New Article: Rosenberg, Is Israel Good for the Diaspora?

Rosenberg, Göran. “Is Israel Good for the Diaspora? Jewish Quarterly 62.2 (2015): 28-34.





So, where does the Jewish Diaspora go from here? On the one hand, I believe we might expect a further widening of the gap between Zion in its present-day nationalistic manifestation, and the Jewish Diaspora as a manifestation of religious pluralism and spiritual universalism. The Jewish Diaspora will then increasingly evolve into exilic community like most others, held together by a common ancestry and history, nourished by a common fear of antisemitism and a common affinity with a not-so-common nation-state.
On the other hand, we might expect—or in my case at least hope for—a revival of that strand of Judaism that Marcus Ehrenpreis was dreaming of in March of 1945, reconnecting in new ways and under wholly new circumstances, to the spiritual heritage of the Jewish Diaspora, to make the texts and tenets of Judaism known and relevant to new generations of Jews and non-Jews alike, to make the Jewish Diaspora into something more than a passive affiliate to Zion. This is to say, to find a new path for Judaism between Zion and Diaspora. A modest attempt is actually being made in Sweden, of all places, where in 2000, The European Institute for Jewish Studies, Paideia, was founded with support from the Swedish government. At Paideia, some twenty students from all over Europe—Jews and non-Jews alike—spend a year of study in close and critical contact with Jewish texts and text traditions (full disclosure, I am a proud board member). This is how Paideia has formulated its mission:

Dedicated to the revival of Jewish culture in Europe, Paideia educates leaders for Europe—academicians, artists and community activists—towards fluency in the Jewish textual sources that have served as the wellsprings of Jewish civilization. In renewing interpretation of Jewish text, Paideia is reviving a European Jewish voice long silenced by Communism and post-Holocaust trauma—a voice that can contribute to a culturally rich and pluralistic Europe
It is perhaps no coincidence that in 2011, a link was established between Paideia and the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien in Heidelberg, creating a joint Master’s program in Jewish Civilizations, contributing “towards a European Jewish culture that is a dynamic, open and inclusive learning community, in conversation both with the Jewish textual sources and with society.”


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