exists that is deeply destructive to Jewish identity. It postulates that, within the context of Holocaust-shaped Judaism, the God of the Jews - and the key part of Jewish identity - has been replaced by a sense of victimization and survival at any cost. It urges a recovery of Exodus as the master story of the Jewish people.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 202 pages
  • 162.56 x 236.22 x 25.4mm | 498.95g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195091094
  • 9780195091090

Review Text

An eloquent, brave call to Jewish covenantal fidelity - but 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. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

About Michael Goldberg

About the Author: Michael Goldberg is Rabbi of Congregation B'nai Tikvah in Los Angeles. He was Founding Rabbi of Congregation Lev Chadash, a first-of-its-kind "covenantal" synagogue in Indianapolis, and has held chairs of Jewish Studies at St. John's University (Minnesota) and at the College of William and Mary. He is a founder and principal of Vision Design, a strategic planning consultancy for synagogues and churches, and has served as Special Consultant to the Georgia Supreme Court. His books include Theology and Narrative; Jews and Christians, Getting Our Stories Straight; and Against the Grain: New Approaches to Professional Ethics.show more

Rating details

7 ratings
4.28 out of 5 stars
5 57% (4)
4 29% (2)
3 0% (0)
2 14% (1)
1 0% (0)
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