Living with Israel – Can Judaism Survive a Return to Zion?
These videos are of the fourth lecture in the series held on 17th April 2016
Q & A Session
Scattered across the four corners of the earth for centuries, Judaism became in many ways a timeless religion. The birth of Zionism, however, suddenly thrust it back into the realm of history. It unleashed powerful messianic sentiments, hitherto repressed, and thereby changed the course of Jewish history in a dramatic way.
The sight of a Jewish army heading into battle revolutionised our conceptions of divine-human interaction. The significance of the Land of Israel was renewed in a very literal sense, to the point of becoming an object of worship. Our understanding of Jewish peoplehood evolved in ways that stressed particularism and exclusivity, often leading to dangerous forms of racism against non-Jews. Finally, in light of the constant threat posed by Israel’s neighbours, the values of justice and compassion found themselves challenged by the demands of self-defence and security.
How can we respond to these developments in a balanced and meaningful way? How can we compromise on these issues without losing something of the essence of Judaism? These and many other challenges form the background for our reflections, as we attempt to think honestly and rigorously about the sort of Judaism we wish to embrace in our lives.