The Crisis of Modernity and Jewish Responses

Reuven Firestone

in Holy War in Judaism

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199860302
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950621 | DOI:
The Crisis of Modernity and Jewish Responses

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Modernity represented a crisis for Jewish continuity since it effectively challenged the authority of the tradition that had served as the glue holding most of the Jewish people together for nearly two millennia. Traditional Jewish identities in the European milieu were replaced in the religious spectrum by Reform, Conservative, neo-Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Judaism, and in the secular spectrum by the Jewish “enlightenment” (haskalah), various political movements, and Jewish nationalisms including Zionism. For most Jews the old paradigms were re-evaluated and often rejected, and emerging Zionism began to challenge the rabbinic instruments that had hitherto prevented mass immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel. Thus erupted a conflict among religious Jews as to whether or not Zionism was an acceptable Jewish movement. Most religious (or Orthodox) Jews rejected Zionism, while a stalwart few were active in what was becoming a largely secular Jewish national movement to return Jews to the Land of Israel and develop it.

Keywords: Reform; orthodoxy; Haskalah; Zionism; Enlightenment; Nationalism; Herzl; Pale of Settlement; Jacob Reines; Mizrachi; Hapoel Hamizrachi

Chapter.  9657 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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