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HOME > Classical Novels > On the Eve of Redemption > THE TRUE MEANING OF JEWISH UNIVERSALISM
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 In the course of the long between Jewish nationalists and opponents of Jewish nationalism many have come to believe that those who oppose nationalism stand for universal Judaism, especially since the anti-nationalists call themselves Jewish universalists. After the publication of the declaration of the British Government with regard to Palestine the main anti-nationalistic spokesman in America, Dr. Philipson of Cincinnati, summed up his negative attitude to Zionism with the short sentence, "I stand by my Jewish universalism." One even hears people from the camp of the left proclaiming their Jewish universalism. The impression has thus been created that while the nationalists stand for a petty, conception of Judaism, they, the anti-nationalists, advocate a broad-minded universalism.  
We deem it to examine this Jewish universalism, which is played up today against the nationalistic efforts of our people to re-establish a Homeland in Palestine and to see how far it is sincere in its and compatible with Jewish tradition, and how far it is intellectual . We think it rather curious that those who claim to be Jewish universalists—the radical Reform rabbis and assimilationists from other camps—always lay stress on American, German, French or English Judaism, and often speak of the American Jewish Church or the English Jewish Church, and so . It is also that these Jewish universalists have always worked for a "readjustment" of Judaism to local conditions and have tried to Americanize Judaism in America, to Germanize it in Germany, to Anglicize it in England, to Magyarize it in Hungary, and so forth.
On the other hand, those who were considered as for a petty, provincial conception of Judaism, the nationalists, have not only never tried to do anything of the sort but have always defended the interritoriality and catholicity of Judaism. One never hears a Jewish nationalist here or abroad speaking of an American Jewish Church or an English Jewish Church, and so forth. It seems to us that in view of these facts the sort of universal Judaism as proclaimed by the assimilationists is of rather doubtful origin and character and that it is everything but universal, for it is and provincial to the core. As a matter of fact, Reform Judaism as established by the Reform rabbis in the middle of the nineteenth century, and developed by American rabbis at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, is the first gigantic attempt to break the catholicism of Judaism and to territorialize it, that is to say, to its organic . Reform Judaism is in fact nothing else but territorialism in religious terms, just as Yiddishism is a territorialism in terms. Those who divide Judaism and claim that each part has little or nothing to do with the other, and that each part is organically connected only with its surroundings, that there is such a thing as American Judaism, English Judaism, German Judaism, French Judaism, and so on, stand for the same policy as do the Yiddishists, who divide the Jewish people into ten or fifteen separate groups, claiming that every group is a unit by itself and has nothing to do with the others. According to Yiddishists the Ladino-speaking Jew has scarcely anything in common with the Judeo-German-speaking Jew, just as the Arabic or Greek-speaking Jews have little or nothing in common with the Ladino or Yiddish-speaking Jews. Some express their Jewish territorialism and provincialism in terms of religion, the others in terms of language. Both are opponents of Jewish unity and Jewish catholicism, both are opposed to traditional Judaism, both are opposed to Jewish nationalism that is organically connected with Hebrew, and both are, of course, opposed to a Hebrew Palestine.
Why these people, who, as we have seen, stand for territorialistic Judaism instead of universal, should call themselves Jewish universalists, we are at a loss to understand. The fact that their no............
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