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If not a good man, what then?

Reader comment on item: The Orthodox Future of Judaism

Submitted by Oscar Laurens Schrover (Netherlands), Jan 26, 2005 at 12:57

The main thesis of this agument is clear: 'the resurgence of the Orthodox element is especially due to a tendency among the
non-Orthodox to marry non-Jews and to have fewer children.'

This is a social-demographic reality that is based on a simple fact that orthodox tend to have large families.

The same of course goes for islamists and orthodox catholics and those who seek to promulgate God's ends through demography.
What is particulary striking to a European, I mean the argument itself, is that the children from these 'mixed marriages' are not taken up on their responsibility to take care of their their share in Jewish heritage.

This may not be a very halachic stance, but I do remember, that the Holocaust did not run along religious lines, that the Germans did not decide on the basis of the 13 articles of Faith, that is to say: the people were not questioned on their adherence to the mitzvot (commandments), but were selected on parentage (mixed marriage or not).. And that meant families were broken up, liberal and orthodox and mixed families, and members deported—converts included.

An example cited by one of the judges presiding the Neurenberg trial, judge Frankfurter (if I remember well) is that of the Löb
family. The catholic side of the family, seven monks and nuns were simply murdered in the concentration camps, the Germans were not interested in religious details, they did not ask for a certificate from the rabbinate.

I know someone whose family has perished at mutiple ends, catholic and jewish, and atheist; he existed between three worlds,
without and within, Jewish, non-Jewish, Dutch, German.. Still, he felt responsibility towards his personal part of history. HIs Jewishness. And there will be more to share their part in history.

Then why not try to call upon those of mixed marriages and share with them that part of which they are, if they like it or not, heirs.
Of course the article is a historian's perspective on the long-term prospects as they appear to the author.

But then again, whatever we do that affects our world, and though reality must be described – by historians like Daniel Pipes – the final analysis and argument concerns the conclusions we draw from our description of reality as historian or man, simply man. And this we do in order to enter, as the founder Jefferson stated, a perpetual state revolution—that is a state of perpetual renewal of ourselves measured against our freedoms and liberties..

History seeks to understand the past and wants us to draw lessons from that past, history fortifies, as an academic discipline and a source for past wisdom which the Russian philosopher Nicolaus Bjerdjajev called literary history-wisdom (in Der Sinn der Geschichte (Darmstadt: Reichl Verlag, 1925) cements our arguments, and amplifies instruction. But the historian must know that the heart has a direction that wants to steer the reader.

There will be, no, must be some goal in describing a historical perspective.. It is, I must confess, hard to believe in what the sociologist Wever called 'der freischwebende' Intellectual. All that rhetorics must have a purpose—that is at least what Cicero and Quintilian learn and teach, and if not be a good man, what then?

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