About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

The Jewish Leadership Experience

A Foundational Report of Findings and Observations from an Exploratory Assessment of the History and Evolution of the Concept of Leadership with Reference to the Development of an African Leadership Approach


Given that the South African political economy has been and continues to operate under and through leadership and management approaches and systems that were inherited from the west, the researchers considered it prudent to look elsewhere for models that may offer angles that are vastly different from what we already know or have. The interim research study suggested that the incoming black majority is not entirely comfortable with the idea of continuing to force-feed future leaders and managers with western or European concepts that have to date made foreign- or western-trained African leaders hopelessly damaged goods.

The point must be made that the western or European leadership model remains the yardstick against which to measure and compare whatever new models South Africans may choose to develop. At the same time, the point must be made that the search for an African leadership model is motivated by a long-felt need to come with an approach that is more sensitive and responsive to African people's experience, aspirations and needs. The issue here is not about abandoning what we already have and know but it is about improving what we have and know. It is about turning to something that has something we instinctively know and can identify with. Something that is indigenous, more comfortable and yet not learned by rote.

Subsequent phases of the African leadership initiative will have more scope and flexibility to scrutinize specific shades of western leadership e.g. German, Italian, French, English, Portuguese and so forth. The South African political economy has benefited from the infusion of different leadership and managerial knowledge and expertise made by members of the respective European and other western ethnic groups or communities who have lived and worked in this country. Findings from the interim research suggest that there is still more to learn or improve, for example, the entrepreneurship of several European leadership models, viz., Italian, Portuguese, Swiss and so forth. Africa has yet to benefit from the best that German leadership has to offer in fields such as mechanical engineering and manufacturing; or English and French enterprise management.

The foregoing arguments were applied in the case of American and Oriental leadership models. Although American leadership/management is far more readily available to Americans and non-Americans, this model presents some serious points of practical discomfort to African leadership. Its main shortcoming appears to lie in the fact that it is generally designed to work well within societies and communities which have a great deal of cultural homogeneity and size. Many African countries, South Africa included, have tried and failed to implement with desired effect, transplanted American leadership models. Although simpler, practical and high in appeal, elements of the American leadership model – like good wine – do not travel well over long distances. The same appears to hold true for Japanese, Chinese or Malaysian leadership models. They are all designed to work with maximum effect within their own indigenous cultural milieus.

1. The Jewish Leadership Model

As South Africa enters the post-apartheid reconstruction period, we believe it has a lot to borrow from the Jewish book of experience. We are not referring here to Jewish contributions or achievements within the context of the political dynamics of the Middle East. The reconstruction we have in mind is about the rebuilding of such primary ingredients of institutional life as individual, family and communal values. Therefore, the entire report has attempted to provide as much detail as is necessary to ensure that the non-Jewish reader gets a relatively good picture of key aspects of Jewish life, obligations, aspirations as well as paradoxes and ambiguities.

The objective of this analysis is to provide concise information that will enhance the reader's awareness of the Jewish leadership experiences and how these experiences may be used to inform our own leadership development programmes. As has been mentioned elsewhere in this document, the study of Jewish leadership styles and Jewish leaders and their behaviour will, in turn, look at Jewish ethnic-nationalistic characteristics including customs and rituals; Jewish philosophical thought; ethics and morality; achievements and contributions to civilization – in general and in particular Jewish history, self-image, and Jewish perceptions of and relationships with the world of the Gentiles. The analysis will, where pertinent, draw comparisons between the experiences of Jews and those of indigenous South Africans. Similarly, attempts will be made to draw parallels between modern/contemporary Jewish and South African leaders and their leadership styles.

The presentation of points, issues, arguments and assumptions about Jews and Jewish life themes is intended to serve as a working guide rather than an intellectual piece or academic thesis. Written as it were from a non-Jewish point of view, the report will fall short, mis-state, over- or under-emphasize the relevance or significance of issues and events that are likely to be viewed differently from inside Jewry. This is a work-in-progress document and, as such, will benefit immensely from constructive criticism no matter how robust.

Of all the various leadership approaches, the Jewish leadership model appears to offer the most angles and similarities that South Africans have little or no problem with. While Jews may not have established an illustrious political leadership track record within the state of Israel, their legendary impact and effectiveness is well known within most other fields of human endeavour. The interim research has revealed, among other things, that the Jewish world shares many experiences and values with many of South Africa's multi-ethnic communities. The researchers took the view that, given their history and experience with humankind's longest struggles, Jews have something different yet more relevant to offer to the process of African leadership development.

Most importantly, the aspect of Jewish contribution fascinated the researchers was that which deals more directly with the internal dynamics and workings of the Jewish way of life. We are referring here to Jewish religion and its customs, laws and ritual practices. We are also talking here about the complex Jewish morality, ethics and traditional thought or philosophy. Further, we are referring to issues that ensure that the individual - as a member of the family, community, group or society is provided with all the support, guidance and motivation he or she needs in order to make his or her maximum possible contribution to all these institutions.

The reader may, from time to time, wonder as to the relevance of certain points of arguments or pieces of information pertaining to Jewish life and experience: it is important at all times to bear in mind that the issue of leadership is first and foremost a reflection of how a particular people arrange their affairs in a manner that allows their leaders to provide the requisite leadership guidance or service. From this perspective, leadership is reflected in the community or group values, experiences, achievements, contributions, fears and paradoxes, and idiosyncrasies. Without more than working knowledge and understanding of these issues, it is well nigh impossible to determine what the people's leadership model is all about.

South African Jewry presented the most compelling case for adoption of the most ideal model of effectiveness and high impact. While they did not assume high profile positions in the country's political life, South African Jews dominated economic life. In essence, Jews managed the economy while the Afrikaner ruined the political health of the country. Conventional wisdom within and without black and white South African circles is that among all white South African ethnic groups, Jews are the most highly effective. This perception is not based entirely on fact or intimate knowledge of Jews and Jewish affairs. Most of what Africans know about the Jewish reputation for high performance and impact, regardless of the area of human endeavour they choose to involve themselves in, is based on perception. Jewish impact is associated with or articulated through well-worn clichés such as their having a kop for business. Also, they keep to themselves and keep things to themselves. Their networks are built around the 'church' (synagogue). They take care of one another. They firmly stand their ground where monetary or business negotiations are concerned. Their friendship with non-Jews is predicated on monetary interests. They are very strict but compassionate.

The researchers took the view that a thorough and comprehensive study of Jews and the dynamics of Jewish life was necessary to ensure that the quality of the end product is not compromised by superficial or stereotypical notions. This meant, therefore, that the researchers looked into aspects pertaining to the history and evolution of Jews and Jewish community (and its leadership) in South Africa as well as the diaspora. Jewish religion, customs, laws and ritual practices had to be examined. Similarly, the analysis had to look into Jewish morality and ethics, Jewish achievements and contributions, the role and position of Jews in world affairs as well as in the affairs of South Africa. Most importantly, researchers attempted to establish areas where Jews and other South African ethnic groups shared similarities, common viewpoints as well as differences.

The choice of the Jewish group as a role model around which to conduct the analysis of African leadership is particularly interesting from the point of view that its perceived effectiveness or impact occurs almost exclusively in the economic rather than the political area or both. This also tells us that the new South Africans consider effectiveness and impact – within the economic and business spheres – to be paramount. This is not to suggest that effectiveness and impact in politics is rated lowly. In the new South Africa people have become aware that economic impact and effectiveness encompass both the political and business areas. To all intents and purposes, effective political management and leadership revolve around better management of the economy and other resources of the country. The 'new' South Africans have taken note of Bill Clinton's well-used statement: 'It's the economy, stupid'. Put differently, a high impact economic or business reputation automatically places its owner high up the leadership effectiveness stakes.

The view of the researchers is that a thorough study of Jewish leadership effectiveness will lead to a better appreciation of the Indian 'X-factor'. Preliminary research has revealed that Indians and Jews share certain life-style, religious, and business traits. Therefore, the study sought to place greater emphasis on the leadership styles of three ethnic groups that are highly placed with South Africa's political economy, namely, Jews, Indians, and Afrikaners.

2. A Fitting Point of Departure

After perusing several books, reports and reference material, the research team had to confront the problem of where to start conducting a review of the Jewish leadership experience. After much debate, the team agreed that Paul Johnson's introductory and closing remarks to his book, The History of the Jews (44) would serve as a fitting starting point. In the Prologue to the book, Johnson cites four reasons that encouraged him to write the book. The first was sheer curiosity which was sparked by an awareness of the magnitude of the debt Christianity owes to Judaism.

As Johnson puts it, it was not, as we have been taught to suppose, that the New Testament replaced the Old; rather, that Christianity gave a fresh interpretation to an ancient form of monotheism, gradually evolving into a different religion but carrying with it much of the moral and dogmatic theology, the liturgy, the institutions and the fundamental concepts of its forebear. Referring to Jewish people and their contributions to human civilisation, Johnson says he was determined to write about the people who had given birth to my faith, to explore their history back to its origins and forward to the present day, and to make up my own mind about their role and significance. The world tended to see the Jews as a race which had ruled itself in antiquity and set down its records in the Bible; had then gone underground for many centuries; had emerged at last only to be slaughtered by the Nazis; and, finally, had created a state of its own, controversial and beleaguered. But these were merely salient episodes. He also wanted to link them together, to find and study the missing portions, assemble them into a whole, and make sense of it.

The second reason was the excitement Johnson found in the sheer span of Jewish history. From the time of Abraham up to the present covers the best part of four millennia. That is more than three-quarters of the entire history of civilized humanity. Johnson states that the Jews created a separate and specific identity earlier than almost any other people which still survives. They have maintained it, amid appalling adversities, right up to the present. Whence came this extraordinary endurance? What was the particular strength of the all-consuming idea which made the Jews different and kept them homogeneous? Did its continuing power lie in its essential immutability, or its capacity to adapt, or both? These are sinewy themes with which the African Leadership Project will attempt to unravel. (44)

The third reason was that Jewish history covers not only vast tracts of time but huge areas. The Jews have penetrated many societies and left their mark on all of them. Writing a history of the Jews is almost like writing a history of the world, but from a highly peculiar angle of vision. It is world history seen from the viewpoint of a learned and intelligent victim. So the effort to grasp history as it appeared to the Jews produces illuminating insights. Johnson observes that Dictrich Bonhoeffer noticed this same effect when he was in a Nazi prison. Bonhoeffer wrote: 'we have learned to see the great events of world history from below, from the perspective of those who are excluded, under suspicion, ill-treated, powerless, oppressed and scorned, in short those who suffer.' He found it an experience of incomparable value. The historian finds a similar merit in telling the story of the Jews: it adds to history the new and revealing dimension of the underdog. (44)

Finally the book gave Johnson the chance to reconsider objectively, in the light of a study covering nearly 4,000 years, the most intractable of all human questions: what are we on earth for? Is history merely a series of events whose sum is meaningless? Is there no fundamental moral difference between the history of the human race and the history, say, of ants? Or is there a providential plan of which we are, however humbly, the agents? No people has ever insisted more firmly than the Jews that history has a purpose and humanity a destiny. At a very early stage in their collective existence they believed they had detected a divine scheme for the human race, of which their own society was to be a pilot. They worked out their role in immense detail. They clung to it with heroic persistence in the face of savage suffering. Many of them believe it still. Others transmuted it into Promethean endeavours to raise our condition by purely human means. The Jewish vision became the prototype for many similar grand designs for humanity, both divine and man-made. The Jews, therefore, stand right at the centre of the perennial attempt to give human life the dignity of a purpose. Does their own history suggest that such attempts are worth making? Or does it reveal their essential futility? (44)

In his closing remarks to the book, Johnson cites the author of Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus, (44) who described Abraham as a man of great sagacity who had higher notions of virtue than others of his time. He therefore determined to change completely the views which all then had about God. Johnson states that one way of summing up 4,000 years of Jewish history is to ask ourselves what would have happened to the human race if Abraham had not been a man of great sagacity, or if he had stayed in Ur and kept his higher notions to himself, and no specific Jewish people had come into being. Certainly the world without the Jews would have been a radically different place. Humanity might eventually have stumbled upon all the Jewish insights. But we cannot be sure.

All the great conceptual discoveries of the intellect seem obvious and inescapable once they have been revealed, but it requires a special genius to formulate them for the first time. The Jews had this gift. To them we owe the idea of equality before the law, both divine and human; of the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person; of the individual conscience and so of personal redemption; of the collective conscience and so of social responsibility; of peace as an abstract ideal and love as the foundation of justice, and many other items which constitute the basic moral furniture of the human mind. Without the Jews it might have been a much emptier place. (44)

Above all, Johnson observes, the Jews taught us how to rationalize the unknown. The result was monotheism and the three great religions which profess it. It is almost beyond our capacity to imagine how the world would have fared if they had never emerged. Nor did the intellectual penetration of the unknown stop at the idea of one God. Indeed monotheism itself can be seen as a milestone on the road which leads people to dispense with God altogether. The Jews first rationalized the pantheon of idols into one Supreme Being; then began the process of rationalizing Him out of existence. In the ultimate perspective of history, Abraham and Moses may come to seem less important than Spinoza. For the Jewish impact on humanity* has been protean. In antiquity they were the great innovators in religion and morals. In the Dark Ages and early medieval Europe they were still an advanced people transmitting scarce knowledge and technology. Gradually they were pushed from the van and fell behind until, by the end of the eighteenth century, they were seen as a bedraggled and obscurantist rearguard in the march of civilized humanity. But then came an astonishing second burst of creativity. Breaking out of their ghettos, they once more transformed human thinking, this time in the secular sphere. Much of the mental furniture of the modern world too is of Jewish fabrication. (44)

According to Johnson, the Jews were not just innovators. They were also exemplars and epitomizers of the human condition. They seemed to present all the inescapable dilemmas of man in a heightened and clarified form. They were the quintessential 'strangers and sojourners'. But are we not all such on this planet, of which we each possess a mere leasehold of threescore and ten? The Jews were the emblem of homeless and vulnerable humanity. But is not the whole earth no more than a temporary transit-camp?

The Jews were fierce idealists striving for perfection, and at the same time fragile men and women yearning for flesh-pots and safety. They wanted to obey God's impossible law, and they wanted to stay alive too. Therein lay the dilemma of the Jewish commonwealths in antiquity, trying to combine the moral excellence of a theocracy with the practical demands of a state capable of defending itself. The dilemma has been recreated in our own time in the shape of Israel, founded to realize a humanitarian ideal, discovering in practice that it must be ruthless simply to survive in a hostile world. But is not this a recurrent problem which affects all human societies? We all want to build Jerusalem. We all drift back towards the Cities of the Plain. It seems to be the role of the Jews to focus and dramatize these common experiences of mankind, and to turn their particular fate into a universal moral. But if the Jews have this role, who wrote it for them? (44)

Johnson suggests that historians be beware of seeking providential patterns in events. They are all too easily found, for we are credulous creatures, born to believe, and equipped with powerful imaginations which readily produce and rearrange data to suit any transcendental scheme. Yet excessive scepticism can produce as serious a distortion as credulity. The historian should take into account all forms of evidence, including those which are or appear to be metaphysical. If the earliest Jews were able to survey, with us, the history of their progeny, they would find nothing surprising in it. They always knew that Jewish society was appointed to be a pilot-project for the entire human race. That Jewish dilemmas, dramas and catastrophes should be exemplary, larger than life, would seem only natural to them.

That Jews should over the millennia attract such unparalleled, indeed inexplicable, hatred would be regrettable but only to be expected. Above all, that the Jews should still survive, when all those other ancient people were transmuted or vanished into the oubliettes of history, was wholly predictable. How could it be otherwise? Providence decreed it and the Jews obeyed. The historian may say: there is no such thing as providence. Possibly not. But human confidence in such an historical dynamic, if it is strong and tenacious enough, is a force in itself, which pushes on the hinge of events and moves them. The Jews believed they were a special people with such unanimity and passion, and over so long a span, that they became one. They did indeed have a role because they wrote it for themselves. Therein, perhaps, lies the key to their story. (44)

3. The Mythology of Jewish Leadership

Findings from the interim research demonstrate the extent to which myths and mythology have, over centuries, been used to build and sustain Jewish life. Myths and mythologies have been so intricately interwoven into all aspects of Jewish life and history that the entire system of Jewish laws, customs and rituals has been and continues to be enriched through ongoing practices. One of the most potent instruments used to sustain and mould myths into Jewish life, history and traditions has been Jewish scholarship. The entire Jewish people have had strong traditions based on writing books and other material largely to keep the people's experiences, values and belief systems alive.

The entire Jewish religion and the various institutions and instruments that sustain religious observance is built around a rich vein of myths and mythologies. Over time these myths have fused into a complex yet highly productive and supportive way of life and work. This section attempts, therefore, to review various aspects of Jewish myths and mythologies to help identify various ways in which the myths and mythologies have been used to develop, bolster or sustain the Jewish concept of leaders as well as the institutions, traditions, customs and ritual practice that sustain Jewish leadership within different levels of Jewish society. As can be expected, the review is intended to give non-Jewish readers an idea of how aspects of Jewish life are structured to sustain Jewish interests as well as the survival of Jewish leadership. The review will, therefore, place emphases and interpretations in places, issues or meanings that are not entirely consonant with those deeply steeped in Jewish life, custom and practices. This is not to imply that where inaccuracies or misinterpretations occur, and they do, such slip-ups are deliberate.

As a work in progress, the document is designed to provoke robust discussion of issues for purposes of identifying experiences, wisdoms and lessons that may be borrowed to facilitate the process of building a productive and relevant African leadership model for the twenty-first century. It is hoped and expected that readers – especially those well versed in Jewish affairs – will help enrich the document and the overall process by pointing out knowledge and informational gaps wherever these occur. Further, it is hoped and expected that the African leadership development programme will put to immediate practice Jewish processes including exegetic analysis and interpretation. Although somewhat foreign to contemporary (South) African life and work, the process may prove highly effective in helping African leadership, African scholarship and African debate to acquire as well as strengthen its approach to the handling of conflict created by competing ideas, interests and the ambiguities that dog the everyday lives of Africans.

As mentioned previously, contemporary (South) African society suffers several deficiencies, which adversely impact the quality of African life and experience. These deficiencies seem to occur in areas where the Jewish community has made most strides, viz. religions, customary laws, morality and ethics; overcoming chronic internal and external conflicts, complexes and discipline; and achieving significant economic impact – the last-mentioned being the true anvil on which effective leadership is hammered out and honed. For those who may, from time to time, wonder about the real relevance or usefulness of reviewing certain aspects of Jewish existential life and experience, it will always be helpful to remember that the route to effective leadership is never a simple matter of moving from 'A' to 'B'. Put differently, to appreciate Jewish effectiveness and impact is to appreciate Jewish history, experiences, religion and customs, and Jewish achievements and contributions to human civilization. An appreciation of Jewish achievements and contribution requires the reader, in turn, to know and understand, conditions and circumstances that precipitated or spurred individual Jewish men and women to rise above the natives of whatever host country or region such Jewish individuals found themselves operating against or with.

Therefore, the reader is warned not to skip or skim over the surface of many of the issues that that have been included for review and analysis. The topics and sub-topics have been carefully selected because alone they may make interesting reading but together they bring to life the very essence of Jewish leadership and Jewish effectiveness. In essence, they expose to us the very secret or 'x-factor(s)' of Jewish effectiveness and impact that we had hoped could be given us without us having to plough through a mountain of analysis, debate and stories, which did not – at the time – appear related to leadership. In a nutshell, the secret to Jewish effectiveness and impact lie in this people's history of adversity and a long-standing struggle for the survival of the groups – and its religion, customs, laws and ritual practices.

Though obvious to some, the point must be made that the purpose of focusing special attention on Jews and aspects of their religion and customs is not intended to justify or sell Jewish habits and beliefs to non-Jewish readers. It is simply to look and understand how they have, over three thousand years, managed to sustain their identity and the things they hold dear to themselves. It is hoped that as (South) Africa prepares to enter and claim the twenty-first century as its own, there will be sufficient humility and amenability to considering some of the strategies that Jews used to come this far in human history, civilization and development.

The point must also be made that their circumstance, resources and time did not allow the researchers to extend coverage to other ethnic or culture that may lay claim to matching or surpassing Jewish effectiveness and impact. We would have liked to conduct comparative analyses of people and cultures, especially other Semites, who are reputed to share aspects of the history, culture, religion and business and trade experiences as the Jews. We specifically would have liked to conduct as comprehensive an analysis of Arabic and Indian history, philosophy and leadership models as our faculties would allow. These issues or topics will, however, be canvassed in future stages of the leadership research.

The review of Jewish philosophy, religion and leadership experience is built around the works of international Jewish thought leaders including Jay. Y. Gonen (10), Robert Gordis (1), Rabbi Hayim Donin (35), Shubert Spero (5), Marvin Fox (14), Maxime Rodinson (6), Theodor Herzl (17), and Stephen Whitfield (13). We have also relied rather heavily upon conference papers, essays and speeches made by such local contemporary Jewish thought leaders as Dennis Davis (9), Franz Auerbach (38), Gideon Shimoni (39, 41), Joscelyn Hellig (16), Todd Pitok (27), C. K. Harris (40), and Steven Friedman (15). As background or foundational material, these works have been quoted and paraphrased rather extensively throughout the review. Wherever possible, we have attempted to acknowledge the sources directly or indirectly while minimising interfering with the logical structure, integrity and presentation of specific points or issues. In view of time and resource constraints, it has not been possible to conduct thorough analysis and interpretation of the concepts, thoughts and ideas presented by the various Jewish thought leaders including philosophers, rabbis, historians, political analysis's, psychologists, sociologists, literary writers, social commentators and so forth.

4. The Judaic Foundation of Jewish Leadership

Modern Jewish history offers many instructive lessons about the history, evolution and the application of the concept of leadership for purposes of solving different problems under different conditions or circumstances. There are lessons about how, time and again, individuals or groups of individuals have stepped forward to accept the leadership's poisoned chalice in order to lead their people out of situations that had, for decades or centuries, remained intractable. Although the details of how each of these individuals received their leadership calling varies, in principle they all involve some life-changing revelation often in the form of a personal dream or vision. The vision or dream is always revealed after the visionary had transformed the message of the vision into a movement or programme of action – with the visionary as the leader of such a movement.

Readers of the autobiographies of highly effective leaders seldom pay attention to the childhood visions or dreams that are cited as having been the real precipitators of the leadership. We are more interested in how the leader confronted and won his or her battles against real problems rather than looking to see how the leader was touched by childhood dreams.

In their quest to understand the history and evolution of the concept of leadership, students of leadership have sought inspiration from biblical texts which offer ample examples of highly effective leadership as well as its flawed versions. With their reputation as the 'people of the book', Jewish leaders have maintained an unbroken link between biblical texts and Talmudic laws and customs on the one hand, and an equally complex system of leadership. Therefore, the study of Jewish leadership becomes, invariably, an analytic journey through Jewish customs, laws and morality.

The history of modern leadership traces its roots from antiquity to the Middle Eastern traditional or religious thought that was shared by the ancient Semites, among whom were Jews, who have often been described as of being a unique people. When the ancient Hebrews first appeared on the stage of history, they were a tiny branch of the ancient Semitic peoples in the Middle East, their cult practices being similar and doubtless derived from the pool of traditions and practices that was their common patrimony. Because of their special experience and leadership, the Jewish biblical religion developed several unique traits that marked it off from the pagan world (1).

The vitality character of Jewish leadership accurately mirrors the unique character of the Jewish persona born out of two thousand years of exile, exposed time and again to every possible peril, persecution, spoliation, expulsion, and massacre. The full dimensions of the miracle of survival go further. Jews have not merely managed to cling to existence: they have manifested unparalleled vitality. As Robert Gordis points out, their creativity has continued unabated from the beginning of their collective history in the Bible, perhaps the greatest achievement of the human spirit, to the outpouring of genius and talent in modern times. The development and growth of Jewish leadership has not been diminished by the constant process of attrition from Jewish ranks. It has not appreciably reduced the emergence of men and women of talent and genius who have contributed to every area of human endeavour. The tradition views Jewish uniqueness as existing throughout Jewish history, starting with the call to Abraham, and deriving from God's election of Israel, which was ratified by the covenant at Sinai (1).

One of Judaism's distinguishing features is centred on the fact that the Hebrew faith represented the commitments of an entire people to its God, not merely that of a caste of priests or nobles to a sovereign. The whole people entered into a brit, a covenant to obey the will of God by observing His commandments. The other is the unique character of the religious leadership that arose in Israel. The Hebrew priests were not merely different from their counterparts in other Semitic cultures. They were the guardians of the sanctuary, officiants at sacrifices and other ritual occasions, and the custodians of the sacred texts. Hebrew prophecy in its early stage had its analogues in the Semitic culture world as discoveries in the Mari on the Euphrates and elsewhere in the ancient Middle East have demonstrated. What is without parallel is the emergence in Israel of a line of prophets, extending over centuries, whose single-minded and passionate concern was the demand for righteousness in the life of the individual and the nation (1).

The Jewish philosopher, Martin Buber (1) stated that the great religious moments in Judaism are the period of the patriarchs, the prophets, and the first generation of Hasidim. The rest is either itself idolatry or part of a movement towards idolatry. In Buber's judgment, the Judaism of the Pharisees was idolatrous; and this decadent state resulted in the spiritual revolt of the religious genius, Jesus. Although Buber nowhere explicitly says so, the implication is clear that for him rabbinic Judaism is idolatrous. In Buber's judgment, the rabbis identified God with Torah but Torah as God is idolatry.

Classical and modern Reform Judaism thinkers gave different interpretations of the status occupied and role played by religious leadership, i.e. prophets and priests. Norbert M. Samuelson (2) points out that of the foremost Jewish thinkers, Moses Maimonides taught that the highest level of ethical and religious life a man could achieve was that of a prophet. He defined a prophet to be someone who through the human perfection of his imagination and his intellect could envision God. Maimonides' notion of the perfect life became Baruch Spinoza's ideal of the 'intellectual love of God'. Spinoza taught that the noblest form of human activity is a life dedicated to abstract, unemotional, and mathematical speculation, the highest form of which had God as its object.

Under the influence of both humanism and the new biblical criticism, the classical reformers rejected any literal acceptance of rabbinic dogma of the oral and written law. These religious thinkers affirmed that the prophets had reported and recorded Divine Truth and that Moses was the greatest of the prophets, but they denied that God literally dictated the words of Scripture to Moses at Sinai. Rather, Moses and the other prophets were themselves the authors of their teachings - which authentically reflected the Divine Mind. They did not claim that the written Torah was simply the product of human genius, but neither did they assert that it was God's product. Rather, the written Torah came about from an interaction between God and men called 'divine inspiration,' in opposition to 'revelation' in which God influenced men to know and teach his truths. The written Torah was said to hold greater religious truth than any other human product (1).

The Hebrew prophets differed among themselves in their evaluation of ritual, running the gamut from a deep interest in the cult through a more moderate attitude to the strongly negative attitude as reflected in the prophecies of Amos. For all of them, however, the touchstone was the same: if ritual stimulated the practice of righteousness, it was useful but if it did not, it was a snare and a delusion. Undoubtedly there were leaders in other lands who were sensitive to the evils of their society and hungered after righteousness. But it was only in Israel that this preoccupation with doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God became a persistent tradition transmitted through generations and remaining central to the national ethos (1).

5. The Role of the Rabbinate as Communal Leadership

After the prophets, rabbis and rabbinic leadership play a crucial role in the everyday lives of Jewish people. Gordis points out that rabbis bear the oldest honorific in continuous use of human history. The title 'rabbi' is far older than any honorary degree or academic distinction recognized today. At the same time, the rabbinate represents virtually a new calling, since the functions designated by this ancient title have undergone a great transformation. The second primary source of Judaism is the teachings of the rabbis, which was presented to Jews in various forms, such as Jewish civil and ceremonial laws (the Mishna and the Talmud) and other scriptural commentary (1). Believing themselves to be in possession of an authentic oral tradition as to the meaning of scripture, the rabbis proceeded to analyze, interpret, and amplify the biblical teachings.

Accepting the Torah as divine revelation and as the embodiment of the divine will, the rabbis looked on all its parts, the ritual as well as the moral, as of equal validity and authority. Hence their process of interpretation and amplification was directed to the ritual as well as the moral, to the philosophical and historical as well as to the legal. While the dynamics of the exegetical process of the Talmud carried the ritual and legal material to its ultimate expression in the form of fixed and definitive rulings (called the Halakha), the ideas and concepts of Judaism which did not lend themselves to behavioural rules were left in a rather fluid form and were generally not resolved in a dogmatic fashion (1).

Rabbinic leadership concerned itself with the review, interpretation or application of Jewish morality, in general and in particular, the interpretation of fluid ideas and concepts of Judaism (called the Aggadah). In their treatment of morality the rabbis gave new and important emphasis to what can be called personal morality. Realising that a broad range of morally undesirable acts can be the result of a single bad character trait, the rabbis shifted their instruction to the prevention or elimination of bad character traits and the inculcation of good ones. Thus, pride or arrogance is condemned and meekness extolled; anger and lust and envy are condemned while a 'good eye' (generosity) and a 'good heart' (self control) are praised. The true value of rabbinic leadership comes into full view in situations where ordinary Jews require specialized knowledge and skills to unscramble suitable interpretations of otherwise extremely complex moral and religious values that are framed in one-word names.

By way of illustration, Spero cites everyday crises which Jews have to cope with where aspects of their lives require them to choose between these one-word moral names such as kindliness (chasidut) and humility which are considered to be the highest virtues of all. Add to this the fact, as Spero has established that, holiness (ked shah) is the supreme attribute God revealed to man. The concept of holiness is also found in connection with the dietary laws and the rules governing sexual behaviour. These too, however, must be seen as ultimately contributing to the development of the personal morality of the individual, i.e., his inner character traits and moral dispositions. For clearly, we are dealing here with the two strongest urges or appetites in man, which are biologically grounded and thus have 'natural' and useful channels of expression. Yet there is something in man that can convert these passions and sources of great creative energy into an evil urge.

While Judaism accepts the pleasures of food and sex as legitimate and as a positive good, it seeks, by the imposition of guidelines - by laying down rules for the 'how,' 'when,' and 'with whom' of these activities - to encourage the individual to exercise a degree of control. Armed with deep insight into the psychology of desire and the dynamics of hedonism, Judaism strove to have man avoid the extremes of repression and obsession and instead cultivate an approach that would preserve for the individual the simple and satisfying joys of food and sex (5).

Rabbinic leadership also made important contributions through its handling of ethical questions relating to respect, honour or dignity due to the individual. While we find in the Pentateuch, a command to 'respect' one's parents, we do not find a specific command to respect one's fellow human being. However, the concept is reflected in certain laws in the Torah. For instance, a creditor is not entitled to fetch his pledge from a neighbour's house. The creditor's right to the pledge does not entitle him to invade the privacy of his neighbour's home. Being in the relationship of debtor to creditor has already placed him in a position of subservience, with an attendant loss of pride. (5) To bring this uncomfortable relationship into the inner sanctuary of his individuality, i.e. his home, is to cause him further embarrassment.

Building on this insight, the rabbis further warned that in the process of helping others must be extremely careful not to humiliate or to embarrass them. The rabbis taught that the preferred charity is practised secretly. Thus, where a person gives a donation without knowing who receives it, and a person receives it without knowing who donated it. And Maimonides summed it up: 'A man ought to be especially heedful of his behaviour toward widows and orphans, for their souls are exceedingly depressed and their spirits low, even if they are wealthy. How are we to conduct ourselves toward them? One must not speak to them otherwise than tenderly. One must show them unvarying courtesy; not hurt them physically with hard toil nor wound their feelings with harsh speech (5)'.

Another specific illustration of the role played by rabbinic leadership is its development of the concept of privacy accepting that damage caused to one by the sight of another is real damage. The relationship between dignity and privacy lies in the fact that a person's dignity refers to his individuality and uniqueness. Thus, to uncover another person, to publicly disclose all of his secrets, to strip another person physically or psychologically, is to inflict indignity and shame on him because with nothing hidden and everything exposed, he loses his individuality.

In his summation of the role of rabbinic leadership in terms of the essential meanings of the basic moral concepts found in the Torah, Spero maintains that there are no surprises, no radical divergence from what is generally understood by those terms. What is distinct and unique about the morality of Judaism are certain qualities that result from the ways in which these concepts are applied and realized; the universality of their application; the passion and earnestness with which they are urged, the depths of feeling for feeling and intent which are regarded as morally relevant; the profound regard for the moral implications of speech; the tender concern for animal life; the keen sensitivity to the intangibles of human dignity.

Gordis states that Jewish tradition, which has been contemporaneous with virtually the entire significant history of the human race, proved adequate to serve the needs of the Jewish people through all the vicissitudes of its history. Jewish law will survive into the future on precisely the same terms – and the task has become incomparably more challenging today because of the vastly enlarged possibilities and the massive problems of the nuclear age. From the biblical era to the present, the process of growth and development in Jewish tradition and law, though varying in extent and creativity in differing epochs, remains clear. The prophetic insistence that righteousness, individual and collective, is the categorical imperative for humankind dominated all succeeding stages in the history of Judaism and imbued the Jewish people with a strong ethical consciousness, which played a decisive role in the later formulations of Jewish law. Succeeding generations, inheriting an extensive body of Jewish lore and law, found that the blend of idealistic aspiration and realistic understanding made the tradition effective and relevant, so that most of it could be maintained virtually intact from generation to generation.

Stability was one of the pillars on which Judaism rested; the other was its dynamism, its capacity to grow and develop with time. When confronted by changed social, economic, and political conditions, on the one hand, and by new ethical attitudes and insights on the other, its leaders reacted with insight and resilience to undertake the necessary accommodations between past and present to ensure a viable future. When the survival of their people was threatened, the Jewish leaders took steps to counter the danger, even if they called for a radical break with earlier, accepted attitudes. In later periods, particularly in the Middle Ages, the new patterns were sometimes felt more keenly by the masses of the people (1).

In conclusion, it should be pointed out that, from Moses to contemporary leaders, the responsibilities of leading society have shifted from one leadership style to another. There were, for instance, the prophets, sages, thinkers, philosophers, scholars, and rabbis. Contemporary Jewish society is well-served by an array of different categories of leaders, inter alia, thought leaders, political leaders, business leaders, scientists, artists and so forth.

The next few paragraphs attempt to summarize some of the important features of Jewish traditional thought as well as the basic traits of Jewish life, religion and leadership. The point should be made, in advance, that due to the historical nature of the issues under review, overlaps and repetitions occur. This process has been allowed largely for purposes of emphasis or clarification. In some instances, points are repeated to highlight a particular point of view or angle.

6. Jewish Philosophical Thoughts and Traditions

1. Timelessness in Jewish Thought

Throughout the ages, Jews have invested significant effort towards the pursuit of their love for Israel (Eretz Yisrael). Researchers and commentators have described this love as having been so intense that it could be regarded as a timeless factor in Jewish history. For instance, Jacob Talmon pointed out that the quality of timelessness that characterizes Jewish history is anchored in the traditional Jewish idea of redemption. Jewish philosopher Franz Rozenzweig (1) presented the issue of redemption within the context of time which is divided into three dimensions: cosmos, proto-cosmos, and hyper-cosmos. Thus, the cosmos is the present universe, which is the domain of time.

Both the proto-cosmos and the hyper-cosmos are beyond time. In time, there is creation at the beginning, which occurred in the past; there is revelation now, in the present; and there is the expectation of redemption, in the future. Creation is the ever-enduring base of things. Revelation is the ever-renewed birth of the soul, and redemption is the eternal future of the kingdom. The three acts are not eternal, for eternal is not subject to time as Rozenzweig (1) used this term. Rather, they are endless. As long as there is time, but only as long as there is time, there is past creation, present revelation, and future expectation of redemption. From the present revelation, we glimpse reality's beginning in creation and reality's end in the Kingdom of God that constitutes the redemption of the present. In addition, Rozenzweig explicated all three courses in terms of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Gordis adds that an orientation toward future redemption sets up a fixed goal which does not wither with the passage of time. Transient events come and go and are subject to the effect of time. This is not the case with a highly cathected hope for the future or a heavily emotionally invested aspiration for a redemption that is yet to come. A redemption which serves as the historical culmination of generations of trials and tribulations and which gives meaning to them all is timeless. In his discussion of the implications of the Holocaust to the Israeli sense of destiny, Eliezer Linen asserted that the Jewish notion of time fuses the past, present and future. This traditional notion includes the classical Talmudic concept of the remote future as including a horrendous dualism. When redemption takes place and the glory of the past is being restored, two major events will happen concurrently. One is the 'ingathering of the exiles' and the return to Zion; the other is premessianic cataclysms.

Jewish leadership has contended that no birth, growth, death, or after death or rebirth can evolve without a bitter toll of 'pangs' (1). Any major initiation, whether in the past or the future, carries with it its pangs. From this view of time there is undoubtedly a fusion of time periods; each always has major pangs to bear for initiation and growth. Therefore, all times are alike. The final initiation flowing into redemption at the end of time is no exception: it also will involve pangs of redemption and messianic cataclysms. Redemption and the Messiah are the sweetest, most blissful, most wonderful, glorious, joyful, and absolutely most desired objects one could ever wish for. It would be unrealistic to expect an initiation into the utmost of everlasting joy without first going through untold pangs. As a matter of fact, for this kind of ultimate wish fulfilment the pangs to endure may well be the most cataclysmic of all.

2. The Basic Traits of the Jewish Tradition

If the biblical period is regarded as the youth of the Jewish people, then the talmudic era may be described as its coming of age. The three basic factors that endowed the Jewish tradition with its powerful ethical consciousness were the Egyptian experience of bondage and liberation; the nomadic period – both as an objective reality and as a subjective perception; and the extraordinary phenomenon of Hebrew prophesy (1). It goes without saying that individual Jews and Jewish society did not always conduct their lives on the highest ethical plane. Human weakness and vice and the heavy burden of exile and persecution conspired to limit the effectiveness of ethical concern.

The inertia of the past and the body of legal precedents were powerful countervailing forces that limited growth and change in the Halakha, but they were unable to prevent them. The emergence of new practices and institutions embodying the operation of ethical principles under changing conditions was not an unbroken linear process. There were periods of movement and stagnation, of advance and retreat. But the general direction was unmistakable. A new position once achieved was rarely abandoned: on the contrary, it proved the point of departure for another step forward towards the realization of the ideal (1).

•. The Impact of the Hebraic Tradition: the essence of Jewish tradition is based on the power of the Hebraic tradition, viz. that religion and ethics of ancient Israel are not merely of historical interest for they remain very much alive in the modern age. Gordis points out that whatever religious faith lives in the western world, within the major denominations as well as among the smaller and more dynamic sects it generally claims the Bible as its living source and authority. The Hebraic tradition rarely enunciated abstract principles and preferred to embody its attitudes in concrete and specific form. This trait never disappeared but as Jews came into contact with Greek thought, they could not resist the attractiveness of the general principles. The rabbis formulated a series of ethical norms that are embedded in the structure of Jewish law in the first stage. Since these doctrines entered the law at its inception, they manifestedly did not require any changes in the law. Therefore, they did not arouse any opposition and have remained normative throughout the history of the Halakha.

. The dominant social and ethical controversies in our day are not generally carried on in terms of categories of secular philosophic ethics; they are affected by perspectives, rightly or wrongly deduced from biblical teaching. For instance, the mounting concern regarding war and peace as well as the issue of nationalism and its relationship to the international community, finds its basis in biblical text and its varied interpretation. The struggle over women's rights and obligations, the future of the family, the relations of the sexes, and the mutual attitudes of parents and children are strongly coloured by the narratives, laws, and admonitions in the Scriptures (1). Similarly, the debates on social justice and racial equality take their point of departure from the Bible. Defenders and opponents of the status quo are able to quote scripture for their own purposes.

•. The Affirmation of Life: another important trait of the Jewish tradition revolves around the affirmation of life. Gordis observes that the first principle in Judaism is recognition of one God. But the first chapter of Genesis, which articulates this belief, ends with an all-embracing view of the world and its creator that remains a fundamental characteristic of the Jewish tradition. It is its affirmation of life as a good here and now, including all its physical and spiritual aspects, and in spite of all its frustrations and agonies. Notwithstanding the tragic Jewish experience through the centuries, the dominant attitude embodied in Jewish ethics has been life affirming.

•. A Realistic Assessment of Human Nature: in spite of its limitations, the affirmation of life goes hand in hand with a realistic assessment of human nature. As Gordis points out, in the cosmic hierarchy of divine creation, human beings occupy a middle position between the animals and the angels. With the beasts, humans share the animal instincts and appetites. Humans share with the angels the duty of worship and obedience to God. But one crucial difference makes them greater than the angels: unlike the heavenly beings, humans are endowed with free will – the capacity to choose between good and evil, between loyalty and rebellion. The angelic nature deprives them of this freedom of choice, which is the glory of man and the purpose of creation. Judaism and Christianity are miles apart on the nature of man: in classical Christianity, man sins because he is a sinner while classical Judaism maintains that man is a sinner when he sins.

•. The Quest for Self-fulfilment: the affirmation of life as a blessing is a great leap of faith in Judaism. From it flow two cardinal principles: the quest for self-fulfilment as the cornerstone of personal ethics, and the drive for justice as the foundation of ethics in society. The commands of Judaism, unlike those of the New Testament, are designed to serve as canons of behaviour for a perdurable society. The ethical code is rooted in the faith that a righteous God governs the world, so that right doing leads to well being and wrongdoing to disaster. This principle must be understood within circumstances that prevailed during pre-exilic Israel where the centre of religious concern was the group rather than the individual. This cleavage between concern for the group versus individual is of particular interest to topical discussions around Afrocentric versus Eurocentric values (1).

Contrary to what some scholars would like us to believe, the cleavage between the pre-occupation with individual rather than group values and interests is not a by-product of colonialism. As Gordis points out, the shift of concern from the group to the individual dates back to Babylonian Exile and the period of the Return. The individual became increasingly more important; his actions and hopes, his beliefs and doubts moved centre stage in Jewish religious thought. The (Jewish) Wisdom teachers transferred the basic attitudes of biblical faith and ethics from the group to the individual and continued to maintain the ethic of self-fulfilment and the primacy of justice. Hillel expressed the ethic of self-fulfilment in the first century B.C.E in his matchless utterance: 'if I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, of what good am I? And if not now, when? (1)

Hillel's words serve to admonish those among us who seek to worship narrow self-interest – even at the expense of everything else. As Gordis points out, the words should guard us against the error of identifying self-fulfilment with self-interest or selfishness. What is crucial is the concept of selfhood, which is not exhausted by the boundaries of one's physical organism, the body from tip to toe, with its needs and appetites. Basic to the ethics of self-fulfilment is the emphasis on the total personality, which has a thousand invincible strands linking it to others in the family, the community, the nation, and the human race.

The preference in Judaism for the ethics of self-fulfilment over the ethics of self-abnegation, which some other religious traditions held out, is clearly indicated in the hypothetical story of two men in the desert with enough water to save only one life. This story illustrates Jewish preoccupation with the promotion or maintenance of a higher ethical order. The ethical paradox has, over the ages, presented a real test to Jewish thought leaders. Gordis observes that an otherwise little-known sage, Ben Patura (1), suggests that the two men share the water so neither may look on his companion dying before his eyes. But the famous Sage Rabbi Akiba declares that in such tragic circumstances the owner of the flask would be morally justified in drinking the water himself, thus preserving at least one human life instead of having both men die out of sentimental impulse. It goes without saying that he would be free to give his bottle to his companion, out of love for him or out of the conviction that there was a greater gain in preserving the life of his companion than his own. Akiba rejects the idea that both lives ought to be lost, when one can be saved (1).

Both the wisdom of Hillel and the water story provide ample affirmation of the universality of the ethics of doing right for the good of all. In this regard, the principle of uBuntu adequately underlines the universality of African ethics. This discovery should, therefore, promote the realization among Jews and Africans that, on this score, their value systems draw from the same ethical fountainhead. Both systems believe in the primacy of the group over the individual while not overlooking the central role of selfhood.

The basic characteristics of the Jewish tradition, namely the affirmation of life, the duty and the right to share in the blessings of the world, and the realistic perception of both the limitations and the potential of human nature - all unite to establish the ideal of justice as the cornerstone of Jewish ethics (1). The ethics of self-fulfillment regard the preservation of one's life as the highest good - so long as it is not achieved by the destruction of other life.

3. The Basis of Jewish Morality

The Jewish moral system has benefited from more than three thousand years during which the Jewish people have wrested with moral issues and recorded their struggles. This experience has encouraged the development of a Jewish moral system that contains a pool of insightful moral teachings, a ranking of values, and a workable method of moral reasoning. In a sense, the history of Judaism, in its moral as well as its ritual aspects, has successfully carried out the original task given to it by the Torah – as a set table ready for human use and consumption. At the centre of the entire Jewish morality are three fundamental principles, viz. love thy neighbour as thyself; the pursuit of righteousness; and doing what is right and good.

•. Love Thy Neighbour as Thyself: the acceptance of what has been termed the first and the greatest principle of the Torah, viz. 'love thy neighbour as thyself', logically entails a commitment to rules of the Torah that require Jews to perform acts of benevolence to all human beings. The rules entail such acts as giving gifts to the poor, lending money without interest, returning lost property to its rightful owners, standing up in respect of the aged, loving the stranger, visiting the sick, burying the dead, extending hospitality, making peace between people, building a parapet around one's roof, and gladdening the heart of the bride and groom.

. Contemporary Jewish scholars including Ernst Simon (3) have posited that the 'love of the neighbour' principle poses serious moral problems within contemporary Jewish society. Ernst Simon questions the commitment of contemporary Jews in Israel and in the diaspora to fulfil the requirements of the principle. He asserts that, in Israel where there is a growing gap between the rich and the poor, Jews are behaving with less than brotherly love towards the less fortunate members of their society. The fact that members of the oriental communities have not found a full measure of equality for themselves in Jewish society is painful evidence that Jews are not fulfilling the commandments even towards their fellow-Jews.

. Simon adds that 'our reluctance to receive new immigrants with personal warmth and fellowship is not only of political significance. It is a moral and a religious failure as well. We have also been less than perfect in establishing brotherly relations with our Arab neighbours. Whatever may be said in justification of our denial of the rights of the Arab residents of Biram and Ikrit to return to their homes? Surely, no interpretation of the commandment to love our neighbour could justify that action. While taking satisfaction when we do behave with love towards all men cannot be commanded, we may settle on the duty to honour in each human being God's creature' (3).

. The alleged weakening of Jewish commitment to and application of the love your neighbour principle stems largely from a divergence of opinion, within segments the Jewish society, around the definition or meaning of the concept of 'neighbour'. Certain Jews adhere to a narrow definition of the concept i.e. where neighbour applies exclusively to Jews or specific categories of Jews within the Jews in Israel and in the diaspora. Harold Fisch (4) maintains that the standard Jewish interpretation of the love your neighbour commandment applies only to one's fellow Israelite. On the other hand, there is the broader or non-discriminatory interpretation whereby 'neighbour' is every man and, therefore, we are commanded to love all men as we love ourselves.

. Disagreeing with certain interpretations as well as the application of the 'love thy neighbour' principle, Fisch (4) cites, inter alia, the tendency of applying the moral principle outside its Jewish foundation. His argument is based on the viewpoint that the demand to love one's fellow is a demand so unique that it places on the Jewish moral and emotional organism an almost supernatural burden. Jews find it extraordinarily difficult in practice to love even their fellow Jews. Some find it difficult to love German Jews, others to love Moroccan Jews. Fisch adds a personal incident of an ex-German Jew who found it impossible to love American Jews. He also states that, nevertheless, the Torah commands Jews to overcome these antipathies and obey the commandment albeit falteringly and with a varying measure of success. (1).

. Furthermore, he states that we obey it because in spite of its difficulty it is nevertheless within the bounds of the humanly possible. To achieve more than this i.e. to extend the love relation to all and every nation – German, Japanese, and Arab included – is to expect the impossible. And the Torah though it sets us a high standard – the highest standard even – does not set us an impossible standard (1).

•. The Pursuit of Righteousness: the pursuit of righteousness should be understood as calling primarily for nonmalfeasance, i.e. not to hurt anyone unjustifiably, in any way, and to foster those conditions in which the maximum extent of distributive, and retributive justice can be arranged. The righteousness principle is buttressed by rules that prohibit negative acts such as murder; kidnapping; theft and robbery; deceit, coveting, lying and cheating; taking interest on loans; cursing the handicapped; bearing false witness; taking graft; slandering others; shaming others in public; oppressing the underprivileged; and to create conditions under which those who are deserving will be punished.

•. Doing what is Right: in the Jewish system of morality, this is a primary principle that directs Jews to abide by the 'higher morality' which can be taken to mean acts of benevolence that go beyond the requirements of the Torah or as programmes of personal morality involving the development of inner discipline and good character traits. Spero contends that the three primary principles of the Jewish system of morality are no longer adequate to accommodate the needs of contemporary Jewish life. For this reason, he advocates the addition of several principles (3).

Spero's (5) assertions revolve around the principle of fidelity. The principle of fidelity involves the sense of obligation to keep one's promises and to live up to commitments implicit and explicit. Some moralists have claimed that the duty of keeping promises is to be classified under the principle of veracity, since both are fulfilled by effecting a correspondence between words and facts. In the case of ordinary truth telling we do so by bringing our statements in line with the facts, whereas in the case of promise keeping we do so by making fact correspond to our statements. However, if this is the derivation of the principle of fidelity, then we should feel the same moral obligation to carry out our statements about the future even when they are not made in the form of a promise but merely as an assertion. The duty to act in good faith, however, seems to be based not simply on a desire to achieve conformity between one's deeds and one's assertions but on some notion of a commitment or a pledge that is generated by one's words.

The fidelity principle is based on biblical texts such as 'that which is gone out of thy lips, thou shalt observe and do, he shall do according to all that proceeded out of his mouth'. Spero cites Maimonides who sees, in these imperatives, a general obligation to keep one's promises to one's fellow man, honour one's word and carry out one's pledge even if expressed in an informal way. The fidelity principle is built around moral rules that require one to provide for one's wife and children; pay one's workers on time; pay pledges made to the Temple; and to remain faithful to the covenant with God.

Another of Spero's assertions is the principle of gratitude. The principle maintains that receiving goods or services imposes some sort of moral obligation to express thankfulness, and even to have a sense of 'owing' something to one's benefactor. The gratitude principle seems to be connected to the principle of justice. Thus, as with the concept of justice, we seem to be talking about a sense of balance, a standard of 'measure for measure', of fairness. Universalizing the principle of gratitude brings about the common view of justice i.e. that good deeds ought to be requited or that men ought to be rewarded in proportion to their deserts – which is the principle of distributive justice.

A fifth principle advocated by Spero revolves around the principle of a self-evident moral intuition. He also states that it appears that a concept of gratitude cannot be derived from the concept of justice. For while the latter can teach us that 'men ought to be rewarded in proportion to their deserts', it does not contain the element contributed by the principle of gratitude, i.e. as the recipient of the benefit one has a special obligation to reward one's benefactor. The moral rules that could be subsumed under the principle of self-evident moral intuition include respect for one's parents and reciting blessings before and sometimes after pleasurable experiences.

By way of conclusion, Spero states that what gives Jewish morality its integrated character is, first, the sense that the ultimate origin of all values is in God, whose essence is morality, and second, the logical connectives that relate principles to rules and rules to moral judgements. One of the most important requirements of a moral system is that it offers a decision procedure to be followed when there is a conflict between various moral rules. The ideal of consistency is rendered attainable in Jewish morality by the presence of a hierarchy of values which offer guidance in cases of conflict. Except for the ultimate test, when man must be prepared to give his life for the sanctification of the divine name, human life and human dignity set aside ritual obligations, love of God stands higher than fear of God, mercy higher than justice, and peace higher than truth.

Spero points out that one of the most important claims of Jewish morality is that it is eminently practicable i.e. these values can be realized in real life. Judaism believes that the variegated richness and complexity of the real world is penetrable by human reason in the domain of morality. Stimulated by his intuitions and guided by the teachings of the Torah, the Jew should be able to work out what is right and good by himself. It is ironic that some of the most moral theories in the general field of ethics exhibit an almost fatal weakness precisely at the point where the individual, in the bewilderment of his concrete situation, is expected to make a moral judgement.

Spero also states that the foregoing statement does not suggest that Jewish morality offers a formula for decision procedures that can be mechanically applied to every concrete case and that will always yield a valid judgment or blissful certainty. In difficult cases of conflicting values or duties, the agony of uncertainty and the sense of moral risk will undoubtedly persist. Thus, in Judaism one has the further recourse of consulting with the rabbis and teachers, whose knowledge and experience can be helpful, and with whom one can share responsibility for the moral decision.

4. Wisdom Literature and Jewish Ethics

The Wisdom teachers built their ethical instruction for the individual on the biblical faith that the world is governed by a righteous God, so that a man's conduct determines his destiny. The ethics of biblical Wisdom rests on the conviction that 'morality is the best policy'. It emphasizes a realistic understanding of human nature, the uncertainties of life, and the pitfalls of the unexpected, and it stresses the need for prudence in confronting them. The Wisdom teachers extol the virtues of sobriety, truth telling, a sense of responsibility, and hard work. They warn against the vices of gluttony and drunkenness and such traits as impetuousness, conceit, greed, or bad temper (1).

In fact, what is generally called 'the Protestant work ethic' is actually the teaching of the biblical Sages. As is the case with many aspects of biblical thought, the work ethic presented in biblical Wisdom is deepened and extended in rabbinic literature. According to G. Alon, (1) the salient features of the work ethic of normative Judaism involve several principles, viz. that every person is to some degree responsible for maintaining the social order; idleness is thought of as destructive to character; work is perceived as a value in itself, i.e. a potential source of deep satisfaction, a distinctive mark of the human being - God's gift to man; and work is seen as an indispensable prerequisite for reaching the higher levels of spiritual exaltation. It was a doctrine of the Rabbis that revelation and prophesy were available only to those who first engaged in manual labor.

The Wisdom teachers constantly urge the practice of charity toward the poor, but they are conscious of the perils involved in standing surety for one's neighbor - a practice in which one often loses both one's money and one's friend. They also urge awareness against the utility of a bribe in making one's way and removing obstacles to one's advancement.

5. Justice and the Law

Justice is the cornerstone of Jewish ethics, but it is not identical with law, because justice includes aspects of human relationships that are beyond the power of the law. These are the categories for which the Talmud has a series of significant names: 'acts punishable by Heaven but not punishable by human courts,' forbidden but unpunishable to injure one's fellow; justice requires that we help him. Beating one's father is a legal crime enforceable with sanctions; no system of law can compel a man to love or revere his parent. There thus emerges the paradox that law, which arises in order to make justice operative in society, falls perpetually behind it. In a rational and just society, the goal will always be to close the gap and bring legal practice as close to equity as possible. This observation may appear elementary, but the truth is that it has frequently been lost sight of in modern society (5).

What has been presented above as the basic traits of the Jewish religion must of necessity represent a selection from the limitless spectrum of Jewish differences in outlook and timbre. Several other important attributes may be sought and found in Judaism, but what is fundamental is a passion for justice, a bias for the right, identification with the persecuted.

6. The Role of the Torah in Jewish Life

The role and value of the Torah in Jewish life is amply illustrated by means of an excerpt from "Pirkei Avos Treasury" – Ethics of the Fathers – a book forms part of the ArtScroll Series of publications designed to help-p break down barriers of culture, language and ignorance that divide the Jewish people or nation from its Torah. The Pirkei Avos is to the Jewish people what parents are to the Jewish child. As the authors or editors of the book state, one can learn laws from books but only from parents can one learn how to integrate laws and facts of life.

The Pirkei Avos' Overview (37) chapter provides a summarised practical guide through which the Jewish 'parents lead the way back through total Torah to a total nation.' The guide is reproduced here to whet the appetite especially of black South African leaders who wish to compare, adopt and adapt effective lessons from ways of the Jews. As we have stated in another section of the current report, the Torah and related Jewish systems of laws, ethical code and ritual practices account – in large measure – for the legendary effectiveness of Jewish people throughout the ages and in every host society or condition they may find themselves in. These systems of laws and practices offer the Jewish individual, family, group of community practical guidance and support in whatever endeavour the Jewish person, family or group may find themselves operating under. It is, therefore, a source of personal as well as group discipline, learning and survival.

6.1 Judaism and Ethical Theory

Before delving into various aspects of Jewish morality and ethics, it is essential that we secure a shared understanding of the meanings and interpretations which are generally associated with a few of the important concepts which feature prominently in the review. This background explanation is borrowed from Spero's (5) book Morality, Halakha and the Jewish Tradition and the Pirkei Avos*. Spero's approach allows us to examine the moral teachings of Judaism so as to uncover their implicit structures in order to develop what might be called an ethical theory of Jewish morality. From this perspective, a few definitions of basic terms are perhaps in order.

6.2 Definition of Basic Terms

By Judaism mean the religious beliefs and practices of the Jewish people in their fully developed and traditional forms as found after the major halakhic codifications of the sixteenth century and before attempts at liberalization were made under the impact of the modern period. We shall therefore look not only to the Hebrew Bible as our source for Jewish morality but to rabbinic literature as well. No one has ever denied that Judaism contains a morality or a moral code. Indeed, many have made the stronger claim, which has received general acceptance, that morality is a major feature, if not the essence, of Judaism. But what is morality? This question shall concern us in some detail in the first chapter. In general usage, however, the term "morality" usually denotes a set of rules which prescribe the way people ought to behave and principles which reflect what is ultimately good or desirable for men. Judaism certainly contains much material of this sort (5). Many books have been written describing the moral teachings of Judaism, praising its nobility, tracing its profound influence, or demonstrating its contemporary relevance and urging its observance.

Our interest in this study remains the morality of Judaism, but only to develop therefrom its ethical theory. What is the difference between morality and ethics? Morality has a more overtly regulative character, sometimes called a normative orientation. It includes several different elements: rules prescribing or forbidding certain types of actions, certain character traits to be avoided or cultivated, certain patterns of ends and means. These in turn are inculcated into the consciousness and behavior of people in a variety of ways. A morality can be implicit or explicit, depending upon whether its practitioners have ever brought to consciousness the principles by which they make their moral decisions (5). A morality can further be systematic or nonsystematic, depending upon whether its adherents have succeeded in tracing the relationships between their moral principles and have eliminated inconsistencies and achieved a degree of coherence.

Ethics, however, is a reflective enterprise. An ethical theory is a theory about morals and about moral systems. An ethical theory attempts to analyze the basic concepts and methods of a morality, to describe the types of phenomena involved such as a special felling of "obligation" or perhaps certain ideal character traits, and to explain the relationship of the morality under study to other aspects of life, such as God and human nature and other moralities (5).

Philosophers have distinguished between what they call "first-order statements" and "second-order statements." The former refer to statements about the world around us or about the "good life"; i.e., knowledge of what is and knowledge of what ought to be. The latter involve inquiries about the grounds on which first-order statements rest. Regarding any statement one might ask, "What is the statement about? What are the grounds of the statement? Are they valid grounds?" Thus one can say that science deals primarily with first-order statements, while philosophy deals primarily, though not exclusively, with second-order statements. In this context, however, it becomes easier to state the distinction between morality and ethics. In morality we have the making of first-order statements telling us what people ought to do in order to attain the "good life." (5) Ethics, however, deals essentially with second-order statements which comprise a philosophical examination of statements about morality.

Not much has been done in the way of subjecting the morality of Judaism to the analytic light of ethical theory since the pioneering work of Moritz Lazarus at the turn of the century. The Bible itself has no word for "morality" or "ethics" and does not seem, at least overtly, to recognize the special domain of morality. In the Talmud we have various "hints" and many insightful aphorisms which have to be mined for their philosophical significance. With perhaps the single exception of Maimonides, no attempt was made by the medieval Jewish thinkers to deal with morality as such. Recent works on Jewish ethics have been either apologetic, historical, or first-order studies of specific moral principles. Second-order analyses on the order I have defined as ethical theory have appeared in only sketchy form and are far from offering a systematic analysis of the morality of Judaism (5).

The present work is, therefore, undertaken in an attempt to fill this lacuna and to bring to bear the tools of philosophic analysis upon the moral teachings of Judaism. It is hoped that even a small contribution toward the development of' such an ethical theory can deepen our understanding of the special character of Jewish morality, of the role of morality within Judaism, and thus of Judas itself.

6.3 Learning from Philosophical Analysis

Before a competent surgeon begins an operation, he carefully lays out his instruments, making sure they are in proper condition. He also familiarizes his staff with the procedures he is going to follow. Only then is the patient wheeled in. In a somewhat similar manner, it might prove helpful, before we plunge into our study of the moral teachings of Judaism, to briefly take stock of the tools at our disposal and of the methods we are going to employ. Much of these come from the results of philosophy of ethical theory as done during the past eighty years or so. What has philosophical scrutiny learned about morality in general? Are there agreed-upon answers to questions which touch upon all moralities irrespective of' type or secondary differentiating characteristics? For instance, what is the general area of experience to which the prescriptions of morality apply? How do we distinguish rules of morality from rules of a game like baseball or rules of' etiquette? What is the special function that moral predicates are called upon to perform within the structure of our natural languages? The answers to these questions can provide us with conceptual tools and categories, issues and distinctions which can enormously facilitate our analysis of any particular morality (5).

Recent ethical analysis has noted certain basic differences between various moralities. For example, it has been noted that some systems of morality look to the consequences of an act as carrying the moral weight of the entire action. This is in marked contrast to other moral codes that locate the right- or wrong-making characteristics in some quality of the act itself'. This distinction will be explored in sonic detail later. The point we wish to illustrate, however, is that a general knowledge of' the possible options open to moral systems enables us to gain a better appreciation of the peculiar emphasis of the particular moral system under examination.

Over the last few decades, considerable attention has been given to what is called the logic of moral discourse. This involves the basic question of the linguistic nature of a sentence containing moral predicates like "good" or "wrong." What role do these sentences play in our language? Are they indicative sentences, emotional eruptions, or prescriptive utterances? Are moral judgments reducible to a set of non-moral sentences? Can prescriptive sentences be derived from a set of non-prescriptive sentences? Clearly, any understanding of these fundamental questions should be helpful in studying any morality and in particular. a highly developed moral code such as contained in Judaism.

We shall start by assuming that all of us have some vague, intuitive Understanding of what the terms "morality," moral principle," and moral judgement" refer to. Admittedly, we may not, if challenged, be able, at first, to give expression to that understanding with precision or clarity. Yet, in our daily conversations we refer to these terms with evident comprehension. We read our newspapers, in which these terms are constantly used, and we register no difficulty. We seem to be able to communicate successfully in this area. Can we make explicit some generalizations about how we seen to use the language of morality? Let us attempt to arrive at some formulation of' the nature of morality in general, the special phenomena it refers to, and what function it performs in our ordinary discourse (5).

In conclusion, Spero states that the in the effort to develop an ethical theory for Judaism, it shall likewise be our task to identify its existential perspectives and indicate the ways in which they relate to the inner structure of the morality of Judaism.


1. Definition of Jews and Jewishness

Maxime Rodinson (6) is among Jewish scholars who have produced a workable definition of Jews and Jewishness. His opening remarks on this rather controversial topic, Rodinson states that the question 'What is a Jew?' has perplexed Jewish friends and foes for millennia. The answer, as many Jewish scholars have pointed out is not a simple matter of dealing with the diacritica of race, colour, skin, hair, etc. For the Jew, religion plays a central role in that religion is an inseparable part of Jewishness. As Rodinson states, ask any Jew to state his or her religious beliefs and the vast majority will be hard put to reply. It may mean a way of life, an identity with other people, a feeling of differentness and of being chosen, and a special relationship to Israel. There is instilled above all, at home as in the religious school, a consciousness of being something rather than believing in something, a pride of being a Jew rather than believing in Judaism. From childhood it is to him a world of 'we' and 'they'. There is an overpowering recognition of a racial-ethnic link, and only among the small minority even a flickering awareness of a spiritual relationship to God.

Rodinson observes that the term 'Jew' has been associated with a variety of claims -some laudatory, some defamatory, and some even neutral. Rodinson further states that some of these claims are radically false, but none is totally true. And for very good reason: the word 'Jews' is applied to very different collections of men and women. Even the classical distinction between those considered Jews by others and those who consider themselves Jews does not suffice to exhaust all the forms of diversity.

Rodinson samples some of the most prevalent false notions about Jewish people and Jewishness, thus:

The Jews don't eat pork
The Jews are circumcised
Jews are greedy
Jews stick together
The native land of the Jews is Israel
All the Jews are now mobilized for Israel

Rodinson maintains that if we are to gain some understanding of the problems involving the Jews and especially issues relating to Jewish leadership, then we must constantly bear in mind that various sets of individuals are more or less commonly designated as Jews. One or another of the following sets is usually meant.

•. The adherents of a well-defined religion, Judaism: like any religion, Judaism has its dogmas (the oneness of God, his selection of a chosen people, etc.), its sacred history (Moses receiving the Law on Mount Sinai, the passage across the Red Sea, etc.), its multifarious and complex practices or rites (circumcision, sanctified holidays, dietary laws, etc.). As is the case with every religion nowadays, many adherents do not believe in this or that dogma, do not practise this or that rite, but nevertheless consider themselves among the faithful of the religion, part of a community historically formed on the basis of it, and not as part of any other. As in Christianity and other religions, many people practice only those 'rites of passage' which, they believe, are sufficient to establish their adherence: rites of birth, marriage, and death, and often accession to adulthood as well.

•. Descendants of adherents of Judaism who no longer consider themselves faithful to the religion and who on the contrary subscribe in practice to simply deist or even atheist ideas, who sometimes have even converted to other religions, but who nevertheless desire to maintain some link with the adherents of religious Judaism and thus regard themselves as forming a sort of ethnic-national community along with them, a people, to use the most common term.

. It is especially easy for Jews to adopt this attitude, since unlike purely universalist religions like Christianity, Islam, or Buddhism, Judaism has also retained many traces of its origin as an ethnic religion specific to a particular people of the ancient Middle East: the people of Israel, also called the Hebrew people. The boundary is, therefore, evanescent between Jews in the religious sense, who are often not very religious but attribute an ethnic-national connotation to their adherence to the faith, and Jews who consider themselves members of a people to which religious Jews belong as well. In any case, the latter are often motivated by a sentimentalism that ascribes an ethnic-national significance to Jewish rites, traditions, and even dogmas.

•. Other Jews: these are other descendants of adherents of Judaism who have rejected any affiliation either to the religion or to a Jewish people and who consider themselves atheists, deists, Christians, or whatever on the one hand, and French, Turkish, English, Arab, or whatever on the other. But despite this, since the memory of their descent from religious Jews has been preserved, others still consider them Jewish, at least on certain occasions and in certain contexts.

•. Unknown Jews: these are other descendants of adherents of Judaism whose ancestry is unknown by others and often by themselves; they can only be called 'unknown Jews'. The 'other' and 'unknown' or 'indeterminate persons' categories are commonly used especially among relatively large or diverse mono- or polyethnic communities.

Rodinson points out that transitions from one category to another are frequent. Sometimes they occur during the lifetime of a single individual; they occur quite often if we consider groups of lineages over time. In our epoch they are facilitated by the disappearance in a great part of the world of the religious communities of times gone by. In the Muslim world, transitions are hampered by the fact that the Jews of the first three categories are institutionally considered members of a 'Jewish community' (also called 'Mosaic') unless they have formally converted to another religion. One belongs to this community by virtue of one's birth, and remains in it (barring conversion) until death, regardless of one's inner convictions, just as one is a member of a given nationality even if one lacks the slightest inkling of patriotism. Jews born in the Muslim world have internalized this conception quite profoundly, and have carried it with them in their migrations.

Rodinson observes that the fault lines to the controversy surrounding Jewish self-definition depends on whether one is speaking from the point of view of Jewish involvement in politics at the national versus the diaspora or Israeli versus American, European or African Jewish 'nationalistic' perspective. Religion remains one of the important sources of intra-ethnic differences and controversy. These differences also mirror the geographic origins of the different branches of Jewish people. Place of origin has a profound influence in shaping the character of Jewish communities as they settled in different host countries.

According to Rodinson, the existence of most of the ethnic groups, peoples, and nations with which historians deal is circumscribed, over centuries, by specific factors that are lasting, stable, and even permanent, viz. community of territory, language, history, culture, and so on. The category of Jews, on the contrary, has for millennia been defined by constantly varying criteria. For the greater part of this historical span, the concrete base just mentioned has been lacking. It can be denied that the Jews have possessed the quality of an ethnic group, people, or nation in the full sense of these terms for the past two thousand years. What is more, the category in question can be defined in various ways, from within and without.

Rodinson concludes his review with the statement that the American definition approximates the Muslim model, though less rigorously. This is due to the multiplicity of groupings which reflects the formation of this nation of immigrants, the competition among them, and the attachment of most of them to a cultural specificity of their own, in addition to their membership of the greater American nation. The paragraphs that follow present some descriptions of aspects of Jews and Jewishness from a Jewish American point of view.

7. Characterizations of Jews and Jewishness

In terms of Gordis' analysis, scholars like Simon Dubnov (1) are correct to criticize both the 'theological' and 'spiritualistic' conceptions, the latter for reducing Jewish history to persecution and the striving for intellectual creativity. With good reason, Dubnov maintains that 'the Jewish people in all times and in all countries has had a history of its own, not only spiritually, but socially as well'. It is most assuredly a great advance to hold that the Jewish people in antiquity, whether independent, 'protected', or dispersed, did not live solely by contemplating the monotheistic idea; and that the Jewish communities of the medieval or modern diaspora were neither purely subjects of intellectual life nor purely objects of persecution. Equally assuredly, we must acknowledge that these various entities manifested the general tendency of social groups to preserve their own existence over time, and to defend their interests and aspirations as well as to defend or extend whatever advantages they enjoyed.

According to Gordis, there was in antiquity a Jewish group of a national type, characterized among other features by a national religion, as was the rule at the time. The Hebrew, and subsequently the Jewish, nation conformed to the normal tendencies of national groupings in the social, economic, political, and cultural conditions of the time. Naturally, it also had particular features of its own. The evolution of its religion as a function of the history of the nation lent this ideology a unique character. The Hebrew and Jewish prophetic tradition, a phenomenon that was common at the time, went through a very specific evolution, and the victory of the Jewish nation over neighbouring nations both afforded that tradition free rein and assured the preservation of the documents in which it was expressed. The national god Yahveh finally came to be conceived as the god of the universe, the one god excluding the very existence of other national gods.

Gordis maintains that the intense Jewish emigration of antiquity, too, must be explained by factors that were also at work everywhere – and these were economic in the first place. The Jewish nation was divided into a diaspora composed of multiple local groups and a Palestinian Jewish 'establishment' (yishuv). Many of these Jewish communities scattered around the world disappeared, melting away through assimilation into the societies within which they were located after adopting the religion, or one of the dominant religions, of those societies (this was the only way to do it in those days). Others shrank in number and withered through the individual assimilation (that is, the conversion) of many of their members to these religions. Nevertheless, a significant number of these communities throughout the world remained, preserving the religion of their ancestors, often converting fresh proselytes to it, maintaining cultural features linked to the religion, and conserving links among one another, despite the considerable differences separating them.

Before the modern epoch, however, societies of the national type – those that prefigured modern nations, extending beyond the earlier tribal structure, whatever they may be called – were characterized by extreme internal partitioning, which seems to be related quite simply to the insufficient force of the unifying factors. The mercantile economy, large-scale international trade, and the relative power of state structures had finally succeeded in piercing the barriers between tribes or village communities, in imposing unification on a more or less broad scale. But the state still commanded limited means of action. Sub-administration, as it would be called today, was the rule and not the exception. This impelled leaders to administer through the intermediation of multifarious bodies, sorts of sub-states that were also quasi-states. The pre-nation was a conglomerate of largely autonomous communities, which administered themselves and from which minimal allegiance to the state was demanded (1).

The essential symbol of this allegiance was taxes, to which the sovereign bodies quite naturally assigned top priority. In many cases a military contribution was also required. Public order had to be respected. Apart from that, these communities lived their own lives. For their members, they represented the general society to which they owed their allegiance most of all, of which they felt themselves an integral part, and at the level of which they conceived their interests and aspirations, as is the rule in the structures that predate the age of modern individualism, in which people feel linked (at most) only to the state that dominates and controls them from above (1).

It is thus to the advantage of these communities to encourage this tendency towards preserving their own existence, which characterizes social groups in any event. There was indeed a hierarchical social stratification, kinds of pre-classes, just as there were kinds of pre-nations. But common action and consciousness on their part collided with the force of the community structures. They therefore broke loose only on great occasions, notably in Christian Europe, where powerful institutions consolidated the hierarchy in question.

The Jews organized and administered themselves as Jews, presented themselves to society as forming a Jewish group in the midst of others. They tended to remain Jews so long as no powerful forces compelled them to cease to be. The size of the communities varied as a function of all sorts of factors, but strong pressure was never lastingly and simultaneously exerted to uproot this set of communities completely in all the countries in which the Jews lived, that is, throughout nearly the whole known world. The so-called miracle of Jewish survival at which Christian theologians and Jewish nationalists alike have marvelled, may be reduced to this.

Gordis maintains that the unique character of Jews is, in fact, a trait that is shared among the ancient people of the Middle East. In the Muslim East, for example, where medieval conditions have largely persisted to the present day, sects or religious communities have subsisted for centuries and millennia, even though few of their adherents show any great interest in the doctrines that gave rise to them so long ago. Like the Jews, the Druzes, who are no more than Syrian or Lebanese peasants, are aware that their customs are different from those of others. Like the Jews, they also tend to react as a unit, much like a little nation or sub-nation, however much they have been encompassed within many different successive states. They have fiercely defended their identity, their particularism, their group interests, and they continue to do so to a large extent, despite the fact that they share most of the cultural features of their neighbours of the other religious communities, speak the same Arabic language, and belong to the Arab ethnic group according to all the usual criteria – and this despite the recent strength of the ideology of Arab nationalism, which exerts pressure towards unification.

8. The Uniqueness of the Jews

To further qualify the characterization of Jews as a unique people, Gordis cites an incident in which he had challenged an anthropologist colleague to name any other group of people that matches the uniqueness of the Jews. The colleague, correctly, mentioned the Parsees of India whose religion, culture, and a sense of kinship are uniquely their own. Cecil Roth (7) has had something to say about Jewish claims of uniqueness. Against the background of Nazi persecution of Jews, Roth points out that the assault on the Jew is made on 'racial', not religious grounds. Persons in whose veins ran the blood of a single Jew as far as three generations back - of one traceable Jewish great-grandparent, that is – were officially penalised on that account in Nazi Germany, on the plea that their stock was alien, and ipso facto harmful to German, 'Nordic', and European cultural life. The Jewish people, moreover, are consistently blamed for the actions of persons of Jewish origin, who not only have cut themselves off from Jewish life, but even have professed markedly anti-Jewish sentiments, which they have not scrupled to translate into action. Hence one is justified in attempting to evaluate the Jewish contribution in terms of Jews, and not of Judaism alone - by taking into account those contributions made by persons of traceable Jewish ancestry, whatever their religious affiliation or sympathies.

Roth goes on to say that in the absence of such a religious distinction, one would find it difficult to assess precisely what a Jew is. Without entering into controversies on 'race' and 'blood', nationality and religion, one should state, as an historical fact, that however distinct the Jews may have been from their neighbours ethnologically at the beginning of their settlement in Europe, this distinction has been progressively modified. For countless generations, every European country pursued as a point of principle the policy of encouraging conversions from Judaism to the dominant faith by every means which lay in its power, fair or foul. There were baptisms from conviction. There were baptisms from material interest. There were forced baptisms, on an enormous scale, in more countries than one. If this violent pressure has been relaxed during the last century and a half, the tendency has been maintained by the constant procession of those converted from conviction or from convenience, or who have drifted insensibly into the majority by the gradual process of assimilation.

It is impossible to escape the conclusion that the much-discussed 'racial' differentiation between the Jews and their neighbours - especially in those countries, like Germany, in which their settlement is of oldest date - is largely artificial. The amount of traceable Jewish blood among non-Jews is surprisingly great, even if one goes back for as little as a single century. By the same token, few Jews can fail to have some tincture of non-Jewish blood in their veins. Lucien Wolf (1) said 'the Jew who emerged from the ghetto was no longer a Palestinian Semite, but an essentially modern European who differed from his Christian fellow-countrymen only in the circumstances that his religion was of the olden Semitic form, and that his physical type had become sharply defined through a slightly more rigid exclusiveness in the matter of marriages than that practised by Protestants and Roman Catholics.

Like many writers and researchers of his time, Roth used of the term 'Jew' to refer to a person whose immediate ancestors professed the Jewish religion. His rationale is that the differentiation is clearly to some extent an artificial one. The background and the upbringing of the Jewish and non-Jewish elements are in many instances identical. In the case of persons of mixed ancestry, the fifty or twenty-five per cent of Jewish blood cannot be proved the decisive factor in the determination of the particular genius of a poet or playwright or philanthropist. No more is it, of course, in the determination of the character of a criminal, a decadentist, or a revolutionary. If the Jewish people are to receive a full measure of blame for the one category, they are justified in claiming some measure of credit for the other.

Further, Roth states that the Jew is distinguished, perhaps, by a slightly greater degree of intellectualisation: possibly by a freshness of outlook, natural in one whose approach tends to be external; and, in consequence, by a faculty for synthesis and for introducing new ideas. He is apt to show, in fact, certain characteristics inevitable in persons who belong, through the circumstances of their history, to a single sociological group. To say more is hazardous.

Addressing himself to the position of American Jewry, Samuelson (2) points out that the emancipation of Jews in western Europe, most notably Germany, produced three kinds of Jews. Firstly, most Jews who simply remained within the Jewish world and were, therefore, not overtly affected by the Christian world at all. Second, there were Jews who readily abandoned Judaism to move into the general society because they saw participation in that society to be an improvement over life in the Jewish world. These were not self-hating Jews, rather they were people who, given an option, chose what they believed to be a better alternative. They did not primarily abandon Judaism – rather they primarily chose to become western believing that to become western required leaving Judaism. Lastly, there was a small group of Jews who decided to enter western civilization and to remain Jewish. This last group sought to make sense out of becoming westernized and remaining Jewish. Although they were the smallest group, they were the only Jews who mattered.

Returning to the issue of Jewish role and position within the society, Gordis states that one of the hallmarks of modern Jews is their preoccupation – or obsession – with Jewish survival and the preservation of Jewish identity. Jews have had their hands full trying to tell apart who among them is more Jewish than the rest of them. An unresolved issue remains whether Jews who are physically resident in the state of Israel have more right to claim being first-rate Jews than those found elsewhere in the Jewish diaspora. Attempts at resolving the issue of Jewish identity remains one of the most divisive problems facing contemporary Jews. The father of modern Israeli political leadership, Ben-Gurion, fuelled Jewish division through his well-known resentment of diaspora Jews. He chastized them for being 'only part-time Jews at best, for the few minutes that you pray every day. The houses you live in were not built by Jews. The bread you eat is not baked by Jews. Here in Israel our Jewishness is expressed in what we build, write or do. Here we do things as full Jews' (1).

The father of political Zionism, Theodor Herzl (18), commented that there are more mistaken notions concerning Jews than concerning any other people. And we have become so depressed and discouraged by historic sufferings that we ourselves repeat and believe these mistakes. Such a one is the assertion that we have an immoderate love of business. The Jewish philosopher, Samuelson (2) wrote that from the beginning of the history of Jewish thought, the question, 'what is a Jew' had not been raised. There was no problem about what it meant to say that someone was a Jew. A Jew was any person who was part of a particular people or nation called at one time 'Israel,' at another 'Judea,' and then again 'Israel'.

Samuelson's (2) review of Jewish American writers' usage of the word 'Jew' yielded a number of distinct classifications. In one sense, a Jew is either someone whose mother is Jewish or who has undergone a religious conversion to rabbinic Judaism. In another regard, a Jew is someone raised in a working class, Eastern European home, in the predominantly Jewish section of some large city. Consequently, they share a number of ethnic and cultural tastes, interests, and associations common to people with this kind of background. While the word 'Jew' is used in both these ways, they are not the senses in which these writers tend to be interested in being Jewish. Rather, in writing as Jews, they often use the word to describe someone who, by virtue of both his circumstances and his emotional and moral temperament, is an outsider to main currents of social and political life in the world in which he finds himself; consequently, he is one who suffers. The immediate sources of what is meant to be a Jew are popular family characterisations of the Jewish people as wanderers and victims of persecution which the writers combine with literary themes learned from modern Russian, German, and English writers.

In addressing himself to shades of Jewry or Jewishness within the American vantage point, Alfred M. Lilienthal (8) identifies several categories of people who subscribe to different aspects of Jewishness. Lilienthal's views appear to echo those of diaspora Jews who harbour strong views against issues dominated by active political Zionism as well as the tendency – among Jewish communities – to use or mix religion, Jews customs and rituals with the politics of the state of Israel. The next few paragraphs feature an abridged summary of Lilienthal's sentiments on the topic under review. The abbreviated summary also incorporates the views of Maxime Rodinson – a French Jew whose strong opinions about Jewish issues have kept him on an intellectual run for a relatively long time.

Further, Lilienthal observes that of the varied forms of Judaism, Orthodoxy, more than its Reform and Conservative offspring, is most nearly a purely religious grouping. The religious rituals of this oldest form of Judaism require the literal observance of 613 Torah-prescribed commandments. To the ultraorthodox, the Neturei-Karta sect whose Israeli community lives near the gates of Jerusalem, the true state of Israel does not yet exist because the re-creation of the nation, according to the Law as literally interpreted, was to follow only on the appearance of a God-sent Messiah.

Modern Judaism, apart from Orthodoxy - gathers unto itself followers moved by diverse reasons and compulsions; the wish to attend the synagogue on the High Holy Days; the feeling of obligation to support Jewish charities; the craving for the company of Jews, exclusively or more than others; the 'feeling of a special affinity to the Jewish race or nationality; the speaking of Yiddish and a love of 'Jewish' cooking; the suffering from a feeling of inferiority based on belonging to an oppressed minority (often concealed under a feeling of superiority); and the belief that the world makes one a Jew, come what may (8).

9. Jewishness within the American Society

According to Lilienthal, the largest group of Jews (in America) probably consists of those who insist they are Jews because the world makes them Jews - a cult woven around the web of antisemitism. Henry Hurwitz (8) stated that Jews can hardly quit being Jews (short of death), since in the world's lexicon a Jew is one who is born a Jew or looks like a Jew, whether he is faithful to Judaism or not. Whether the world, in fact, does make them Jews or not, many whose parents practised the faith consider themselves, out of pride and stubbornness, bound to Judaism. 'So long as it is considered a disadvantage to be a Jew, we will stick' is the attitude of some who have neither graced the inside of a synagogue in scores of years nor adhered to the moral precepts of the religion.

For other Jews their affiliation is far more a state of digestion or of language than of spirit. Their Jerusalem is likely to be located in any number of Seventh Avenue delicatessens renowned for matzoth balls, pastrami and herring. Truly, there are those who seem to think that religious bonds are maintained through the consumption of certain foods that they love to eat or through the utterance of certain Yiddish or Jewish expressions, and the common appreciation of these 'cultural' bonds helps strengthen the 'we' feeling of the group against the 'they' of the outside world. To still others - and these are in the majority - being a Jew means two or three treks a year to the synagogue on the High Holy Days and perhaps attendance at a Passover ceremony. Between these holidays they feel little or no compulsion either to commune with their Judaic God or to adhere to the preachments of the Hebrew prophets. The togetherness and clannishness of the community is a substitute for religiosity in these intervals. Synagogues serve more and more as social, not religious, centres. Many individuals consider themselves members of the Judaic faith simply because they feel completely at home only with certain people who also consider themselves Jews (8).

Jewishness thus is substituted for Judaism by tens of thousands as their way of holding to 'their faith'. Where Jewishness, as the sum total of activities in which Jews engage together may be increasing, Judaism as the relationship to God and traditional religious teachings most certainly is not. Some who may be reluctant to identify themselves with activities on behalf of the Jewish national state, nevertheless, refuse to cut the umbilical cord with the 'Jewish people' (8). They refer to Jewish culture or Jewish tradition, however difficult it may be to define these phrases beyond a desire for group identification.

There are even some, Lilienthal points out, calling themselves Jews, who not only will have no part of any kind of Jewish theology but are opposed to Zionism, to Jewish nationalism and to the concept of a Jewish people. It is difficult to see why, save through a desire for self-identification, they call themselves Jews. The majority of Jewish Americans, apart from the vaguest commitment to ethical principles, find their religion consisting of an allegiance to the Jewish people and membership in a Jewish community whose centre and principal raison d'être increasingly seem to be the state of Israel. But even though their religion has lost its real content, it remains the unifying symbol for Jewry (8).

In Israel itself, the state and its nationalism dominate religious observance. The extent of religious chauvinism in theocratic Israel is illustrated by regulations such as: a Jew may not marry a non-Jewess; a non-Jew may not marry a Jewess; there is no civil marriage in Israel, and those contracted abroad may be dissolved by the rabbinical court; the rabbinical courts have exclusive jurisdiction over Jews in all personal matters, and family relations are dealt with according to laws and rules which were formulated in the middle, if not the ancient, ages (8).

Further, Lilienthal asserts that what makes the Jewish community composed as it is in Jewish metropolitan centres of so many heterogeneous elements a community, is its ability to act corporeally. It has a common set of attitudes and values based on common traditions, similar experiences and common problems. In spite of its geographical separateness, it is welded into a community because of conflict and pressure from without and collective action within. The Jewish community is a cultural community. It is as near an approach to communal life as the modern city has to offer.

According to Lilienthal, Jewish communal ties invariably come to life when any form of antisemitism is displayed. It is no exaggeration to state that Judaism for many has become a preoccupation with antisemitism rather than a worship of Jehovah. Whenever the clarion call of antisemitism is sounded, it reminds the sheep that they belong to the flock. Nothing else is nearly so effective, not even the coming of the High Holy Days. The continuous discussion of antisemitism in its multifold forms, particularly the Russian, serves as a 'spiritual' hypodermic for those whose ties to Judaism rest on the negative grounds that the world makes them Jews.

Lilienthal argues that to regard these ties among people who call themselves Jews as primarily a religious relationship is dangerous oversimplification. Religion to the theologian is a set of metaphysical doctrines concerning the nature of the universe and the meaning of human life. In a less technical sense, religion involves man's attitude toward a controlling supernatural power that demands reverence and, usually, organized worship. But only a tiny facet of being a Jew involves this spiritual aspect. The composite concepts of race, people, nation, tribe, community and culture as well as religion have been merged together under the name of Judaism. But this is Jewish nationalism, often described by such adjectives as separate, distinct, different and chosen.

To conclude Lilienthal's review and interpretation of what it means to be a Jew outside of the state of Israel, the point made is that the Jew's dichotomous nature, originally rooted in circumstances beyond his control, today stems from his voluntary association with Israel. The word 'Jew' was coming to denote simultaneously a member of a religion scattered over the entire world and a particular racial-national-communal-ethnic group bound closely to the fortunes of a foreign state. In the guise of religious duty, the political problems of Israel were made to appear the political responsibility of Jews in the diaspora. The nationals of another country were thus underwriting the policies and politics of a foreign state.

10. Jewishness within the South African Society

Commenting on the dynamics and challenges working the post-apartheid South African Jewry, Dennis Davis (9) suggests that the primary question to be asked is: to what extent can one be a committed Jew and be equally in favour of a society based on deliberation? There would appear to be four different responses to this problem: resist any openness, openness to the outside world but not to Jews, openness to all, and the benefits of an open society for all but Jews. The first approach, resist any openness, itself resists any assertion or claim to commonality to the outside world. It argues that Jews are superior, not simply different, and hence there is no need to engage with inferior culture. Thus, it is a superiority that invests Jewish life with greater value in the eyes of the Torah which dictates that in the case where a Jew and a non-Jew face drowning, the Jew must save the life of a Jew first because there is something special about Jewish DNA. There is something infinitely more holy and unique about Jewish life than non-Jewish life.

With regard to the alternative of openness to all but not to all Jews, Davis states that this approach has become a dominant strain within contemporary South African Jewish life, arguably because Orthodox rabbinical leadership has adopted a culture of authority within secular South African life. Davis presents ample evidence to demonstrate the extent of the shaky theological foundation underlying the approach. Davis argues that the third alternative, open society for all, must include the second seeing that one cannot be contemptuous of fellow Jews and simultaneously be committed to a principle of freedom and equality for all. Thus, if a Jew is concerned with the 'Other' then commitment to the second and third alternatives must follow simultaneously (9).

Davis further points out that the dominant strain within Orthodoxy is a commitment to closure to all but those who commit to the same theological position. It is one in which the dignity demanded by Soloveitchik's Adam is paramount and in which the role of the Jew is to build from within and not to bother about the outside world. Davis states that the past decade has seen a closure of the Jewish mind. It has witnessed a marked rise in adherence to ritual but this has come at a high price - the closure of the Jewish mind, the creation of a massive 'Other' within Jewish ranks, a hatred of difference and a consequent rejection of any possible reconciliation between Muslim and Jew, Palestinian and Israeli. Of equal importance, this form of Judaism promotes the group at all costs. The individual is then subsumed under the weight of obligations to the group, Judaism then becomes a custom-made product, and the possibility for individual development implodes.

Against the foregoing discourse, Davis picks out some of the pointed difficulties that arise whenever Jewish people engage the issue of self-definition. These different positions or interpretations can be answered in one of many ways, for example, a Jew could be one who is (i) a witness to transcendence and the presence of God; a person in whose life Abraham would feel at home, a person for whom Rabbi Akiba would feel deep affinity, a person of whom Jewish martyrs of all ages would not be ashamed; (ii) a person whose integrity decays when unmoved by the knowledge of wrong done to other people; (iii) a person in travail with God's dreams and designs; a person to whom God is a challenge and not an abstraction. He who is called on to be involved in the sanctification of time and in building of the Holy Land; to cultivate passion for justice and the ability to experience the arrival of Friday night as an event; and (iv) a person who knows how to recall and to keep alive what is holy in his people's past and to cherish the promise and the vision of redemption in the days to come. This definition allows for engagement and dialogue. It opposes the present dominant strain in which God is seen as sitting in the sky with a bank of television screens, deciding when to intervene in human affairs (9).

Davis maintains that Jews who wish to pass on a tradition to their children where tikkun olam means adherence to justice tempered by compassion, the closure of the Jewish mind has come at too great a cost to the next generation. He also contends that if South African Jews failed to promote an open society in the dark days of apartheid, when the moral issues were so starkly set out and when the cloud of Kandahar had not spread throughout the Jewish firmament, the question must arise as to the possibility of such a contribution in more nuanced moral times and within a faith community which has increasingly shown its affection for the darkness of such theological clouds.

While some authors sought to define or describe Jews and Jewishness from a pre- or post-Holocaust intellectual perspective, such definitions have tended to lose their usefulness in the abstract realm of intellectual theory and over-academisation. Many sober scholars have, however, approached the issue from an historical perspective. They have, therefore, been able to offer their rationale for taking up the challenge of Jewish definition. Thus, the reason Jews had to define themselves lie at the centre of their obsession with the survival of the entire Jewish people i.e. who they were or are in terms of history, religion, and their place in human society and contribution. These definitions also had to explain Jewishness in terms of other distinguishing features such as customs and ritual practices, morality and ethical code, and self-image versus the Gentile or non-Jewish people's perceptions of the Jews (9).


1. The Schnorrer and the Luftmensch Persona

Jews like other communities the world over have responded to the human need to create a fictitious personality who is the comical carrier of the community's foibles, excesses and failings. Every geographic or cultural region has its own fictitious 'persona' such as the world renowned thick Irish or the vain Texan. These fictitious personifications are the brainchildren of the community's creative spirit. A closer look at the characterizations reveals subtle differences between in- and out-group perceptions. Members of the in-group or community are more considerate and kinder towards their own personification. Although a lamentable or pathetic comic, the fictitious personality spares the community total humiliation or embarrassment. The characterization allows the darker sides of the in-group's collective fantasies to be parodied in a relatively kinder and more considerate manner. The self-criticism does not impair the ethical and moral integrity as well as the honour, reputation and self-esteem of the group or community. Thus, beneath the veneer of his rough and tough carapace, that iconoclastic Van der Merwe is the very model of Afrikaner hospitality, conviviality, raw courage, inventiveness, and God-fearing humility.

Conversely, members of competing or out-group communities seldom spare these fictitious personalities any embarrassment or humiliation. Those on the outside of the group or community tend to view or use these caricatures with a measure of malice. There is a general no-holds-barred tendency in how outsiders relate jokes or stories about members of rival groups or communities. The jokes or comments often cut rather too close to the bone. Although the contents of the commentary or joke may be identical between in- and out-group members, the latter are less restrained with biting social comment and ridicule. Inside the company of black South Africans, the humble and caring Van der Merwe becomes somewhat a crude, cruel, and gross racist who goes by the name of Koekemoer. Similarly, the Indian 'Tjaro' is not as shrewd a wheeler-dealer as Indians would love to see themselves. Instead, the Tjaro of black townships personalizes all the prejudices and stereotypes that Africans harbour against members of this community.

The famously infamous Zulu television persona 'Sdumo' of a comedy by a similar name has had so many re-runs, thus allowing rival non-Zulu groups to have a field day of ridicule against Zulus. Given South Africa's deep-seated racial sensitivities, television personalities of the Sdumo genre arrive in the lounges of television viewers with their rough edges or objectionable tribal manners neatly tucked under heaps of studio make-up and lights. The same cannot be said, however, of the victim(s) of African xenophobia or urban-rural antipathy commonly known as 'magoduka', 'Jim-comes-to-Joburg' or 'mafikizolo', or 'makwerekwere'. The latter personalities are fondly used by South Africa's urban dwellers against their newly arrived country bumpkins or 'uncouth' foreigners. These seemingly derogatory nomenclatures often become very useful tools for transforming negative ethnic stereotypes into highly effective mindsets among the youths of affected ethnic groups.

In post-apartheid democratic society, many of South Africa's ethnic groups are learning to convert hitherto derogatory ethnic stereotypes into effective tools for breeding future members of the ethnic groups into highly effective representatives of the group in particular, and of the broader 'rainbow' nation in general. Thus, the smaller or peripheral ethnic-tribal groups, for example, the Tsonga-Shangana, Venda, and Ndebele have to find creative ways of circumventing years of the highly discriminatory associations with such labels as 'amaShangane' or 'amaVenda'. Similarly, other recent arrivals to urban South Africa – the so-called 'makwerekwere' will have to adopt tactics that prove that 'kwerekwere' personalities are highly capable of outstanding achievements for the benefit of their particular groups and that of broader society. The currency of these labels is diminished only when new or younger generations of the discriminated groups out-perform rivals from the mainstream or majority groups. From that point onwards, the new generations are integrated into the larger society. However, in response to inter-ethnic dynamics, the habit of creating ethnic personality labels for self or against rival groups takes another form.

2. Zionism as an Effective Tool for Boosting Jewish Self-Esteem

Addressing himself to the Jewish transformation from a low to high self-esteem people, Gonen (10) points out that Jews used Zionism as a radical tool that successfully forged a new breed of men and women who think and feel differently from their forebears. Zionism aspired to a far-reaching metamorphosis of the collective Jewish mentality from shameful bondage to proud self-mastery. In this striving toward a new psychological makeup, the newly emerging Jews found two related concepts particularly abhorrent: one was the 'schnorrer' and the other the 'luftmensch', or the beggar and the pipe dreamer. Both were the result of a restrictive environment that did not treat Jews fairly, thus pushing them to the extremes of unsatisfactory breadwinning. Jewish leadership used different means to transform their image from one of inferiority to that built around superiority or invincibility.

For instance, the Jewish writer, Sholom Aleichem (10), wrote a story about 'The Town of the Little People' to address the poverty imposed by the poverty conditions associated with the role of a schnorrer. A schnorrer is a beggar, a pauper, a pleader, a person who degrades himself and forfeits his pride for the sake of a handout. The schnorrer insists on trying to receive charity but it usually eludes him. His many efforts frequently result in downright failure which, in turn, produces an acute sense of shame. Thus, even an occasional success in soliciting a handout involves the price of humiliation. A schnorrer, after all, is someone who has to goad and cajole others into giving him charity and sustaining him because of his previous failures. Whatever the result, all he manages to do is experience a further loss of pride. Thus the schnorrer courts failure and adds insult to injury.

Many other Jewish literary writers and thought leaders used similar tools to encourage Jews to jettison years of emotional baggage. For instance, Sigmund Freud used a series of schnorrer jokes to illustrate tendentious jokes or that class of jokes which direct a rebellious criticism either toward the self or toward a group or nation to which the self belongs. In Jewish culture, jokes about schnorrers serve as a good example of humorous self-criticism by means of tendentious jokes. Naturally, the schnorrer does not like to perceive himself as such, and engages in psychological manoeuvres that reverse the situation and make him either the giver, or at least not the receiver, of charity. This is well illustrated by one of the jokes reported by Freud (10). One schnorrer, on hearing from another that the baron was in a bad mood that day and was giving no more than one florin to each beggar, decided to go and see the baron just the same. His reasoning was as follows: Why should I give the baron a florin; does the baron give me anything? Thus the schnorrer was going to see the baron, not for the purpose of schnorring, but in order to avoid giving the baron a florin that he did not deserve. With this kind of rationale, the basic decision became whether to give or not to give a florin to the baron rather than to beg or not to beg for one.

As mentioned earlier, most ethnic communities have mixed feelings about the fictitious personifications that are foisted on them either by their own thought leaders or those of rival communities or groups. Gonen says that Jews are equally ambivalent against schnorring. For instance it is considered clever and smart to use propaganda for monetary gains. The propaganda provides the requisite emotional gratification in return for financial aid. This issue has spawned numerous jokes to lampoon gullible affluent Jewish Americans. For instance, a European tourist is being taken on a tour of Tel-Aviv by an Israeli host. As they pass by the Hall of Culture bearing the name of one Mann, the tourist inquires if the plaque honours the famous writer Thomas Mann?' The host answers that the plaque refers to Frederick Mann who wrote cheques. Thus, one way of counteracting this sense of shame was to regard Jewish contributions from abroad as 'Jewish taxes' (10). The underlying assumption was that there is a scattered Jewish nation, in which the Israeli group is bearing the heaviest burden. Paying a 'fair share' to bear this burden is every Jew's obligation. From this viewpoint, while Israelis are being taxed with both money and blood, the rich American Jews are lucky to get away with only blood money.

At any rate, the concept of a Jewish tax, including as it does a notion of fairness as well as national obligation, avoids the shame of begging. The reversal of roles in this conception is worth noting. Just as Freud's beggar reversed his problem from that of receiving charity to that of giving charity to the baron, so do Israelis reverse roles through their use of the concept of fair trade. The American Jews are not donating money, for which Israelis might feel shameful; on the contrary, the Israelis are donating pride. This 'charity' is already given by the Israelis to the American Jews, and cannot really be withheld. But the American Jews have the option of buying it rather than receiving it free of charge, for which they should be grateful (10).

Gonen emphasizes the point that the need not to be a schnorrer is a deep-rooted psychological heritage of Jews in general, rather than Israelis in particular. American Jews are motivated by similar feelings in relation to American society at large. Thus, one can frequently hear American Jews say such things as 'There are almost no Jews on welfare' or 'we take care of our own'. Many of the feelings that enter into such pronouncements are of a positive nature and relate to the pride that comes with reaching the positive standards of one's culture. Such remarks indicate that 'all Jews are brethren' (Kol Yisrael haverim) not only in word but in deed. Yet they also express feelings of 'no more': no more discrimination, no more second-class citizenship, and so on. The pride in the negligible number of Jews on welfare rolls is not merely a pride in the intelligence or economic success of Jews; it is a deep historical sigh of relief over the fact that schnorring, the condensed symbol of the impact of slavery on Jews, is at long last disappearing from Jewish life (10).

3. The Luftmensch Persona

Another facet of the negative ego-ideal that Jews wish to rid themselves is the stereotypic figure of the 'luftmensch' (man of air). The luftmensch and luftgescheften (air business or pipedreams) are familiar concepts in Jewish culture that were brought to Israel from Eastern Europe. Jewish literature has exploited the familiar figure of the luftmensch. The literature emphasizes the point that the economic conditions and restrictions in ghetto life inevitably created the man who would constantly engage in fruitless moneymaking schemes when in reality the cards were already stacked against him. The fictitious Menachem Mendel of Yehupetz is probably the most famous and ceaseless luftmensch in Jewish culture. Menachem Mendel's brain is constantly fantasising tremendous financial transactions and quick new ways for making big money. Although he always ends up losing his shirt, he never stops dreaming of great fortunes that are won and lost, and maintains his hope that by his compulsive moving on from one failed scheme to another he will eventually be rewarded by a great success that will enrich him for life. Inevitably the endless dreams of the luftmensch result in thin air or 'the one that go away' (10).

As the literary critic Maurice Samuel (10) pointed out, the predominance of luftmenschen among Jews, was the result of complex psychological and economic interactions. Sholom added that similar restrictive conditions are likely to produce Menachem Mendels among other peoples, but that Jews had more than their share. He concluded that while Menachem Mendel cannot be regarded as a fool, he definitely is sick and is 'the apotheosis of Jewish rootlessness'. Unquestionably, being forced into becoming a luftmensch, who has to engage in luftgescheften for a living, evoked a sense of shame which rankled deeply in many Jews.

Gonen maintains that the self-image of being luftmenschen stuck with the Jews, and they became desperately eager to get rid of it. It still sticks, however, and they are still trying to get rid of it. At one point in his autobiography, Chaim Weizmann indicated that during a difficult period in his life, when his political activities were frustrated and his laboratory and books were neglected, he began to feel that he was in danger of degenerating into a luftmensch. Not surprisingly, however, a leader with such stamina as Weizmann managed to escape this danger. Nowadays, one can hear Israeli students in high schools or in the universities referring to the humanities as luft or air studies. If you choose the sciences, then you're all right; if you choose the humanities, you may still be all right, but you are entitled to joke about it defensively and say that you are a luftmensch or that you study luftgescheften (10).

Menachem Mendel (10), as the epitome of the luftmensch has left a deep impact on Jews. The literary figure reveals the enormous danger for Jews from the classical Jewish heritage of the Galut. The unrealistic dreamer represents the psychological inheritance of the Galut as well as the danger of transplanting this mentality into life in Israel. In essence, what Israelis regard as Galut mentality is the psychological attitude of seeing oneself as the victim of one's fate rather than its master, and the passive acceptance of the condition of exile, social discrimination, economic restriction, and mental and physical persecution.

Jewish literary commentators have emphasized the negative implications of the luftgescheften condition for Jews. More specifically, Jews have the potential to remain eternal wanderers and dreamers of dreams, embroiled in fantastic and groundless transactions all over the globe, persisting in living that way no matter what goes on in the world. Should this trend assume the upper hand and prevail among Israelis, then the Jewish homeland will merely transform itself into another Exile. The image of Menachem Mendel as the luftmensch has sunk deeply into the minds of Jews. Israelis do not act like 'men of air' today, but they may still have a need to make sure that the image has indeed changed.

4. Jewish Self-Image and Perception of Gentiles

The route that Jewish people took in order to transform their identity and image deficit led them to make painful but necessary adjustments to aspects of their history, traditional thoughts and customs. The vehicle for this transformation took the form of the Zionist rebellion against tradition. As Gonen puts it, it took the form of turning away from books and studies in favour of engaging in physical work, even with bare hands if need be. This was a radical step given that for too long in Jewish history only working with the head had been regarded as fruitful, while working with the hands had been considered shameful, degrading, or at least of secondary importance.

The roots of this tradition may lie in the old biblical phrase 'the voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau' (Genesis 27:22). As we may recall, Jacob the tent dweller, who used his head, outsmarted Esau the skilled hunter, who used his hands, and cheated Esau out of his inheritance, Isaac's blessing. The blessing was the birthright of Esau by virtue of his being the first-born child. In Jewish tradition, Jacob came to symbolise the Jews and Esau the Gentiles. Thus, an image of contrasting roles was formed whereby the Jews were supposed to use their heads and the Gentiles their muscles. Jacob's voice and Esau's hands are therefore well understood and condensed Jewish symbols for role distinctions between Jew and Gentile (10).

Zionist leaders used various methods and strategies to encourage tradition-bound Jews to spread their hitherto brain-oriented attitudes to developing and exploiting their brawn. Prior to Jewish commitment to avoid pursuit of work that required the use of well-honed minds, Jewish thought leaders employed a variety of methods and strategies to promote role distinctions. Gonen cites two examples, one a folk song and the other a poem. In the folk song the message conveyed is that while Jacob spends his time praising the Lord and devoting himself to his family, Esau spends his time drinking and beating his wife. Thus, the superior Jew uses his head in a variety of worthwhile pursuits, both divine and mundane, while the inferior Gentile uses his hands in degrading activities. In the poem, a devoted student of the Talmud asserts that he has not taught his arm to hit with a fist, nor did he exhaust himself in drinking and prostitution. His pursuits were of a different nature. The implication, here, was that unlike the Goy (Gentile) who exhausts himself in wine, women, and the use of his fists, the Jewish hero uses his head in dedication to God and justice. Gonen concludes that the modern Hebrew poet was not merely speaking for himself. As on many other issues, he was expressing the attitude of his people: 'The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau' (10).

Gonen maintains that historical roots existed for this polarisation of images between Jacob and Esau, or between Jews and Gentiles. Dimont (10) postulated that the life of the Jews in either the city ghetto or the rural shtetl (village) accentuated the psychological gap between Jews and Gentiles. In his opinion, it was impossible for Jewish children not to sense early in life the difference between their values and those of the neighbouring Gentile children playing barefoot in the streets and barnyards. To Jewish children, intellectual, scholarly, and spiritual pursuits became identified as Jewish values, whereas sensual, gross, and menial preoccupations became identified as Gentile. Dimont therefore maintained that no matter how much contempt Gentiles had for Jews, Jews viewed them in turn with even greater contempt.

As previously stated the whole issue of Jewish self-definition and perceptions of non-Jews reflected a variety of Jewish dialectics. Throughout their history, the Jews or 'People of the Book' (10) entertained feelings of superiority over the Gentiles who did not foster the popular tradition of learning as the Jews did. It therefore became a prevalent notion among Jews that they are supposed to use their heads while the Gentiles do the dirty work. Theodor Herzl was intuitively aware of both the Jewish conviction of superiority and their underlying feelings of inferiority and humiliation. In Barbara Tuchman's opinion, Herzl's personality* reached out to a deep underlying conviction of superiority in Jewry, a conviction hidden beneath centuries of humiliation. One may add that he was also aware of the other side of the coin. With great insight, Herzl remarked in his diary under the title that the Jews, being a despised people, are hungry for koved (honour), and therefore by catering to it, one could lead them (10).

In relation to Jewish feelings of inferiority, asserts Gonen, it is important to underscore the fact that with sufficient feelings of superiority and pride, people are able to put up with other feelings of inferiority and humiliation. They can tolerate a mixed score as long as there is sufficient compensation, not to mention overcompensation, for the feelings of inadequacy. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, however, doubts started to creep in as to who was faring better. Gentiles seemed to have geographic roots, some autonomy, and national identity; in short, they had something to fall back on for a measure of security and self-respect. What is more, they seemed to flourish in both material and spiritual cultures, and had great institutions of learning.

On the other hand, with all the use of their heads, the Jews did not have their own country as most other nations did. When it came to using their hands they were largely schlemiels, frequently due to their being barred from professions that required physical work. This verdict, by the way, reflects what was a prevalent notion and a general feeling in the minds of many Jews; it is not a statement of fact concerning the specific products of Jewish tailors, peasants, and other Jews who used their hands. At any rate, the time came when the superior Jews were feeling inferior and were once more grasping for a sense of superiority. They did this in a compensatory fashion by turning their liability into an asset (10).

5. Jewish Psychology of Compensation and Over-compensation

Gonen maintains that in his work, the psychoanalyst Alfred Adler sought to explain the Jewish psychology of compensation and overcompensation which stems from initial feelings of inferiority. Compensation refers to bringing an individual to an optimal level of competence and overcompensation meant the individual must excel in some area in order to feel adequate. The focus of Jewish compensation and overcompensation revolved around the fact that they felt 'defective' for being exiled, persecuted, leading an abnormal economic life, and for not engaging in physical work to the extent that many people of other nations did. Now they were going to compensate for it, and the form this compensation took, using Adler's concept, was that of direct overcompensation. Gonen cites the pioneering work of ardent Zionist A. D. Gordon, who spearheaded a movement from defect to excellence in the Jewish use of hands in physical work. Gordon aimed at changing the score from what used to be a liability into an asset. In the process, he 'judaized' physical labour by turning it into something much nobler and more moral than it used to be considered even by Gentiles who adopted the Protestant ethic.

Gordon's initiative holds some interesting lessons for generations of black South Africans who were uprooted from and alienated against working on peasant farms. For the majority of young black South Africans, working on the land is for country bumpkins who could not find a profitable toehold in the urban areas. Continuing with Gordon's 'religion' of working on the land, Gonen states that the former alerted his fellow Zionists to the fact that the Jews had developed an attitude of looking down on manual labour. He warned that ignoring this great deficiency, or treating it with self-deception, would no longer do. Having attached such spiritual importance to manual and physical labour, done naturally and out of love, Gordon could not but oppose Ahad Ha'am's idea of creating a revived national culture in Israel.

In Ahad Ha'am's view, lofty spiritual culture, not organically tied to physical labour on the national soil, was nothing to Gordon but a perpetuation of the old Jewish mistake of relegating manual work to the Gentiles. Thus, he vehemently opposed the established tradition that when it comes to physical labour, as he put it 'Let Ivan, or John, or Mustafa do the work' while the Jews busy themselves producing a spiritual and cultural centre. To paraphrase Gordon, it was time for Jacob to stop using Esau's hands and use his own for a change, or else a grave historical deficiency would perpetuate itself. The way Gordon made up for this deficiency was that of compulsive and direct overcompensation. Fostering normal work attitudes was not enough: labour had to be a 'religion' (10).

Although Gordon was aware that only a select few would be able to literally follow in his footsteps, his call for a religion of labour stirred the hearts of many of his fellow Jews. He somehow made crude physical work seem like fine art. Those who followed his ideals created a youth movement after him, named Gordonia (10), and he remained a symbol of national rebirth through the sanctity of work, as well as an example of idealism at its best. The elevation of physical work to the status of religion, even though not in a traditional sense, and the tying of this idea to such concepts as natural, organic, national soil, land, revival and redemption, indicate that to Gordon the 'religion of work' in its fullest meaning was the laying of the foundation for a holistic Jewish national revival.

Gordon's achievements and deep impact on his generation serve as a good example of how a striving for superiority can pass beyond mere compensation for inferiority feelings to the production of positive achievements. This again underscores Adler's point that the outcome of overcompensation can be positive: it can produce a genius, and may lead to the mastery of the environment, which he regarded as one of the major goals of human beings. He further believed that organ inferiority, or for that matter any basic defect, can have far-reaching individual and historical implications. For example, both Moses and Demosthenes had speech defects. Demosthenes engaged in direct overcompensation to become the greatest Greek orator, while Moses, letting his brother Aaron speak for him, engaged in indirect overcompensation by becoming a great leader of men instead. As Adler (10) has pointed out, organ inferiority, or an equivalent psychological feeling of some basic defect, can create wonders far more important than the compensating relief that they provide.

The lesson to be drawn from Gonen's analysis is that the Jews living in exile had a basic sense of defect: they had no country or state, unlike other nations. Without implying that this was the only impelling power, it stands to reason that this feeling of inferiority, this sense of abnormality, contributed its share in driving the Jews toward achievement and overcompensation which, in turn, enriched humanity. As discussed in the section dealing with Jewish achievements, history abounds with Jews of great achievement who were probably regarded by others, as well as by themselves, as having done wonders not only by being Jewish, but also in spite of it. The dialectics of inferiority and superiority, with pride masking shame but never quite obliterating it, have accompanied Jews for generations as a mingled blessing and curse.

One of the most significant developments to impact the transformation of the Jewish mindset centred on a shift in emphasis, i.e. from Jewish passivity to activity and proactivity. As Gonen illustrates, the emphasis was on the idea that Jewish fate depends on Jewish action, and not on Gentile pronouncements. Put differently, Jews had to break out of inferiority and self-doubt to self-mastery of their fate. In this regard, observes Gonen, reality has a claim on perception, and its claim is that Gentile talk, and certainly Gentile action, can be of crucial importance. On the other hand, the emotional need for a feeling of self-mastery, as well as the desire to turn the tables on the Gentiles, also have a claim on perception, the claim that Gentile talk is pale in comparison Jewish action. These conflicting motives resulted in a perception of the Gentiles which Amnon Rubinstein (10) termed 'schizophrenic'. Rubinstein elaborated on the Israeli 'schizophrenic' attitude toward Gentiles whereby one moment Israelis feel like an immovable world superpower and the next moment they dread an impending American pressure which they do not believe they could withstand. Rubinstein warned that this kind of a schizophrenic perception may result in a very dangerous blindness. Indeed, such a split perception is not conducive to wise realpolitiking.

Gonen points out that these are difficult emotional issues that should be viewed from a broad time perspective. For instance, driven by shame and a sense of inferiority, the Jews felt the need to compensate and even overcompensate. Victories over Arab adversaries left them with massive doses of pride. The need to compensate, however, led to a switch from passivity to activity in both thoughts and deeds. This switch was successfully accomplished, and the passive image has largely been rectified. On the whole, today, the Jews are no longer regarded by themselves or others as passive weaklings who sit on their behinds and wait for fate to overtake or overrun them. In turn, however, the switch toward activity is dangerous when it carries with it the psychological equation of activity with fast Jewish action while the Gentiles only talk.

If a corollary of Jewish action were to be a projection of past Jewish inaction on contemporary Gentiles, the results of such a misperception could be fatal. Gonen maintains that Ben Gurion reasoned that since the Gentiles after all do not sit on their behinds waiting helplessly to see what the Jews will do next, the best solution was to insist that Israel should always have at least one world power to rely on. To conclude the thought, Gonen predicted that when the dust clears and things simmer down in the Middle East, the Israelis would be less conflicted and somewhat more realistic in their attitudes toward the Goyim (Gentiles).


1. Jewish Impact on Civilization

Historians have held the view that a people without a history lacks a clear and sustainable sense of self-identity. Central to this sense of self-identity is the extent of the people's contribution towards the upliftment of society, in general and their specific group, in particular. From the Middle Ages to modern times, Jews have had to put up a spirited defence of their own ethnic group as they consistently came under various and racist attacks from the rulers of their European host countries or empires. It is largely through the need to defend the group rather than ethnic chauvinism that many Jewish writers have had to produce books and essays that produced convincing proof of the invaluable role played by Jews, either as a group or as individuals, in the advancement of the world's progress. As Joseph Jacobs (11) said it is against the vague antisemitic denunciations of Jewish characteristics, which are mainly the result of prejudice and, in any case, cannot be checked or measured, that Jewish men and women have had to set down the definite results of Jewish achievement.

Those who have attempted the task of compiling comprehensive accounts of the achievements and contribution of Jews - whether collectively or individually – have readily conceded that this remains an impossible undertaking. As Joseph Jacobs noted, it is no slight task to adjudge the spiritual work of a historic people throughout three thousand years, during the major part of which they have been scattered over all the lands of civilization. A people contribute to the world's progress either through its institutions and general tendencies or through its individualities. Given both the historical dispersion as well as the ubiquitous presence of Jews throughout the world's communities, most Jewish commentators have opted to deal with the topic of Jewish contribution and achievement on individual rather than group basis. As Jacobs asserts, since the Jewish emancipation, we have to deal with individuals rather than with institutions or tendencies because the difficulties of enumeration are almost insuperable. More importantly, the Jewish origin of many professional, scientific, and artistic celebrities is often unknown and sometimes concealed even by themselves, and there is always the danger of wrongful inclusion or exclusion lest one do injustice to Jew or to others (11).*

Many of the Jewish authors who took up the cudgels to fend off attacks against their group or community also found out that the task of identifying Jewish from non-Jewish contribution had become an unavoidable trap that produced some horrible unintended consequences. For instance, charges of Jewish chauvinism, arrogance or self-adulation were soon levelled against the defenders of the positive impact that Jews had made or were making to help improve humankind. As Jacobs pointed out, the defence of Jewish impact or influence provoked the emergence or re-emergence of varying shades of anti-semitism whose authors were, in the main, the rulers rather than the ruled of European nations or empires. Another unintended consequence that emanated from the defence of Jewish achievements and contribution was the failure of certain Jewish writers and commentators to keep their arguments within generally acceptable norms of science, accuracy or truth.

Jewish authors found themselves making what Arnold Abramovitz (12) has characterized as 'triumphalist' and chauvinistic claims that sober-minded Jews find difficult to defend without the risk of tarnishing the good work of the very Jews they had set themselves out to defend. Contemporary Jewish writers or commentators such as N. F. Cantor cannot avoid intellectual slip-ups based on outdated, pseudoscientific claims based on the racial superiority of 'Jewish genes'.

These spurious defence lines are often the result of overzealous scholarship on the part of those who are persuaded to defend the integrity of their own race or ethnic group. Sober-minded Jewish writers have been quick to counter-attack or denounced writers who wish to portray Jewish people as being superior to other shades of the human race. Throughout their works, both Cecil Roth and Joseph Jacobs have gone out of their way to blow out racist myths and claims that were used in an attempt to defend the achievements and contribution of the Jewish people. Jacobs states that Chamberlain has pushed the conception of the Chosen Race beyond all bounds. Yet, Jacobs also makes claims that appear to be based on over-generalised science when he says 'we can even go further and with the aid of modern statistical science as developed by Galton and Pearson, arrive at some measurable comparison between the output of Jewish ability and that of others. The science of probabilities even enables us to go further and to determine, with some precision, the probable proportions of Jews of different ranks of ability, which would otherwise not be measurable' (11).

In his defence, however, Jacobs correctly points out that 'modern men have arrived at a transvaluation of the notion of a Chosen Race which is at once more modest and more human. They have transformed it into the notion of chosen races, each with its own special characteristics; each, therefore, with a capacity to contribute something of its own to the treasure of human achievement. No race has a monopoly of any of the human qualities or capacities, but each has, by innate or acquired ability, some or other of these qualities in a more fully developed form. At appropriate moments of the world's history a race may influence others by its specific qualifications (11).

The persistence of race-based arguments in favour of racial or ethnic superiority or inferiority have, thus far, proved hard to consign to the waste-basket of history. Writers like Jacobs are in two minds about the reliability of race-based science. Thus, after conceding that no race has a monopoly on any human qualities or capacities, Jacobs remains in two minds about race- or blood-based theories. He states, for example, that if the thrice-tested fact of the Jewish superiority of intellectual output can be trusted, it would appear that the Jewish germ-plasma is a valuable asset in the world's treasure-house of character. Jacobs claims to have shown, fairly conclusively, that there is a certain probability that a determinate number of Jews will produce a larger number of 'geniuses' than any equal number of men of other races. It seems highly probable, for example, that German Jews at the present moment are quantitatively (not necessarily qualitatively) at the head of European intellect (11). It is still a disputed point among anthropologists whether the common points of Jews are due to race or environment. (11)

Furthermore, Jacobs makes the point that the question of the origin of Jewish ability and capacity has not been produced by the special Jewish training in the home and in the synagogue. A long course of Jewish history has developed a special Jewish ethos which has created certain architectonic ideals distinctive of Jews. Some of these ideals, as embodied in the Bible, have already had their influence on civilized humanity; it remains to be seen whether others, which have hitherto been confined to the Jewish home, may not attract the sympathetic attention and imitation of the world, which is ever ready to learn from all quarters.

2. The Ubiquitous Impact of Jewish Creativity

Reviews of Jewish achievements and contribution to civilization have consistently endorsed Cecil Roth's (7) assertion that there is no branch of human culture or civilisation which Jews have not touched and enriched. In some branches, the contribution has been more significant than in others. But, whether we consider literature or medicine, science, exploration, humanitarianism or art, the Jew has been prominent. That he has not produced giants in all these branches is of course true; for the same is the case with every other fraction of humanity.

Mindful of the fact that some of his claims may be misconstrued as Jewish chauvinism, Roth proceeds to make assertions that step over the chauvinism mark. The statements that follow are a case in point. 'England has produced only one Shakespeare, and Germany only one Goethe, neither of whom can be said to stand on a higher level, whether as thinkers or as masters of the written word, than the prophet Isaiah. Similarly, England gave birth to no philosopher on the same plane as Spinoza: no musician who excels Mendelssohn and no contemporary painter of the calibre of Pissarro or Liebermann. In the fields of medicine and science, the Jewish contribution stands comparison with that of any country of the world' (7).

It would, in Roth's opinion, be misleading to omit all reference to the heritage of Israel, which left an ineradicable influence on the structure of the modern world. It is a commonplace that modern civilisation is an amalgam of three elements, viz. law and politics from Rome; philosophy and aesthetic standards in literature and arts from Greece; and religion and ethics from Israel. The basis of the Hebraic contribution to western civilisation and the Hebrew's greatest gift to humanity, is the ideal of the One God, Creator of Heaven and Earth. According to the biblical account, this conception, familiar to the patriarchs, was reaffirmed to their descendants at the foot of Mount Sinai; according to the critical view, it was a gradual discovery, fully realised only some centuries later. It is fundamental to a consideration of the Hebraic element in modern life (7). While Greek and Indian thinkers may have had a glimmering of the same truth, only the Hebrew proclaimed it aloud. They adhered to it through persecution and vilification, yielded up their life for its sake, and made it central to their whole existence.

But, through Jesus and Paul, the Hebraic teaching passed to Europe, and is now cherished by Christians throughout the world. Six centuries later, it was repeated in Arabia, with desert sternness, by Mohammed, and is now the creed of the Muslims. The kernel of both religions is the terse declaration that the Hebrews believed was uttered by the deity himself from Sinai: 'I am the Lord thy God… Thou shalt have no other gods before me'. There is, of course, more in monotheism than this dogmatic self-affirmation of deity. The most unfettered thinker of today owes nevertheless to Hebraism the breaking of the shackles of polytheism - the worship of animals and images, of the stars and planets, and of a plurality of deities. The commanding part taken by the moral code in the biblical religious system is too familiar to require further amplification. But the ideas of the value of human life, the sanctity of the home and the dignity of the marital relationship, which nominally prevail at the present time, are essentially a biblical heritage (7).

A necessary extension of the idea of the Divine Unity is that of the equality of all before this one God. Out of the same seed, which gave birth to the conception of the chosen people which, came the idea of the brotherhood of all peoples. The God of Israel was, moreover, a god of righteousness. This overwhelming passion for righteousness is insisted on in the bible hardly less than the monotheistic idea: for the one is the concrete expression of the other. The ideals of social justice, which western reformers are endeavouring to carry into practice, to this day, are the ideals taught by Isaiah, Amos, and Micah, now become part of the common heritage of mankind. It is the enduring tribute of the Hebrews that they made ethics central in religion. Nor is there any comparison between the academic reasoning of Plato and the burning hunger for righteousness which is characteristic of the Hebrew prophets.

In all this, the Old Testament is even now no less potent a force in the modern world than the New. But it is impossible to neglect in this connection the essential Hebraic content of the Gospels. Jesus was a Jew not only by birth, but also by upbringing: and some of the most striking of his sayings were part and parcel of the rabbinic teaching of his day. The lord's prayer and the sermon on the mount have been paralleled from the Talmud, verse for verse and phrase for phrase. The golden rule - 'Do unto thy neighbour as thou wouldst be done by' - is only a paraphrase of the recommendation of Jesus' older contemporary, Hillel, who died when the founder of Christianity was only ten years old: 'What is distasteful to thee, do not to thy neighbour'. The rabbis of the age of Jesus joined with him, too, in averring that the pentateuchal injunction, 'Love thy neighbour as thyself' was a fundamental principle of religion. 'This is the whole law: the rest is but commentary', this same Hillel pronounced (7).

When the Christian believer goes to Church to pray, he does not realise that he is making use of another Jewish innovation. In antiquity, the fundamental fact of public worship was animal - sometimes human - sacrifice. During the Babylonian exile, when Jerusalem and its temple lay in ashes, the nation dispensed altogether with sacrifice. To this period probably belongs the origin of the synagogue - the 'place of assembly', where the reading of God's law was accompanied by prayer (7). Hence, in the period of the second temple, a synagogue was to be found in every city and township of Palestine, and the concept became familiar to the non-Jewish world by the erection of similar institutions in all the principal centres of the diaspora.

When Christianity began to expand through the world, under the aegis of Paul and his companions, the first centres of missionary activity were the synagogues, to be found by now in all the most important cities of the Roman Empire. First, the Christian missionaries attempted to convert the Jewish congregations to their own way of belief: in case of failure, they set up their own sectarian synagogues. Within Islam, the mosque too, was modelled on the spiritualised places of worship of the two 'Peoples of the Book' (7).

Though the influence of the Bible (7) is greatest in the western world on the theological and ethical side, it is discernible also in the field of politics. This does not imply that the Jews enjoyed a very high political development, in the sense that this is true of the Greek city-states and the Roman republic. Nevertheless, it has been suggested that the 'people of the land' referred to at the time of the Hebrew monarchy constituted some sort of democratic assembly, and in the time of the Maccabees and the Last Commonwealth there certainly existed a popular council, whose assent was considered necessary for any constitutional change. Jacobs concurs with Roth's assessment and states, further, that Jews also contributed towards the renaissance and the reformation. Jacobs also says that it is notorious that the modern trend towards political liberty and democratic institutions in the Anglos-Saxon world was largely influenced by the principles of the Hebrew scriptures. Jews had also much to do in shaping the principles and policy of that large movement of the world's thought known as socialism. The transformation of the economic constitution of society, caused by capitalistic methods of production, has been due largely to the Jews.

The importance of Hebraism in the political heritage of modern Europe, however, does not lie in exterior details, but in the spirit. The Hebrew Monarchy came into existence under the influence of a conception found nowhere else in antiquity, which regarded the constitution as the result of a tripartite agreement or covenant between the people, the ruler, and the deity. This may sound elementary but, if the deity is the embodiment of justice and righteousness, it follows that the monarchy is dependent on the maintenance, not only of certain religious, but also of human values. We see this conception in the story of the oldest Hebrew leader, the monarch Saul: it reaches its highest development in the career of David. It underlies the outline of the ideal leader or monarchy which is given in the Mosaic code (7).

The literary influence of the Hebrew scriptures has been vast. In a score of European languages, the bible was the first book to be translated and, consequently, setting an entire literary tradition which exists to this day. Throughout Europe, the Scriptures continued to play an almost dominant literary role. For instance, (7) Luther's translation of the bible into high German rendered that particular dialect supreme as well as demonstrated the force and malleability of the German language – and marks the beginning of modern German literature.

In England the influence of the biblical literature has been incalculable. For instance, the Bible became the Englishman's only and principal book and, consequently, its cadences, music, and phraseology became so imbedded in his mind that it became part of his being. Gradually, his daily speech was not merely enriched, but to some extent moulded, by its influence. Phrase after phrase, figure after figure, became current in the English language, which would be a strangely denuded thing if all these Semitic influences were removed. Few people can realise today to what an extent their ordinary conversation is tinted by the Hebrew scriptures. When a man escapes by the skin of his teeth, when he goes down to the sea in ships, when he enquires whether a leopard can change its spots, when he threatens to make his enemy lick the dust, he is not so much quoting the bible, as using biblical phrases which have become an inseparable part of his language (7).

There is only one work the influence of which on the English language is comparable to that of the bible: the plays of William Shakespeare. But, as has recently been demonstrated, Shakespeare's use of the bible was itself very considerable, and its stimulus may be traced throughout his writings. This biblical inspiration is not necessarily direct. English prose of the heroic period is soaked and soaked again in the biblical atmosphere. It is difficult in fact to imagine what the English language and English literature and the English mind would now be but for the influence of the Scriptures - the influence, that is, of the ancestors of the Jewish people of today, as expressed in and through their literary heritage (7).

The importance of points highlighted in the foregoing discussion may be summed up very briefly thus. The Jewish people is largely a product of the Bible, exerted however under the influence of some thirty-five centuries of history, seldom uneventful and frequently tragic. In the peoples of the western world, the biblical influence has not been quite so direct or so protracted. Yet, for a period varying between ten and twenty centuries, it has been an integral part of their background, modifying their religion, their thought, their conceptions – to some extent, even their politics and their language. Deprive modern Europe and America of the Hebraic heritage, and the result would be barely recognisable. It would be a different, and it would be a poorer thing. In Woodrow Wilson's expressive words, 'if we could but have the eyes to see the subtle elements of thought which constitute the gross substance of our present habit, both as regards the sphere of private life, and as regards the action of the state, we should easily discover how very much besides religion we owe to the Jew' (7).

Roth concludes his treatment of the Jewish contribution with an assertion that while the names of a large number of Jews, whose contributions have been of considerable importance, have been presented, this is not intended to exaggerate their share of the evolution of the modern world. Of the great names of human history, the Jews have not produced an unusual proportion, save in the religious sphere with Moses and Isaiah, Jesus and Paul. In modern times there have been no towering figures, excepting perhaps Spinoza in the seventeenth century, Disraeli in the nineteenth, Einstein in the twentieth. The proportion may be respectable but it is not abnormally large.

Roth also states that it is not by the giants alone that civilization can be assessed. Great advances in human progress are the work, not of a single genius, but of scores of less known pioneers, from whose work, experiences and failures the genius profits. Civilization is a complex affair. There is constant action and reaction. More startling results would be impossible in most cases without the painstaking research of scores of humble, unrecorded workers of a previous generation. The battles may be won by the general; they are fought by the private soldiers, and victory is a result of the laborious plans of the staff. It is accordingly a more solid contribution to progress on the part of any one of the subsections of the human race if it has performed its duty consistently in the lesser functions than if it has contributed one of the giants of discovery, whose intuition and good fortune enable him to sum up the work and the tendencies of his generation.

The Jews have provided both as they have, for centuries, formed an integral part of the culture of Europe and have contributed to it incessantly - as scientists, as men and women of letters, translators, explorers, pioneers, and physicians. Had Haber, Reiss or Ehrlich not made their discoveries, it may well be that someone else would have done so a little later, for those discoveries were in the air. It is of even greater significance, then, to recall that in the more remarkable achievements, the evolution of that vibrant intellectual atmosphere in which these discoveries were made, the Jews also collaborated effectively throughout the centuries. western civilization would not stand where it does today without that collaboration. The world could not afford to dispense with it any more than with that of England, of France, or of Germany (7).

There is a corollary, namely that the Jewish investigators and discoverers had in almost every case non-Jewish teachers on the one hand, and non-Jewish pupils on the other. Just as many of the other great scientists and discoverers of modern times received their training partially from and transmitted it to Jewish experts. The resultant discoveries cannot be qualified as 'Jewish' or 'non-Jewish' (7). The distinction is, from this point of view, arbitrary and ridiculous. If the term has been used in the foregoing pages it is simply as a convenient ellipsis, without any exclusive implication. Such contributions are human. The Jew is, in fact, heir to a double tradition. There is the religious history of three and a half millennia, which fructified above all on the soil of Palestine. And there is the political history of the past twenty centuries, which has been associated principally with the western world, in whose civilization persons of Jewish birth have taken, not indeed a dominant, nor a disproportionate share, but a share which is worthy of study and respect.

European civilization had its birth in the eastern Mediterranean, not in the irregular peninsula and archipelago which we now term 'Greece'; it subsequently moved westward, and finally, after the Renaissance, it moved northward and became world-wide. The centre of gravity of the Jewish people moved with it, starting in the east, moving gradually to Greece, Italy, France, and Spain, finally to Northern Europe and the Atlantic seaboard. Each stage of western culture has affected the Jews profoundly; they, on their side, have, as far as they have been allowed, exercised a considerable influence on it at every stage and in every land. There, is in this, nothing to boast of. Contemporary events have, however, shown that even in the twentieth century, it is necessary to emphasize the fact that in the tradition of western culture, in all its branches and centres, the share of the Jew has been (as it was proper that it should be) solid, continuous, and integral (7).

For two thousand years, then, the Jews have formed part of Europe. Throughout that period, though more intensively during the past century, since the gates of the Ghetto were broken down, they have made their contribution to the common heritage - sometimes as intermediaries, sometimes as pioneers, more often, if their activities were not curtailed, as participants. In the long run their contribution has become inextricably interwoven with the common stock by a thousand different strands. Disintegrate these, and the tree of western culture would be mutilated. Taking up the issue further, Jacobs states that during the Middle Ages the Jews, by their spread among the nations, were enabled to contribute to the intellectual and commercial development of Europe by their activities as intermediaries in thought and commerce. (7) They indirectly contributed to the building of the feudal kingship and constituted one of the unifying elements of the medieval European system. Their position as forming the sole exception to the Christian consensus had its influence in promoting the slow development of free thought and religious tolerance.

3. Jewish Impact in Journalism and the Media

In a short essay tracing the stranglehold Jews are alleged to have exercised over American journalism for decades if not centuries, Stephen J Whitfield (13) makes the points that the relationship of Jews to journalism is entangled in paradox. Their role in the press has long been an obsession of their enemies, and the vastly disproportionate power that Jews are alleged to wield through the media has long been a staple of the antisemitic imagination. The commitment to this version of bigotry has dwarfed the interest that scholars have shown in this problem.

Throughout their history, Jews do not seem to have been successful at eradicating the lingering ghost of antisemitism and allied tendencies. Although much has been written, published or debated about the problem, Jewish defenders of the community have yet to put the ghost totally out of commission. Whitfield identifies part of the problem as Jewish scholars' tendency to elucidate rather than enumerate the endless list of the contributions made by or associated with outstanding Jews. Whilst this practice persists, he adds, the complications will continue to bedevil the study of Jews in American journalism largely because the subject cannot be studied in isolation, confined, as it were, to the twelve-mile limit of the shores of the United States. It must be fixed within the compass of a society in which an independent press has flourished and in which the talented, the ambitious and the lucky could often be handsomely rewarded. Freedom of the press has occupied a central place in the democratic design; and even wayward pressmen could point out that their occupation is one of the few (along with the clergy, firearms production and the liquor business) granted constitutional protection (13).

Whitfield concurs with a point raised earlier, that the credibility gap between reality and the myths of Jewish over-representation in mainstream political, economic and social endeavour will continue for as long as the issue of Jewish identity remains unresolved. Whitfield also say that it is certainly fair to assert that, at most, only a segment of ethnic identity or religious heritage has ever been implicated in what journalists have done, and therefore the task of determining a distinctive Jewish contribution is complicated when so many Jews have blended so successfully into the structure of social organization. What they have achieved as individual journalists betrays only the most tenuous link to their sensibility as Jews. During a historical period when it is hardly a disability and, indeed, something of an asset to be a Jew in America, journalism is among the indices of full participation in the host society. The press badge is a certificate of "making it." Far from signifying any cabal of conspiracy, the Jewish representation in the mass media demonstrates the hospitality of the American environment, the congruence of American values – and the benign challenge that is thereby posed to the singularity and survival of a tiny and ancient people.

The problem of Jews and journalism or the mass media has long history, indeed. To appreciate the persistent nature of the antisemitism that continues to accompany Jews' participation or involvement in the mainstream society, a little bit of background on the document is called for. In Whitfield's words, this feature of Judeophobia attained prominence for the first time, in a significant way, in the squalid and murky origins of one of the most ubiquitous of antisemitic documents commonly known as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The document was based on a chapter in the novel Biarritz (1868) by Hermann Godsche (13) entitled, "In the Jewish Cemetery in Prague." This chapter formed the contours of the "Rabbi's Speech" that exposed the methods of the conspiratorial ambition to dominate Christendom and, indeed, the entire planet.

To paraphrase, the rabbi informs his co-conspirators that if gold is the first power in this world, the second is undeniably the press. Through its acquisition, Jewish people must become the editors of all daily newspapers in all countries. Their possession of gold, their skill in devising means of exploiting mercenary instincts, make them the arbiters of public opinion and enable them to dominate the masses. The rabbi predicts, then, that Jews will dictate to the world what it is to have faith in, what it is to honour, and what it is to curse. Once they become absolute masters of the press, they will be in a position to transform ideas about honour, virtue, and uprightness of character. With such influence, they will then deal a fatal blow against the family and, declare open war on everything that people respect and venerate (13).

Although a fabrication, the passage from The Protocols foreshadowed the conception of Jewish power in and through journalism which was to be repeated for over a century. Whitfield points out that although it may be commonly known that antisemitic fears were stirred by Jewish involvement in finance, it is insufficiently realized how often this phobia was coupled with animus against a Jewish participation in journalism. As a locus of sinister or repellent Jewish influence, the newsroom was second only to the bourse.

The brand of antisemitic sentiments just highlighted has followed Jews out of Europe into new host societies. As Whitfield puts it, in America the sentiments were repeated albeit in more muted form and with shifting emphases. Senior political leaders including presidents were not exempt from expressing themselves on the subject of one immigrant group: the Jewish group. Secretary of State John Hay once remarked that 'the Jews are all the press, all the cabinets, all the gods and all weather.

Antisemitic sentiments were not confined to those operating in public life. As Whitfield points out, Henry Ford - the wealthiest citizen of the world's wealthiest country of his time - was the most mischievous of American Judeophobes. More than anyone else, Henry Ford made the Protocols internationally famous. They punctuated the editorial policy of the weekly he owned, the Dearborn Independent. After observing the tentacles of Jewish financiers within the American economy, the editorial announced that Jewish journalists had become a large and powerful group with absolute control over the circulation of publications throughout the United States (13).

As with Joseph Jacobs previously, Whitfield is of the opinion that the theory that Jews are simply more talented than other peoples should not be discounted or dismissed lightly. Jewish gifts could flourish, especially after the walls of medieval ghettos tumbled, after the isolation of the shtetlakh was punctured, as centuries of frustrated energies seemed to evaporate within a couple of generations. Whitfield argues that the belief in the superiority of the Jewish "race " was enunciated not only by Israeli leaders but also by nineteenth-century writers less susceptible to romanticism. Nietzsche, for instance, acknowledged the Jews' "energy and higher intelligence, their accumulated capital of spirit and will, gathered from generation to generation through a long school of suffering." Thus Nietzsche explained their preponderance. Mark Twain was impressed by the "marvellous fight in this world" that the Jew had made, "with his hands tied behind him." Immune to the malaise of the late nineteenth century, the Jew was "exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. " Exceptional accomplishment was therefore the predicate of exceptional talent, and antisemitism the consequence of envy aroused by "racial" superiority (13).

But whatever tribute such testimony pays to Jewish self-esteem, argues Whitfield, it leaves unexplained why Jewish influence is more pronounced in some fields rather than others. Or why Jews gravitate toward some occupations rather than others. Even if all forms of ethnic and racial discrimination were to be miraculously obliterated, its occupational structure would probably not reveal a random distribution of minorities. Their experiences and values are hardly identical, and therefore their predisposition and interests can in the aggregate be expected to diverge. Neither talent nor intelligence can be summoned at random to be enlisted and developed whenever a barrier of discrimination 'is battered down.

Whitfield states, further, that even if there were some way of "proving" the superior mental endowment of the Jewish people, even if the application of its gifts could be sorted out, history would still have to be appealed to in accounting for the special responsiveness of many Jews to opportunities in liberal professions such as journalism. There has to be some sort of "fit" between skill and milieu, between potentiality and circumstance. That is why the Encyclopaedia Judaica dates the Jewish contribution to European journalism at the beginning of the Emancipation itself, conjecturing that a people already relatively urban and literate found itself 'in the right place at the right time.' Moreover, the Encyclopaedia asserts, the "gift of adaptability permitted the Jew to act as an intermediary, the link between the event and the reader, as the journalist has often been called." The press offered "brightness and novelty," an outlet for people who felt little if any devotion to pre-modern tradition. Also pertinent here are the speculations of sociologist Arthur Ruppin that city life forces people into intensive interaction, into an exchange of goods and ideas. It demands constant mental alertness. The great mental agility of the Jews enabled them to have a quick grasp and orientation in all things (13).

As with Jacobs, Whitfield opines that, although they would appear to be more applicable to the nineteenth century than to the twentieth, the foregoing comments bring us closer to the truth. They are more useful in explaining the initial attraction that journalism might have exerted on the newly emancipated, not why - if anything - the Jewish involvement has persisted without noticeable loss of intensity. By the twentieth century, especially long past its mid-point, the relative historical advantages which literacy and urbanity might have conferred should have become quite marginal. The conjectures of the Encyclopaedia and of Ruppin undoubtedly apply more directly to Europe than to the United States, which was post-Emancipation from its inception as an independent nation and has posed no official restrictions upon Jews (13).

4. Downplaying Jewish Identity or Jewishness

Whitfield concurs with an earlier statement that from time to time, some of the Jews who found themselves occupying or operating in the higher circles of the mainstream or host society elected to downplay, conceal or deny their Jewish origins. Whitfield cites several American Jews who fell into one or more of these categories. These included notables such as A. J. Liebling (New York World), Lippmann and Karl Marx. Although his Jewish identity was not in doubt, Adolph S. Ochs, who bought the New York Times in 1896, harboured his own sensitivities on the topic. Faith was so private and minor a feature of family life that his descendants and relatives generally were informed that they were Jewish on the eve of their departure for boarding school. Having severed the bonds of peoplehood, the Sulzberger family through its foundation gave a pittance to Jewish philanthropies. But limiting Jewishness to religious belief did not keep the family that has owned the Times from realizing that others might be troubled by Jewish 'clannishness' and cohesiveness, and therefore much effort was expended to limit the perception of the Times as a 'Jewish' newspaper. If the business side preceded the expressive and editorial side, that was because it was undoubtedly a matter of New York Times policy (13).

Whitfield cites other explanations for the Jewish predilection for journalism which merit scrutiny and criticism. He cites other scholars who have held the view that the intellectual and verbal resourcefulness that have historically been associated with Jews has generally been rewarded in the mass media. Since the deities and divinities that peoples worship are clues to their culture, it is no surprise that the Jewish God is something of an intellectual, since the rabbis believed that even He studies the Torah. By now the explanation of the scholars smacks of a commonplace - which does not mean that it is false, only that it is familiar.

Truisms are often hard to separate from truths, the matrix of a Jewish occupational proclivity as well as a contrast with other values stressed among Gentiles. If the Jewish encounter with modern society does differ from the experience of others, the explanation may well be connected to alternative beliefs. But Isaacs' theory is also quite restricted. Almost no publishers or network executives have been intellectuals. The celebrated journalists who grew up ignorant of the Judaic religion and stress upon the Word would make a long list. Nor does the explanation incorporate those journalists whose success has been visual rather than verbal (13).

One of the scholars associated with views expressed above, Stephen Isaacs, also notes Jewish representation in a field which, like all forms of mass education, prizes the non-ethnicity of universalism and especially the ideal of objectivity. Those opting for journalism as a career might therefore hope to be judged by their merit, not their religious or national origin. This generalization is partially valid, for the Jews attracted to it have usually been quite assimilated and deracinated, eager or anxious to blend into civil society. As the one-time editor of the Neue Freie Presse, Theodor Herzl was far down that road himself and after he had been irrevocably stung by the spectacle of antisemitism, he dreamed of mass conversions of Jews at St. Stephen's Cathedral (13).

Whitfield speculates on another possible explanation for the disproportionate

Impact that Jews have exerted in the American media. It is advanced tentatively, because it is at best only partly satisfactory, and because it cannot cover all the cases or withstand all objections. No theory on this subject can. But it enjoys the advantage of taking into account the experience of other countries in the Diaspora, and applies well to the particularities of the American framework. The speculation allows one to acknowledge the historical singularity of the Jewish people without acquiring for its theoretical validity the journalists' knowledge of or fidelity to Judaic tradition and values.

This thesis holds that the press has been a key instrument in the recognition that we inhabit one world – not one village or valley or province or nation. Journalism is not only a bridge between reader and event, as the Encyclopaedia Judaica avers, but between people and people. And a certain dispersed and vulnerable minority might be especially sensitive to the recalcitrant problems posed by human diversity and might be transcended. Positioned as outsiders, they were vouchsafed the knowledge of relatives and other co-religionists abroad, were given at least a glimmering sense that there was an abroad, elsewhere. Jews were therefore responsive to cosmopolitanism, or trans-nationalism and a tendency to see the world as one (13).

Such a marginal situation and such an international spirit have commonly been appreciated by scholars explaining the Jewish penchant for trade, even though the Biblical Hebrews were not famous for their business acumen. In his attempt to explain the motivation underlying the comparatively large number of Jews working for American newspapers prior to the American Civil War, Whitfield cites another scholar, Jonathan Sarna, who observed that journalism permitted the kind of independence and mobility that Jews have often looked for in their occupations. Commence on a large or small scale depends on information. Jewish merchants, travellers, peddlers and, of course, relatives served as 'reporters' long before the public press had any interest in printing the news (13).

Whitfield acknowledges that other scholars have not extended or tested Sarna's claim that Jews had the kind of cosmopolitan outlook which journalism demands that too little curiosity has been piqued by this explanation for the Jewish attraction to journalism. However, Whitfield adds that the cosmopolitan character of mass communications can be verified by consulting the biography of Israel Ben Josephat (1816-99), a rabbi's son who plied his missionary trade in Berlin before moving to London. He became best known for founding the news agency Reuters, for he became Baron P. J. von Reuter. He began with pigeons, then cable and then telegraph – just as he followed political reports with commercial news then general news. Reuters thus became perhaps the leading international news agency.

In the case of America, the case is complicated by the fact that being a nation of immigrants, a thesis that is scientifically elegant would have to demonstrate that immigrant Jews or immigrants generally, were represented in journalism more fully than in the American populace. Using impressionistic evidence, gleaned from biographies of high profile Jews to validate his theory, Whitfield cites several Jewish immigrants and/or their descendants who found fame and fortune in American journalism e.g. Ochs of The New York Times, David Sarnoff of RCA/NBC, Lippman, Swope, Hecth, Liebling, Henry A. Grunwald and so many others (13).


1. Balancing Impact with Host Country Predilection for Antisemitism

The exiled Jews found it increasingly difficult to maintain peace of mind since their split identity forced them to be next to nothing politically, yet spiritually the greatest. True, they took pride in the great contributions by Judaism and Jews to humanity, and at home they could safely absorb themselves in the worlds of spirituality created by previous generations of Jews. But sooner or later they would have to venture outside of their homes, walk the streets of the Gentiles, and feel second-class, unwanted, and vulnerable. Hence, a Jewish genius at home, with voluminous treasures of mind, became on the street a luckless and inept schlemiel, unable to achieve security and equality with his non-Jewish neighbours. This coexistence of spiritual pride with political shame could only be achieved at the price of some schizophrenic-like qualities, and the increasing signs of strain indicated that the time of coexistence between spiritual pride and political shame was nearing its end.

The psychological toll exacted from the Jews is detectable in literature. Sholom Aleichem (10), the nineteenth century writer, uses superb humour to drive home the message that Jews were so persecuted that the only place where they knew peace was in the only place where they were masters – the cemetery. The cemetery was the only place where the grass, trees and fresh air belonged to them, and therefore the only place where they could breathe freely. This particular sketch stamps a terrible judgment on Jewish life. It takes a superb comedian to tell people with a smile that conditions are funny - so morbidly funny, in fact, that something has to be done lest death become their lot in life.

Gonen concurs with Aleichem's story, which draws attention to the predicament that confronts Jews in their attempt to determine their sense of self. Aleichem's story suggests that the position of Jews resembles the psychological descriptions of psychotic persons who have trouble delineating and defining a sense of self. Thus, as they continued to experience difficulties in interacting with others, Jews developed a split within their psyche. This line of analysis suggests, further, that the troubled Jewish mind developed a false self-system. The false self-system, a type of phoney mask, talks with people and may even display consistent attitudes and values toward others without really having a genuine feeling or commitment to these values and attitudes. But the false self accepts them anyway. Where the true commitments allegedly lie, and where the real attitudes and genuine sense of values are supposed to be, is the true self. This true self is shut inside and protected completely from the outer world by the false self, which copes with the outside environment. Although the protected, hidden true self is supposedly safe and free, somehow this phenomenon strikingly corresponds with the mythological freedom of the graveyard.

The whole inner world of the shut-up self becomes increasingly impoverished, and consequently the person may eventually feel that he or she, i.e. his or her own true inner self, is merely a vacuum. This is not surprising, since without action or interaction, and when everything is correspondingly delegated to a false self which does the job, the true self can easily become a nullity. A person may still console himself with the realization that he does have a true self, even that he is lucky to have an inner, secret self that nobody else knows about (10). In truth, however, when the time comes to fall back and rely on the hidden self, all that he experiences is a vacuum.

2. The Jew and the Graveyard Mindset

The moral of Aleichem's story is, therefore, that breathing freely in a graveyard is but a mirage, and cannot serve as a substitute for true freedom. In other words, a miserable Jew living in a shtetl, or small Jewish village, who in his dealings with the external world cannot walk erect anywhere until he retreats to his little corner of freedom, the graveyard, suffers from a divided self. Not only does he lack freedom outside the graveyard, but also within it. Sholom Aleichem implied this by taking care to point out that this corner of freedom, this precious graveyard, also included the dead from the massacres of Jews. The destruction of the Jews is apparent both outside and inside the graveyard. Freedom is not divisible, nor is a sense of self. A divided self is a destroyed self (10).

Thus, concludes Gonen, the rise of Zionism was a reaction to the need to heal this division and do away with the split in Jewish souls. The heroes of Sholom Aleichem's stories are frequently luckless schlemiels. The schlemiel is a challenge to the accepted notion of heroism. The schlemiel questioned not only the feasibility but also the desirability of heroism. Within the ability to subdue the urge to be a hero, the schlemiel also displays a quality of strength and, indeed, remarkable endurance. But it was obvious that he was perceived by many Jews with disdain rather than admiration. Together with the schnorrer, or beggar, the schlemiel served as one of the more notorious examples of the Jewish negative ego ideal.*

Gonen maintains that, to many Jews who suffered from a divided self, the schlemiel represented a false outer self that should have been discarded. They looked forward to the day when their true inner selves would rebel and come to the fore. While the schlemiel questioned the value of heroism, the inner selves of many Jews craved for overt acts of heroism, and therefore longed to be like the fighting Maccabees of old. The schlemiel was in some way inverting the famous Theodor Herzl dictum by turning it into 'If you will it, it is a dream'. Thus, one side of the divided Jewish self accepted the chronic lucklessness of the schlemiel as fate, which permitted the realization of Jewish hopes only in Jewish dreams. But the other side of the same self responded with alacrity to Herzl's call, 'if you will it, it is no dream', and in the process freed itself from the shackles of schlemieldom (10).

Other Jewish writers stressed the point that things could not continue as they had, and that the price Jews were paying was very high indeed. They pointed out that modern antisemitism, in interaction with Jewish assimilation and secularisation, corresponded to the erosion of the old religious and spiritual values of Judaism. Just at the time when Jews were threatened by physical extinction from without, they were also threatened by dissolution from within (10). Summing the position of Jews in the world, some of the writers suggested that the long history of a people without a country, language, or government had resulted in a lack of Jewish political ability and judgment.

Gonen suggests, further, perhaps the assimilated Jews felt the most shattering experiences in terms of identity and dignity in nineteenth-century Europe. The Jew had the option of either remaining a pariah and thereby being more or less excluded from society, or of becoming a parvenu who conforms to general European society but nevertheless retains his Jewishness in some mysterious way. Therefore, an enlightened Jew could not choose to be Jewish or pariah and still remain an enlightened man of society, but if he rejected the role of pariah to become a parvenu, he then found that he was still regarded as a Jew and an outcast. Thus an enlightened Jew could not retain his identity either as a Jew or as a man of society, and consequently floated in a twilight world where the social and psychological tolls were immense.

3. Jewish Hyper-vigilance and Suspiciousness

Gonen describes the psychological price of Jewish survival in terms of a condition known as the hyper-vigilance of the haunted, the alert scanning of the insecure, and the continuous suspiciousness of the vulnerable. For instance, after the Second World War, many French Jews found it advisable to underplay their role in the resistance to Nazi occupation. They felt that if they underscored their role by being vocal, it might evoke some negative feelings or even reprisals toward Jews. This suspicion serves as but a single illustration of the many instances where Jews had reason to wonder about the implications for them of new events and developments. This anxiety about the possible negative implications from a variety of events concerning the fate of the Jews has resulted in a pervasive tendency to view most things through 'Jewish glasses'. It is an attempt to make sure that any underlying connection between an issue and the Jewish problem is exposed. The compulsion to unearth such a connection, even when it is apparent to the Jews themselves that the specific issue has little, if any, relation to the Jewish problem, betrays a basic sense of insecurity.

Among American Jewry, the issue of Jewish hyper-vigilance or a sense of peace with one's own identity and basic sense of security received serious attention. Literary writers, psychoanalysts and other thought leaders have, over the years, produced numerous essays and books on the topic. In his own work, Gonen cites the writings of Karen Horney who underscored the importance of the concept of basic anxiety. In short, Jewish hyper-vigilance produced a condition similar to that observed in children who feel helpless, abandoned, isolated, and thrown into a hostile and dangerous world. Thus, as a people among the nations of the world, the children of Israel were similarly thrown into a traumatic, hostile, discriminatory, and unpredictably dangerous environment. Obviously, this analogy between threatened children and the threatened Jews is far from perfect; some similarities and differences between the two situations will be discussed later in the chapter. It is likely, however, that historical conditions did breed among the Jews a kind of 'basic anxiety,' a dread that any event could have an important bearing on Jewish fate. This dread produced a defensive reaction (10).

Jewish hyper-vigilance has produced a condition whereby any event that makes the news, whether local or international, is discussed in terms of the question, 'Is it good for the Jews?' This chronic view of human affairs through 'Jewish glasses' has become a joke, and has even acquired the name of 'The elephant and the Jewish problem'. The self-laughter evoked by this joke may be wholesome, but the underlying anxiety it betrays is no laughing matter. Gonen makes the point that the idea that there is no room for the Jews has haunted them throughout their tragic history. Expulsions and persecutions became the daily fare of Jewish life, and also found their way into Jewish humour. One joke asks: What is the evidence that Adam and Eve were Jewish? The answer: The fact that they received an eviction order. With this kind of reality it is relatively easy to develop obsessions with fixed ideas. There is ample evidence, throughout Israel and the diaspora that Jews are well on the way to ridding themselves of their 'Jewish glasses' (10). Their self-mockery suggests that they have made inroads toward gaining some distance from the problem, but nevertheless it still exists.

American Jewish writers have delved into Jewish reactions to feelings of insecurity, anxiety and living with a sense of looming danger that might strike unpredictably. Some of the basic reactions have included the development of hostility as an emotional outlet, the growth of competitive motivation and a desire to win, and the turning of aggression inward through self-derogation. Gonen surmises that the psychological development of a child living with a family that provides him with an uncertain environment resembles the development of certain psychological traits among Jews who were cast among hostile nations and exposed to uncertain environments. Hostility, a wish for vengeance, and a competitive drive to win developed in both instances, but were nevertheless coupled with submissiveness, feelings of inferiority, and self-deprecatory attitudes. A child who suffers from basic insecurity frequently hates and blames himself. Similarly, Jewish self-hatred became a distressing problem for the Jews (10).

The analogy between children reared in conditions of insecurity and the children of Israel leading insecure lives among many nations may seem farfetched, and is of course incomplete. However, there are similarities between both the distressing conditions and the negative consequences in both cases. Living in a dangerous and uncertain environment seems to be the major similarity between Jews and children. Further, Jews have always lived with the condition termed 'marginal men,' (10) that is, men who live between at least two antagonistic cultures but do not fully belong to either.

Gonen cites other writers who have suggested the existence of a connection between the prevalence of marginal personalities among Jews and the incidence of mental illness. One of the writers referred to the heavy emotional toll which the Jews paid by living in a twilight zone. In view of this cumbersome price, it is not surprising that a connection exists between the historical conditions of marginality in the diaspora and the development of such traits as Jewish self-hatred and self-pride. It seems, therefore, that the insecure and marginal conditions of the Jewish people have left their mark on many individual Jews, especially since such conditions can easily threaten and oppress both children and adults. These feelings of uncertainty, however, did not blossom into the morbidity of basic insecurity and anxiety for all Jews.

Gonen's analysis leads him to a conclusion that the hyper-vigilance and suspiciousness of the Jews was a response to a cruel reality, and is something that even Israelis cannot rid themselves of, as long as they are cast as a lonely nation among hostile neighbours. The Holocaust fortified the haunted outlook and suspicious alertness of the Jewish people for generations to come. If Jews sound paranoid at times, then it is because all too frequently in the past their worst suspicions turned out to be realities rather than dreams. The dangers which constantly threatened Jews from the outside prompted a closing of the ranks on the inside. Therefore, the phenomenon of Kol Yisrael haverim (All Israel are brethren) (10)has evolved, bringing with it an intense feeling of belonging which has saved the Jewish people from extinction. The psychological toll exacted from the Jews throughout their long history was heavy. Their political ability lay dormant, their religious and spiritual identity had undergone a process of erosion, and their literature and folklore included the message that it was a time for change through self-help. Something had to be done to uproot adversity in the first place. Zionism rose to the task (10).

Throughout the ages, different needs and conditions required Jewish society to reach for leadership with the requisite skills to deliver appropriate solutions. As Robert Gordis states, when the survival of their people was threatened, the Jewish leaders took steps to counter danger, even if they called for radical break with earlier, accepted attitudes. While the Sages and scholars might not subscribe to the formula Vox populi vox Dei, they were astute enough to reckon with the popular will and adjust the law to conform to the people's minhag (custom) when the custom served to strengthen loyalty to Judaism (1).

All these factors will continue to operate in future with even greater strengths than in the past, since the tempo of change is far greater in our century than in the preceding two thousand years. From Moses to contemporary leaders, the responsibilities of leading society have moved from one style to another. There were, for instance, the prophets, sages, thinkers, philosophers, scholars, and rabbis. Modern Jewish society is well served by an array of different categories of leaders inter alia thought leaders, political leaders, business leaders, scientists, artists and so forth.


1. Jewish Complexes and Paradoxes

Paradoxes, dilemmas and ambiguities are central to Jewish history and life. It is not surprising, therefore, that the history and evolution of Jewish leadership has developed a complex system of laws, customs and ritual practices that are designed to help Jews negotiate their way through life's paradoxes and contradictions. Sages, priests and rabbis have long realized that individual members of the Jewish community cannot be relied on to discover practical meaning from layers upon layers of customs, rituals and laws that have been in practice from the time of the prophet Moses to the present. These customs, rituals and laws require the individual Jew to seek the counsel and guidance of Jewish wisdom-keepers or communal leadership with the requisite knowledge and experience to guide them through the maze of laws, customs and rituals. It is for this reason that rabbis are always on hand to serve as interpreters and advisors.

It is important to note, at the outset, that paradoxes in Jewish life and leadership are rooted in their religion, morality and ethics. As Spero points out, morality is the essence of Judaism. The role of morality in Judaism as reflected in the Pentateuch (the first five books of Moses also known as the chumash of the Hebrew Bible) may be surmised not only from the importance given to it in the instructions to Israel but also in the moral nature of the qualities attributed to God. The Pentateuch contains moral elements which appear in several different forms such as values or traits, particular rules or commandments, broad principles of great generality, and as attributes ascribed to God. The books of the later prophets, covering a period of about three hundred years from Amos and Hosea to Malachi, contain essentially what scholars have referred to as literary or classical prophecy. While many of these prophecies were originally spoken to the people in personal confrontations, they were recorded by the prophets themselves or by their disciples and presented to the nation (10).

With the exception of Jews who choose not to be religious believers, Jewish people have at their disposal a wide range of sources, resources and authorities to consult for guidance on almost every aspect of their life. Because of their reliance on a long and highly documented history, Mohammed called the Jews 'the people of the Book'. Gordis contends that the vast range of Jewish literature over centuries may be described with little exaggeration as an extended commentary on the Bible from every conceivable point of view. Today Jewish culture expresses itself in music, dance, drama, and the plastic arts, but literature remains predominant. Therefore, there is today hardly an angle of or situation in Jewish life that is not covered by three hundred years of Jewish religion, culture, ritual or literature. As Gordis asserts, it is only Jewish religion that stands guard over the perpetuation of the Jewish people. Its cultural and national aspects remain vital and fruitful only when nourished by its religion. Cut off from it, the Jews linger, languish, and die.

The Jewish religion itself, however, is a complex and variegated phenomenon. It embraces doctrines of belief, ritual practices, and ethical guidance both personal and collective, all embodied in a system of law that gives these teachings concrete form and makes them operative in human life. Jewish law, in all its aspects – ethical, ritual, civil, and criminal; individual and family – has maintained Jewish existence through time. Whenever the observance of Jewish law becomes attenuated in a Jewish community, the other manifestations of Jewish spirit are weakened and ultimately face extinction.

Non-Jews find it difficult to understand the complexities, contradictions and dilemma that confront Jewish people largely because the ins-and-outs of Jewish character and life are not readily accessible to the gentiles. The fact that ordinary Jews struggle to come to terms with the complexities of Jewish customs and rituals means that the non-Jew stands very little chance of picking his way through such complexities. It is not an oversimplification that non-Jews cannot figure out how Jews can, in one breath, say they are like other members of the human race while, on the other, they insist that God chose them (over the others). Non-Jewish people find it difficult to comprehend the extent or significance of similarities and differences that occur between Judaism and Zionism as well as those occurring between branches of Judaism and Zionism.

Throughout the ages, gentile societies have been resentful of Jewish people's insistence on placing commitment to the ideal of Jewish survival before allegiance to the nationalistic or patriotic ideals of whatever host country in which they may find themselves. Whenever attempts to reach accommodation between Jewish religious ideals and a host country's nationalistic objectives failed, Jews have decided to move on to countries that undertook not to interfere with how Jews lived and practised their religion within their communities. However, Jewish communal leadership will always be in the fore to find ways of mediating whatever problems confront members of their community. In the interest of peace and the survival of their community and the interests of its members, Jewish communal leadership has, from time to time, adopted positions that were to all intents and purposes contradictory and, at times, highly indefensible. Yet, all this was done in the name of mediating paradoxes within and without the Jewish communal life.

A cursory review of Jewish literature reveals that, throughout their long history, Jews have always found ways to bridge differences, especially those emanating from the interpretation and application of Jewish ethics, morality, customs or rituals. Even the highly divisive issues surrounding Jewish nationalism and the politics of Zionism have been settled through what must be a durable system capable of absorbing internal discord and disharmony. Judaism is largely credited with providing the foundation on which dynamic and divergent debate takes place. At the same time, Judaism provides the means by which the points of divergent debate or points of views are reconciled or accommodated. As Marvin Fox (14) points out, the richness and diversity of views that have emerged over many centuries of Jewish tradition are so great that it is irresponsible to speak of what Judaism teaches. All we claim to do is to establish that within the official literature some of the most respected and recognized rabbinic teachers of various periods of Jewish history have affirmed the propriety of accepting as true what we learn through the natural science.

Fox adds that, in contrast to the strong feeling that even on scientific matters Jews must seek their own internal truth, Maimonides sees in the talmudic passage in question a model case for the principle that we should be controlled only by the best arguments and the best evidence, not by any respect for eminent Jewish figures and their revered traditions. Maimonides said that everyone who argues in speculative matters does this according to the conclusions to which he was led by his speculation. Hence the conclusion whose demonstration is correct is believed. For Maimonides, there is no authoritative prophetic teaching about the natural world that we must view as binding on faithful Jews. On the contrary, when the sages of Israel made scientific judgements it was not in their role as the official transmitters of prophetic teaching but only as men of science or pupils of men of science. As such, their only claim to authority is evidence they can marshal on behalf of their doctrines. If at any time their evidence is superseded by superior evidence and argument, we are, of course, bound to accept that view for which the best evidence is offered, no matter who is the author. As Maimonides puts it, one should accept the truth from whatever source it proceeds.

2. Built-in capacity to resolve Paradoxes and Divergent Views

It is important to note, therefore, that Judaism has a built-in capacity to resolve or accommodate divergent points of view without distorting the fundamental basis or truth of the case. This, Fox points out, is due to the fact that Judaism relies on exegesis and interpretation to stay in step with the demands and challenges of whatever times it finds itself in. One of its strengths is the fact that it has a method for remaining true to itself while absorbing or at least fruitfully confronting various aspects of non-Jewish thought. In every age including our own, Jewish thinkers have had a vital need to come to terms with the insights of science, philosophy, and morality of their time. They have been forced to accept or reject, absorb or shun ideas and doctrines whose initial source is not within the Jewish tradition. Judaism itself provides a method for carrying on this intellectual-spiritual confrontation. It is a method by which the boundaries between the Jewish and non-Jewish worlds are sometimes erased, and are at other times drawn sharply. Some outside teachings are accepted, naturalized, and are given a home within the Jewish fold. Others are rejected and excluded from any claim to Jewish legitimacy.

Fox states, further, that this method, an instrument of intellectual honesty and spiritual survival, is necessary because Judaism is a book religion, i.e. a religion that bases itself on texts that are considered sacred and that are canonized. These texts include the Bible, the Talmud, the later rabbinic writings, the codes, and similar works. These works have been the subject of continuous exegesis, for Jews were hardly ever satisfied with a bare text without commentaries. The textual commentaries generated super-commentaries, and the process of interpretation went on. The most important point to bear in mind, at all times, is that inside the Jewish tradition, an uninterpreted text is practically an unknown phenomenon.

Unlike people who operate outside the Jewish world of ideas and thoughts, Jewish people find it relatively easy to work through differences of opinion or interpretation. As Fox points out, this is largely due to the fact that the accepted methods for accommodating the Torah to a diversity of doctrinal positions are exegesis and interpretation. The range of interpretation often seems virtually unlimited, especially when we are dealing with narrative or aggadic passages, with matters of doctrine rather than with questions of practical law. What is instructive is the fact that opposed ways of understanding a particular text can and do live side by side without generating any tension or uneasiness. This is possible only because of the deeply rooted principle in the Jewish tradition that there is no single fixed way of understanding the text. The gates of interpretation are open and it is fully proper to go through various gates, at different times and for different purposes.

The paragraphs that follow serve to illustrate how members of South African Jewry have successfully used exegetic interpretation to bridge differences of opinion that have strained intra-Jewish relations over decades. The issue under consideration is the assessment of the extent of the damage, if any, caused by the neutral and non-involved stance that the Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) maintained almost throughout the decades of apartheid rule. The manner in which different authors and commentators presented their arguments provides ample testimony to Fox's assertion that within Judaism the gates of interpretation remain open. While some of the criticisms and counter-criticisms are rather sharp and almost too personal, in the end the Jewish community emerges the winner.

It is significant to note that the debate in question occurred at the height of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission or process. This was barely three years after the birth of what has become known as Africa's miracle democracy. The advent of democracy had forced communities that either perpetrated or survived the scourge of apartheid to re-examine the extent of their direct or indirect involvement in the overall apartheid campaign. Individuals as well as organizations toyed with the idea of approaching the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for purposes of cleansing themselves of whatever share of the collective guilt they may have harboured. Within the Jewish community, the introspection took the form of conferences that sought to re-examine the role played and position occupied by the Jewish communal leadership as well as individual members of the community vis-à-vis support for or fighting against apartheid. As in any situation, the debate often touches on sensitive issues that are met by characteristic Jewish hypersensitivity. Sharp-tongued critics of communal leadership are matched by the equally barbed words of those who choose to defend the position of the SAJBD.

Thus, the robust debate is conducted according to the long-established Jewish tradition of incisive analysis and exegetic interpretation. Participants in the debate can only hope, in the end, that the robust debate will have compelled the Jewish community to undergo its own version of Truth and Reconciliation. The process itself will, it is hoped, have exorcised whatever blemish the ghost of apartheid has visited on the community as a whole. Jewish wisdom-keepers can take comfort in the fact that post-apartheid South African Jewry can now bask in the glory of Jewish men and women who sacrificed life and limb fighting against the perpetrators of the crimes of apartheid.

At the level of intellectual or ethical debate, the wisdom or otherwise of the neutrality stance has become one on which only history can adjudicate. For those who bore the brunt of the apartheid killing machine, the issue is not whether the accusers or defenders of the Jewish communal leadership are guilty or not guilty as charged. The fact that the debate was allowed or continues to take place is sufficient proof that the Jewish community is grappling with the process of reconciliation.

From inception, the SAJBD found itself embroiled in controversy around the issue of its avowed neutrality stance. The untenability of its stance worsened as successive apartheid regimes plummeted out of control until it was declared a universal crime against humanity. It was not until the political coast was absolutely clear that the SAJBD ventured out with conference resolutions that sought to place the Jewish case against apartheid on the back of the horse after it had bolted out of the proverbial stable. Today South African Jewry remains divided over the correctness and the damage that the neutrality stance may have visited on current and future relationships with other segments of the Rainbow nation.

3. The Impact of Antisemitism Jewish Leadership Experience

Scholars and historians who have dealt with the issue of antisemitism throughout different parts of the world have established that the non-Jewish world does not know how to handle the problem. On the one hand, non-Jews tend to be too dismissive whenever Jews raise objections against actions or behaviour they construe as antisemitic. This group of non-Jews tends to accuse Jews of being too sensitive or too quick to flash the antisemitic card whenever any member of their community is criticized or rebuked. The charge is that hypersensitive Jews behave like black people who do not hesitate to use the so-called 'race card' against the mildest criticism from white quarters. On the other hand, there are non-Jewish people who are so petrified of being, directly or indirectly, associated with antisemitic charges that they take a wide berth around the problem. In the middle are Jewish people who, from time to time, feel threatened by the ebbs and flows of antisemitism.

For the reasons just stated, non-Jewish South Africans have tended to trash claims by local Jews that the post-apartheid political environment is increasingly becoming infested with antisemitic slander, especially from the Muslim quarter. In his essay on the subject of Jewish Myths, Steven Friedman (15) refers to two things, more than anything else, that are a source of great concern to individual Jews in South Africa today. These are, firstly, that ordinary South African Jews feel insecure because they live in an environment in which, as individuals, they are not physically safe from the escalating rise of violent crime. And secondly, that Jews fear the rise of antisemitism from two sources. One comprises right-wing whites who blame the Jews for causing South Africa's far-reaching social change. As usual, Jews get the blame, but not the credit, though both are probably undeserved.

The second stems from the rise of extremism among a section - certainly not all - of the Muslim community. The main section of the Muslim community displays little sign of antisemitism. In many ways it is easier to be a New South African. The debates of the past about apartheid are over, the world is open to us all, the Constitution protects our people and our institutions. 'If we as Jews play our role, make our contribution, realise the new nature of our country, then indeed there is a place on South Africa's high ground for us' (15).

Having considered the views of several scholars and experts on the matter, antisemitism remains a rather difficult concept to grasp. This is particularly true among the majority of non-Jewish people in general and the black South African majority in particular. The more travelled or widely exposed sections of the black population have schooled their tongues not to utter anything that may be construed, by Jewish associates, as antisemitic. It is safe to surmise that even in these moments of permanent vigilance and self-control, the non-Jewish friends of the Jew remain, in the main, ignorant of the real meaning of the term. Fear of being permanently branded a hater of Jews is enough to dissuade a large proportion of non-Jewish people from venturing beyond mild disagreement or criticism of Jewish people. Much of the so-called antisemitic humour found within South African society – and the black section in particular – has little in it that may be classified truly antisemitic. If anything, the bulk of black and white non-Jewish South Africans are plainly either ignorant or badly misinformed about the term.

Interestingly, Jewish people seldom take appropriate or remedial steps to correct non-Jews who, in such instances, are unwitting victims of their own ignorance. Offended Jews will rather recoil and withdraw from offending verbal exchanges without as much as pointing out that some offending utterances have entered the exchange. Their withdrawal often results in casting the unwitting antisemite offenders in the company of those who have been confirmed as serial antisemites. Jewish hypersensitivity and vigilance against antisemitism has been dismissed by some Jewish and non-Jewish scholars as a convenient tool for certain classes of Jewish people to exploit their permanent victim status.

The foregoing does not in any way whatsoever absolve people who knowingly indulge or revel in acts of antisemitism or Jew-bashing. Common sense tells us that this class of human beings will, to all intents and purposes, proudly consider themselves as reasonable racist and not just Jew-haters. A good proportion of black victims of white racism, when compelled by circumstances beyond their control, adopt counter-racist retaliatory tactics. This speaks to many black South Africans who were conditioned or conditioned themselves into regarding all white people as being innately racist and evil at heart unless they prove themselves otherwise.

Thus, black antipathy towards Jewish people is nothing more than antipathies towards white people in general, and white South Africans in particular. Further, we could hazard a guess that black South Africans' resentment – and even hatred – of whites generically is informed or shaped by specific factors. The Afrikaner segment of white South Africa is resented particularly for its dehumanising treatment of black people. This brand of antipathy is informed mainly by race politics. Antipathy towards the Jewish segment of white South Africa is based largely on its closed ways of life and envy or jealousy based on the group's highly disproportionate impact within the economic and business arena. The English component is resented for its colonial and class arrogance.

The focus of contemporary Jewish debate on the subject of Jews and apartheid has provoked muted as well as open criticism of South African Jewry's decades of silence and its do-nothing stance. Jewish muteness or blindness towards the position of victims of apartheid has prompted several Jewish scholars to chastise Jewish leadership for following policies that, in part, placed Jews in the same gallery as white ethnics who purposefully – although they now deny it – went out of their way to sow long-term seeds of inter-race hatred. The scholars' argument is, in part, that should contemporary Jews encounter black hatred that matches classical antisemitism, this should not come as a surprise seeing that the former had partnered racist white groups in 'othering' black people (15).

Before we move on to the impact and potential implications of antisemitism and other shades of antipathies against Jewish people, we should secure a firm understanding of what the concepts truly stand for. Put differently, our grasp of the term should be such that we should know when to use it and when not to use it. We should also understand how this problematic word could interfere with genuine attempts at building lasting partnerships between all peoples of South Africa – Jews included – in the campaign to forge and implement a patently African leadership approach. The point has already been made – hopefully in jest – that in their desperate quest to build their business empires or conglomerates, the new breed of black entrepreneurs and businesspersons are having a difficult time finding out the appropriate ways of relating to Jewish business partners without, unwittingly, adopting antisemitic behaviour. Thus, to ensure that their Jewish business partners or sponsors give emerging black entrepreneurs access to accumulated Jewish business 'kop', aspirant black magnates and tycoons will deny antisemitism even before the charge is made.

In an article titled Muslim-Jewish Relations in South Africa, Joscelyn Hellig (16) concedes from the outset, that the word antisemitism* is difficult to define. The definition is complicated by the fact that the term is used to denote anything from a vague dislike and distrust of Jews at one end of the spectrum, to outright murder of them at the other. Between these two extremes are laws and actions that place some form of limitation on the lives and aspirations of Jews. The difficulty of definition notwithstanding, there appears to be a quality to antisemitism that distinguishes it from other forms of hatred, namely a demonisation of the Jew and the attribution to the Jews of a cosmic power for evil.

Hellig points out that antisemitism finds its most influential roots in the mythic structure of Christianity in its relation to Judaism. A particular role is assigned to the Jews in the Christian drama of salvation. The closeness of the Jews forms an indispensable step in the Christian understanding of God's grace. Had the Jews not been chosen, Christ would make absolutely no theological difference. The fact that Jews refused to accept Jesus as the messiah resulted in charges that Jews were stubborn and blind. Being blind to the purport of their own scriptures, they were seen also to be blind to its ethical content.

Thus, all forms of immorality and lewdness were ascribed to them. More destructive, however, was the accusation that the Jews killed Christ. The accusation implied that Jews, having committed the ultimate crime, are not beyond the most heinous of sins. In the myth of the crucifixion, the most powerful the world has ever known, Jews are not the scapegoats. Jesus is the scapegoat and the Jews are the evil instruments of his cruel, but necessary, death. They, however, refuse to partake of the salvation it offers and are thus doubly damned. They are seen as the epitome of evil, as having cosmic powers for evil. This, more than anything else, has made the Jews the target of irrational fear and hatred (16).

So, while Jew hatred is as old as Judaism itself, a significant expression of it in the ancient world, the internal anti-Judaic dynamic of Christianity, reinforced it with extraordinary force and vitality. Jews became the demonic 'Other' in the Christian world and were regarded as quintessentially alien. Christian teaching gave rise to the growth of a formidable antisemitic stereotype. With the superimposition of racial criteria in the more modern manifestations of antisemitism, this alien status became a permanent feature from which there could be no escape. Antisemitism, a phenomenon that would be inexplicable in isolation from inter-religious dynamics, finds its most influential roots in the mythic structure of Christianity in its relation to Judaism. A particular role is assigned to the Jews in the Christian drama of salvation. The closeness of the Jews forms an indispensable step in the Christian understanding of God's grace (16).

Jewish scholars in the diaspora have given many different – and at times conflicting – definitions as well as origins of the word antisemitism. In his characteristic anti-Jewish establishment approach, French Jewish scholar Rodinson gave a lengthy definition of the term. He also traced, in some detail, the development of the concept of antisemitism from early to modern European and Middle Eastern periods to present times. Rodinson states that readers may note that while there is, in his handling of the word or concept, little likely to please advocates of what he called the Zionist 'vulgate', by no means is his handling of the concept to be considered an apology for Arab points of view either. In the paragraphs that follow, we present a lengthy statement on the subject of antisemitism: this, to help less informed non-Jews to gain an accurate understanding of the term. We have, therefore, elected to incorporate the views of a handful of local and diaspora scholars.

Rodinson points out that the term 'antisemitism' is a modern European expression. It signifies hatred of Jews and systematic hostility towards them. In itself it entails deformations of an ideological type, for implied in it are the concepts, common in nineteenth-century Europe, that humanity is divided into well defined 'races' to which people belong by birth and that these races coincide to a large extent with linguistic families. Hatred of Jews was considered to be aroused by their supposedly hereditary racial characteristics, which were regarded as either detestable in reality or of such a nature as to engender the hatred of others. Essentially, these characteristics were supposed to be features of the entire so-called Semitic race, which meant - in practice - all those peoples now speaking or once having spoken Semitic languages, and therefore the Arabs as well. Christianity, having arisen from the Jewish religion, and having been created by Jews, itself bore the stigma of this Semitic origin (6).

European antisemites were motivated primarily by hatred of Jews and sometimes by hatred of Christian ecclesiastical institutions. They were not interested in the other so-called Semites. The futility of an argument often voiced in the Arab world is thus clear: 'we cannot be anti-Semites, since we are Semites'. Historically the words 'anti-Semite' and 'antisemitism' express the idea of hatred of the Jews. Naturally, this hatred can be encountered among any people, including the Arabs. Indeed, it is not a matter of just any hatred or just any hostility. Modern European antisemitism was linked to the notion of race and, therefore, the Jews had always been and would always be endowed with a pernicious essence transmitted genetically just like colour of hair or blood group. The notion has since fallen into discredit, yet the perpetrators of the antisemitic doctrine – the Judeophobes - have ceased to ascribe these supposed pernicious characteristics to genes constituting a patrimony transmitted by heredity from the ancient Hebrews, or even from the alleged original Semites (6).

In principle, they may concede that these characteristics are not eternal. In particular, some of them believe that the existence of the Jews in the new Israeli nation has at least abolished many of their pernicious characteristics. Those who hold these positions are therefore both Judeophobes and Israelophiles. Nevertheless, all of them proclaim that these characteristics have become features of the Jews as a result of conditions in which they have lived for many centuries, and that they continue and will continue to be features of them for a very long time to come - at least in the diaspora.

In general, then, this modern form of Judeophobia is distinct from religious Judeophobia, which holds that the sole cause of the supposedly pernicious characteristics of the Jews is their religion. According to this latter concept, a Jew converted to another religion would be radically purged of these defects, and thus regenerated. As in many ideologies of hostility, it is supposed that the set of individuals or groups against which the ideology is directed are endowed with great unity, with a single centre on which these individuals and groups depend. It is imagined that this centre elaborates a programme, strategy, and tactics, which the individuals and groups then proceed faithfully to implement in an effort to attain their detestable goals most - often the absolute domination of the rest of humanity. It is an occult conspiratorial centre (6).

This sort of essentialist ideology of hostility has attained extreme degrees with respect to the Jews. But it has also arisen, to a greater or lesser extent, in very many other cases. Hostility among human groups has clearly been a constant feature of human history, even though the relations between any two given groups most often include phases of hostility, neutrality, and amity. Hostility of any durability, however, tends to lead to an essentialist ideology. To the adversary is ascribed a perpetually evil essence of which the conjunctural hostility is said to be merely a manifestation. Naturally, the group issuing this judgment regards itself through the prism of a no less essentialist ideology, but one that characterizes the group as the embodiment of a perpetually good, laudable, and generous essence - one endowed, in short, with all possible good qualities. Alongside the negative essentialism that characterizes the other groups, in particular those that are adversaries for a given period, there is therefore a positive essentialism that is more or less indistinguishable from ethnocentrism (6).

Ethnocentrism consists in viewing all other ethnic-national groups through the prism of the presumed superiority of one's own group. It has been a universal phenomenon since the origins of human society. To believe that one's own group (or the set of groups among which this group is classed) has escaped ethnocentrism or an essentialist view of itself and others is to accord it an astonishing privilege connected to its essence, and is therefore a manifestation of essentialist ethnocentrism. The universalist religions normally think of themselves as the exclusive guardians of the truth about the Hereafter, the world, and man. They are therefore naturally drawn to a view that approximates the ethnocentric one. Nevertheless, some advanced theologies may attenuate the excesses of this concept to a greater or lesser extent (6).

Since the groups that develop ethnocentrist ideologies consider themselves endowed with an essence of a superior quality that should normally be expected to arouse only admiration and love, these ideologies perceive any hostility to which they are subjected as the consequence of gratuitous wickedness on the part of others, a kind of universal jealousy. Like the paranoiac at the level of individual psychology, they adopt an attitude that Rodinson referred to as panekhthrist ('enemy') (6). The entire universe is thought to be wickedly in league against the group in question. This concept is quite frequently carried to more or less extreme lengths, and takes hold in more or less lasting and spontaneous fashion, theorized to varying degrees of elaboration.

The groups that may be called Jewish, like many others, have often been the target of hostility. For two thousand years, these groups, having been encompassed within societies upholding hegemonic ideologies, and being minorities within them, have been objects of scorn, disparagement, and often hatred, and on many occasions have suffered persecution of varying degrees of cruelty. For complex reasons, this has been the case primarily in Christian Europe, in which they formed the only minority religious community, and a small one at that. These persecutions were often atrocious. They grew much worse when the Jewish religious community was on the way to dissolution following the secularization of the state. At that time the persecutions, sustained by a racist ideology, targeted all those who, as descendants of members of the Jewish community, were supposed to be carriers of the wicked genes that were claimed to be characteristic of them.

European Jews became the victims of a set of hostilities of different kinds, directed against different sorts of groups. Thus, there was:

•. Religious hostility from Christians as adherents of a religion which, according to Christian ideology, they should have acknowledged as obsolete, as lapsed, on the authority of their own sacred texts, which are considered holy by Christianity. According to the same ideology, they were primarily responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus, one of their own, whom they should instead have recognized as the Messiah whose coming had been forecast by their prophets and as the Son of God, God Himself incarnate.

•. The secular hostility of many anti-clericalists and anti-Christians of Christian stock who held that the Jewish religion - supposedly more or less the expression of the Jews' essence - was the root of what they considered the pernicious characteristics of Christianity, or at least of the Christian church as an organization.

•. The social hostility of those wronged or injured by the activities to which Christian regulations long confined the Jews: the collection of taxes or ground rent, money-lending, etc, activities which, as a result of family traditions and customs, persisted among many of them - or rather, among those that attracted the most attention - after the abolition of the regulations in question; likewise, hostility from those who were offended by their preference for lifestyles and professions to which these traditions had predisposed them (in the final analysis, results of those same regulations): urban life, intellectual and liberal professions, etc.

•. Quasi-ethnic hostility towards groups whose daily lifestyle differed in part from that of the great majority of peoples among whom they lived, since they thus appeared as foreigners in many respects; this perception was reinforced when persecutions brought to western Europe very many Jews from faraway countries - primarily eastern Europe - who were indeed foreigners in all senses of the word, at least for the first generations after their migration (6).

The Jews themselves had very naturally developed an ethnocentric and panekhthrist ideology representing their group as superior to others, which is generally what happens. For a long time this ideology was exclusively religious. It thus located the secret of this superiority in a religious notion: that the Jews were the 'chosen' people, divinely selected among all others as the repository of the supreme truth. The general hostility that surrounded them was likewise considered a consequence of this superiority. The other humans - the 'nations' - were jealous of the people of Israel and of its privileges. God wanted to purify his people through trials, and so on (6).

It is the convergence of all these factors that explains the rise of a mystified conception of the real Judeophobias encompassed under the name antisemitism. According to this conception, for one reason or another, the Jews have been, are, and always will be the object of a hatred that is to their honour and augments their value. Any suggestion that this hostility or hostilities had causes rooted in the concrete conditions that have shaped relations between Jews and non-Jews is vehemently rejected. Any sign that some societies have not experienced and are not experiencing this hatred, or that some historical periods were free of it, is ignored - and mention of it often denounced as itself the product of an 'antisemitic' effort (6).

The tendency is to include in the concept of antisemitism all manifestations of special hostility towards any Jewish group or even towards any given Jewish individual, regardless of their gravity. Harmless cracks or ironic quips are sometimes exaggerated and presented as signs of hostility. Above all, any suggestion that these manifestations of hostility could be of the same kind as those also directed against other peoples or other human groups is rejected. Moreover the very idea that quite similar phenomena directed towards other peoples or other groups might be manifested among the Jews themselves is cause for indignation (6).

4. Victims of Massacre and Persecution

Jewish communities have suffered persecution and often massacre on various occasions in history. The massacre in Germany and the countries occupied by the Germans was an enormity and an atrocity. There were millions of victims. There are no valid reasons for denying the reality and scope of this massacre on the pretext that many Jews and Jewish groupings have drawn unwarranted conclusions from it. All such denials are contradicted by the obvious events from which many have suffered so cruelly, and by millions of witnesses who survived. They have been demonstrated as invalid by the criteria of historical research (6).

Like Rodinson, Lilienthal (8) is another Jewish scholar who has endured attacks from fellow Jews for their apostasy. Lilienthal deals, at length, with various ways that the Jewish community and certain of its leaders, scholars and commentators have used (as well as abused) the concept of antisemitism. Lilienthal is particularly concerned with the many ways that American Jewry has and continues to use antisemitism as a convenient label for silencing Jews who fail to, or decide not to, toe the Zionist line. In essence, Zionist and Israeli leaders and scholars do not hesitate to use their well-oiled propaganda machine to tarnish or even destroy careers and reputations of 'errant' Jews. Rodinson (6) had his hands full trying to answer to fellow Jews who attacked him on grounds that his criticism of Zionist and Israeli policies amounted to antisemitism that was motivated by self-hate (selbsthaste).

Lilienthal presents a strong argument against the Jewish community's commitment to promote aliya i.e. Jewish return to Palestine. The author believes that the Jewish community and its leadership, especially those living outside the state of Israel, should no longer be coerced into identifying with and/or supporting – financially and otherwise - the existence of the Jewish state. Diaspora Jews who share Lilienthal's strong sentiments believe, as James P. Warburg (8) once put it, that majority-minority relationships in American society are a two-way street. A minority has every right to stand for and demand protection of its rights. But a minority has no right to use its political, economic or financial power in furtherance of ends which run counter to the best interest of the majority. Like Lilienthal, these Jews are of the opinion that the state of Israel, Jewish nationalism, Jewish leaders and Jewish organizations have become inviolate from censure. Thus the emotional reaction engendered by Nazi genocide has given rise to an eleventh Commandment: 'Thou shalt not be antisemitic' (8).

Lilienthal points to a corollary twelfth Commandment: 'Thou shalt be anti-antisemitic'. Therefore, in their zeal to adhere strictly to this Commandment, the anti-antisemites follow the lead of organized Jewry in refusing to make the basic distinction between those who are against Zionism-Israelism because they dislike its political precepts and those who are against Jews because they dislike Jews. The handiest device for disposing of any opposition to accepted ideas is to affix the antisemitic label to the dissenter. Many liberals hurl this label around as loosely as certain 'conservatives' were wont to use the word 'Commie'. This means that a tyranny not simply of a minority, but of a minority of a minority, has accounted for a reign of intimidation against any and all who would speak out against Israelism (8).

The branding as anti-Semites of many well-intentioned people in the United States and England whose opposition was not to Jews but to political Zionism compelled Michael Ionides (6) to write that 'a great deal of what I have written about the place of Zionism and Israel in the story will be unfamiliar to British and western readers and unwelcome to many. But Israel is a sovereign, independent State taking her part in world affairs like any other. Israel and the Zionists must expect, like any other State or movement, to have their political activities noted and discussed openly. They have no right to expect that either Gentiles or Jews will continue indefinitely to shrink from political criticism of Zionist political activities for fear of being accused of antisemitism.

Lilienthal believes that there exists within a section of the Jewish community in America and the diaspora, Jews who have set themselves up as the supreme protectors of rights of Jews. As such, they do not hesitate to use negative labels for purposes of branding Jews who do not appear to or wish to toe the line. In his view, these people operate according to the axiom 'when in doubt, charge the other guy with antisemitism'. Often what a Jew might say without drawing this most noxious of labels, a non-Jew could not dare utter. Thus, although Ben-Gurion's pronouncements on the 'ingathering of the exiles' were decidedly antisemitic, he was absolved from the charge. This prompted one scholar to observe that 'had such statements been said by a non-Jew, there would have been a chorus of protest and they would have been described as signs of antisemitism, not only by Jews but also by non-Jews.

As Lilienthal puts it: Jews who are not prime ministers can readily be labeled antisemites. Quoting from personal experience, Lilienthal recounts an incident wherein he was accosted at a cocktail party for being an 'Arab lover' – i.e. in similar fashion to the Nazi's 'Judenknecht', or the racist's 'nigger-lover' or the Afrikaner's 'kaffir-boetie'. Commenting on the unsavoury tactics of sections of American Jewry, Lilienthal observes that the roster of renegades, who at one time or another stood strongly against the tide of nationalism and found themselves victims of a smear campaign, is an illustrious one drawn from top educational, clerical, literary, political and journalistic circles. While being classed in this group should have brought honour to the recipients, many others were prevailed on by the Zionist-Israeli propaganda machine to remain silent. The 'antisemite' branding caused some to recant. The reluctance of the ordinary non-Jew to be associated with anything that smacks of bigotry against Jews runs very deep. This psychological weapon was most ably wielded by Zionist and by non-Zionist alike.

Lilienthal cautions that the reckless usage of epithets such as anti-antisemitism and anti-anti-Negroism is likely to reach a point where it produces the exact opposite effect from the one initially intended. The anti-antisemitism campaign, for instance, has reached the point where a great many non-Jews are becoming excessively bored. The watchword of antisemitism is 'back to medieval apartheid'.

Lilienthal observes that it is singularly curious that nowhere in the massive attack on prejudice and bigotry waged by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has it been hinted that the monolithic approach to Zionism and Middle East foreign policy might in itself be the most important indicator of what antisemitism does exist. As one Jewish scholar wrote 'nothing is more convincing proof of antisemitism to American nationalist Jews than the mere suggestion that there might be some remote relationship of cause and effect between a possible rise of anti-Jewish sentiment in America and the vulgarity and ostentation of the huge fund-raising campaigns for Israel, the aggressiveness of the organized political pressure groups; or the promotion of militant Jewish worldwide nationalism as an ideology for American Jews in direct opposition to the American political system' (8).

5. Every Human has a little Anti-semitism

Certain Jewish leaders and commentators promoted the notion that human being have in them a little antisemitism. Thus, antisemitism is a bacillus which every Gentile carries with him wherever he goes and however often he denies it. Like other bacilli, it may remain quiescent and harmless for years. But once the right conditions are created, the bacilli multiply and the epidemic breaks out. The condition for an outbreak of overt antisemitism in any nation is that the number of Jews should rise beyond the safety level of that particular nation. Hence the only radical cure for antisemitism is the creation of the Jewish State (8).

Lilienthal argues that the unwarranted and often indiscriminate use of the antisemitism label has so distorted the historical picture of Jews that they have now become the sole sufferers while the rest of the world presumably basked in happiness. Lilienthal cites Rabbi Richard E. Singer who once said that like the rest of mankind, Jews and Christians have suffered. 'There is no group with a monopoly on suffering, and no human beings which have experienced hate and hostility more than any other. I must say, however, that it is my impression that Jewish history has been taught with a whine and whimper rather than with a straightforward acknowledgment that man practises his inhumanity on his fellow human beings. Out of this peculiar emphasis on suffering there has developed a new attitude of vicarious suffering - a feeling among numbers of Jews today that because other Jews have suffered and died they, the living, are somehow entitled to special consideration.

Lilienthal observes that 'the failure of the powerful and wealthy Jewish American community to launch one objective scholarly study of the causes of antisemitism is significant. Neither the religious nor the lay leaders of the many Jewish organizations wish to lose this potent weapon. Remove prejudice and you lose adherents to the faith. Make strides toward eliminating bigotry and funds for Jewish' nationalist activities dry up. Hence, no scientific attack on the problem of antisemitism. This is the conspiracy between the rabbinate, Jewish nationalists and other leaders of organized Jewry to keep the problems of prejudice alive. The Christian of America, afraid to do otherwise, readily goes along, and if he carries any prejudice in his own heart (the endemic antisemitism to which Weizmann (8) and Crossman (8) alluded), he is all the readier to accept the antisemitic label affixed to the acts of others.

6. Antisemitism and the Black American Leadership Experience

This section features an abridged and heavily paraphrased summation of points gleaned from a dialogue between two American scholars – one Jewish and one black, viz., Michael Lerner and Cornel West (34) respectively. The dialogue occurred over a period of six years. At the risk of compromising a smooth flow of the presentation, we decided to retain the overall integrity of the dialogue by presenting the arguments (together with lengthy illustrations) in their entirety.

Lerner and West assert that 'the sad truth is that racism and antisemitism are realities in each community, and our task is not to deny but to explore how and why this is the case'. During the dialogue, West argues that given the experience of the Jews in Europe, any manifestations of antisemitism deserve attention and legitimately generate concern. These scholars caution, however, that those targeted by antisemitism need to be 'very clear about the scope, depth, and numbers involved so that you don't give the racists and antisemites a bigger platform than they deserve'. In this instance, certain American organizations made the mistake of focusing on black antisemitism as if to imply it was much more important among blacks than it is in reality. In West's view, this kind of deep hatred remains a marginal phenomenon in the black community.

In response to West's observation, Lerner argues that organizations such as the ADL and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre have built their financial appeal to Jews on their ability to portray the Jewish people as surrounded by enemies who are on the verge of launching threatening antisemitic campaigns. Such organizations have a professional stake in exaggerating the dangers, and sometimes allow existing racial or political prejudices in the Jewish world to influence how it will portray the potential dangers. Lerner adds that, as a result, 'there are voices among American Jewish liberals who question the special emphasis that ADL has placed on black antisemitism. But one has to understand this as part of a larger political pattern, because the ADL was also involved in denigrating people on the Left, including Jews on the Left, who critiqued Israeli policy.

In the name of defending Jewish interests, these organizations often end up defending particular politics within the Jewish world and imagining that anyone who does not agree with those politics is a threat to the Jews, including fellow Jews with whom they disagree. Their power is that they continue to attract Jewish donors and members who are fearful of the undoubtedly real threats that do still exist, and which ADL sometimes is able to document. Even though the ADL may exaggerate the problem, the antisemitism that exists in the black community is shocking for Jews' (34).

With regard to the origins of antisemitism, West concurs with a number of scholars who have suggested that this problem has a number of different sources. The first is religious: the Christian tradition that the Jews are Christ-killers, from which the black church is not exempt. The second is economic, coming from interaction with the small numbers of Jewish businessmen and women active in the black community. The third is cultural. West also states that historically there has been an association between black and Jewish people, who have tended to measure themselves in the light of Jewish achievement. That Jews have been able to move so quickly up the American ladder generates a deep sense of resentment and envy (34).

Black people see a discrepancy between claims that antisemitism is so pervasive in American society and the tremendous ascendancy of Jews into the upper middle classes. Black people who are making the same claims about racism are not able to ascend in the way Jews have. So religious, economic, and cultural factors combine to produce a certain type of black antisemitism. On the other hand, it's amazing the degree to which black antisemitism is not as universal as people think. There is also an acknowledgment, albeit ambivalent, of the tremendous contribution Jews have made to the black struggle in this century (34).

Further, West argues that the reason why the resentment of Jews does not exist toward other immigrant groups that have made it (Japanese-Americans) is because there is no history of religious anti-Japanese sentiment. More importantly, there may be resentment of Asian upward mobility, but the greater preoccupation with Jews is generated by black identification with them. West adds that the reason black antisemitism is not being adequately addressed by the black community is due firstly to the fact that black churches have not adequately reflected on the potentially antisemitic element in the Christian narrative. Secondly, progressive black nationalists have not acknowledged the degree to which antisemitic elements have been built into the black nationalist tradition. West says this does not mean that every black nationalist is an antisemite, just as not every Zionist hates Palestinians. Another source of tension is connected to gender consideration (34).

Looking into factors underlying Jewish propensity for alignment with black people's position especially in the socio-political arena, Lerner and West point to the fact that during the 1950-60s, American secular Jews rejected their own community of meaning as presented within the framework of a depoliticized and assimilated Judaism. Instead they were attracted to the black world, which seemed to have its own meaning and purpose. Black resistance to oppression was attractive because it provided an alternative image to younger Jews about how a powerless people could deal with oppression other than the (distorted, but nevertheless prominent) account of Jews as having been weak and powerless and led to slaughter without significant and sustained resistance.

Lerner and West maintain that historical evidence exists to show that there was something distinctively Jewish in the Jewish propensity toward the black movement. This had to do with the strong socialist sensibilities that their ancestors brought with them from Eastern Europe and Russia. Their quest for Jewish identity was an affirmation of something that was there in their parents and grandparents - a critique of injustice. Even radically secular young Jewish students were acting on a history of culturally leftwing responses to oppression. Interestingly, a similar development failed to take root in apartheid South Africa where, as we have seen, Jews joined other whites in excluding black people from mainstream society. As has been demonstrated elsewhere in the study, the question why South African Jews ignored, suppressed or lost their innate propensity for siding with the underdog remains a topic of heated debate among Jewish scholars and leaders.

Lerner maintains that during the second half of the previous century, young Jews and their parents moved toward more subtle anti-black racism, which persists to this day. This provides ample evidence of the existence of anti-black racism in the Jewish community. Most of this is a transference of general white racism, which Jews have adopted increasingly as they have assimilated American values; some of it is based on encounters with blacks in which either violence has been experienced, or in which Jews have not respected the values that seem to dominate in black culture. That culture is often a response to oppression, and Jews want to know why blacks do not deal with oppression the way Jews did.

Jews, however, never faced a breakdown in family and community in any way comparable to hundreds of years of slavery, so they do not understand why black culture cannot embody Jewish strengths. They find the answer in American society's assertions of black inferiority, which fits a tendency among Jews toward goy-bashing: putting down non-Jews as somehow less than them. This is partly a product of Jewish defensiveness, self-protection against living as a denigrated minority in a Christian world. As Lerner puts it: 'we turn it around and say that precisely because of the way they treat us, they are inferior. It is especially easily applied to blacks because even the white goyim say this about them (34).

Addressing themselves to the dynamism surrounding the interface between Jews and blacks, Lerner and West state that, if or when pressed, those black Americans seeking Jewish economic or political support acknowledge the role. 'But from most blacks, including most black intellectuals, Jews rarely get a feeling that we are recognized for the disproportionate support we've given to causes close to the heart of the black community. Instead, Jewish people sense a special hostility coming at them from black intellectuals and professionals who seem most interested in making these critiques of Israel. They also point out that some black professionals, finding themselves in workplaces where Jewish professionals wield power over them, do have a special hostility toward some Jews. Others react negatively to what they perceive to be an ideological shift in the Jewish professional world away from previously progressive perspectives.

The dialogue on Jewish-black relations also touched on the role that lack of inter-personal contact between black and Jewish college students plays in fomenting anti-black racism. In her essays, cited elsewhere in this report, Slier touches on a similar point when she recounts a Jewish students' decision to opt out of campus activities likely to bring them into the centre-stage of contemporary black-driven campus social and political activities. The degree of anti-black sensibility in the American Jewish student community is exacerbated by the fact that Jews fail to see its presence within their community. Lerner says, for instance, that it is one thing to say that there are messages that can be read as racist such as when Jews turn their backs on black suffering by saying that blacks bring misery on themselves. But Jews do not have a feeling that this is a racist statement because there are black conservatives who say similar things.

Lerner adds that black Americans 'are absolutely right in terms of America's refusal candidly to come to terms with its own history of evils. Yet, the Holocaust is an evil that sits at the center of European modernity and is related to the other kinds of evil that we would talk about in the U.S. context. One of the uglier sides of all this is the issue of power. The reason why America has 'the Holocaust Museum is not simply because the Holocaust was one form of evil, distinctive and unique, but that American Jews have levels of unity and influence and resources such that they can pull this thing off. Whoever really has the power to create such an event, that's who gets center stage. As long as black people do not have the power to do it, nobody is going to give a damn about slavery, nobody is going to give a damn about lynching. But that takes the moral edge off it: it just becomes a question of who has the money. If you have the money to do it, you can keep your memory going; if you don't, you can't. And so we lose the deeper issues of how our injustices against humanity are linked'. By the same token, 'Jewish power has racist dimensions to it when it assumes that the rest of us have some kind of power or control over those Jews who have a disproportionate amount of money, or that they represent or speak for us.

West further states that black antisemitism has in some ways always been there but is being highlighted now by Jews precisely because it not only rationalizes the Jewish move to the center and Right but is an attempt to hide and conceal the continual accumulation of more power and wealth and privilege among a sector of the Jewish world that itself is still relatively unaccountable to large numbers of Jews. The use of that power and wealth and privilege against black interests leads to a version of antisemitism which is obsessed with the uses of Jewish power vis-à-vis black interests. 'Black pessimists argue that very few people of any humane concern can actually live in a society with the levels of social misery being what they are. It's just so outside of the bounds of the richest nation in the history of the world. Since these generational layers of black social misery still command very little attention in the larger society and less and less in the Jewish world, the argument is that by focusing on black antisemitism, Jews exercise a kind of looking away from, a way of justifying, the refusal to come to terms with that black social misery' (34).

From a South African Jewish perspective, Hellig addresses the issue of antisemitism in terms of past Nazi-oriented policies of Afrikaner politics as well as recent anti-Israeli protest and demonstrations emanating from within a section of the Muslim community.

Regarding the latter, Hellig (30) asserts that although there is a good deal of anti-Judaic sentiment in the Qur'an (Koran) and Sunna, antisemitism in traditional Islam was very different from and far less problematic than that in Christendom. The author concurs with Bernard Lewis who argued that since 1945, certain Arab countries have been the only places in the world where hard-core Nazi-style antisemitism is publicly and officially endorsed and propagated. While the notion of 'toleration-protection cum humiliation' took varied and sometimes outrageous forms, the radical isolation of the Jew as 'outsider' in Europe was never approximated in the Muslim world. Jews were objects of officially legislated contempt, but they were not intended to be objects of officially instituted hatred.


1. Eretz Yisrael

Gonen describes Zionism as a movement of the Jewish people that set for itself the goal of rebuilding a home for the Jews in Eretz Yisrael (The Land of Israel). This rebuilding was to bring about a national and spiritual revival of the Jews both as individuals and as a people. From its beginning, Zionism has been a mixture of different orientations. The common theme running throughout its development was the caring for the city of Zion, Jerusalem, which served as a focal expression of passion for the land of Israel and the fate of the Jews. However, this unifying theme sometimes obscured the underlying diversity of the movement. Perhaps the most contradictory Zionist aspirations were on the one hand to become 'a light of the nations' and on the other hand wishing 'that we also may be like all the nations'. Most of all, the Zionist movement was characterized by its focus on a rapid transition from inferiority to overcompensation (10).

For centuries, Jewish history has been perceived as beleaguered by inferiorities, defects, and fatal flaws. The flaws were there for anyone to see - anyone, that is, who was willing to look rather than just pray to the Lord and wait another two thousand years of exile until such time as the Lord sees fit to redeem Israel. The defects were many. The Jewish people were scattered, stateless, persecuted, passive, demoralised, assimilated, segregated, and sunk in an abnormal economic existence. They lacked a common language and were plagued by dark psychologies: by maso-chism, by love of suffering, and by rationalising some kind of a divine mission to explain their vulnerable existence and miserable way of life (10).

Zionism was going to change all that. To the scattered it offered an ingathering; to the stateless, a state; to the helpless, mastery; to the passive, activity. Put more blatantly, to the inferior Jews it promised a new generation of freedom that eventually culminated in the sabra superman. One way for a movement to be strong enough to 'change history' is to draw on primitive and most potent sources of psychic energy. In the case of Zionism, the major source of strength has been the age-old Jewish love for Zion. Throughout the ages this love has been so intense that it can be regarded as a timeless factor in Jewish history. Indeed, as has been pointed out by the noted Israeli historian Jacob Talmon, the quality of timelessness that characterises Jewish history is anchored in the traditional Jewish idea of redemption. Indeed, an orientation toward future redemption sets up a fixed goal that does not wither with the passage of time.

Transient events come and go and are subject to the effect of time. This is not the case with a highly cathected hope for the future or a heavily emotionally invested aspiration for a redemption that is yet to come. A redemption which serves as the historical culmination of generations of trials and tribulations and which gives meaning to them all is timeless. Similar thoughts were expressed by the Israeli journalist and writer Eliezer Livneh in his discussion of the implications of the Holocaust to the Israeli sense of destiny. He asserted that the Jewish notion of time fuses the past, present and future. This traditional notion includes the classical Talmudic concept of the remote future as including a horrendous dualism. When redemption takes place and the glory of the past is being re-stored, two major events will happen concurrently. One is the 'ingath-ering of the exiles' and the return to Zion; the other is hevlai mashiah, which means premessianic cataclysms (10).

2. The Psychology 'No Pain, No Gain' in Jewish Leadership Experience

Jewish leadership has consistently maintained that no birth, growth, death, or after death or rebirth can evolve without a bitter toll of 'pangs' (10). Any major initiation, whether in the past or the future, carries with it its pangs. From this view of time there is undoubtedly a fusion of time periods; each always has major pangs to bear for initiation and growth. Therefore, all times are alike. The final initiation flowing into redemption at the end of time is no exception: it also will involve pangs of redemption and messianic cataclysms. Redemption and the Messiah are the sweetest, most blissful, most wonderful, glorious, joyful, and absolutely most desired objects one could ever wish for. It would be unrealistic to expect an initiation into the utmost of everlasting joy without first going through untold pangs (10). As a matter of fact, for this kind of ultimate wish fulfilment the pangs to endure may well be the most cataclysmic of all.

Several interesting theoretical positions have been advanced about the origins of the quality of timelessness in Jewish history. Central to these positions is the question: how could the Jews for nearly two thousand years cry year after year on the ninth day of the month of Av as if they had lost their Temple in Jerusalem only yesterday? Gonen maintains that, apparently, it is this very timelessness of the history of the Jews that has prevented time from eroding them and dumping them into the wastebasket of history. Gonen adds that Sigmund Freud taught modern men that there is a potent realm of the human psyche that is indeed characterized by timelessness: the unconscious. Within this realm, logical order and rules of formal logic are non-existent. The compulsive chronology of clock time, the ordering of events along an endless series of befores and afters, is utterly disregarded.

In the unconscious, anything can be juxtaposed with anything else, and what determines these links is not logical order but rather appetite and the special logic of emotions. Most important here are the strength of a wish, the symbolic meaning of an image, and the amount of psychic energy cathected on the image. What counts in the unconscious is an emotional investment, not considerations of formal logic. By virtue of the activities of this psychic realm, emotions are reflected through wishes on to the hallucinatory images of the desired objects and considerations of time and place do not stand in the way of appetite. What is more, contradictory or mutually exclusive ideas can exist side by side, and since they do not negate one another, are able to coexist forever (10).

The timelessness of the unconscious manifests itself as a disregard for chronological or logical contradictions, a procedure which characterizes 'primary process' kinds of thinking. We all know how in our daily conscious life we frequently encounter the bitter truth that we cannot have our cake and eat it too. Not so in the unconscious; there are no negatives and no non-existence. One wish coupled with another contradictory wish adds up to a singularly stronger wish. The primitive mental images that occur in the unconscious are all positive and add to each other. Visual mental images of the desired object and the hallucinatory gratifications that accompany them exist, of course, for all sorts of 'cakes' (10).

Jewish history, culminating in Zionism, demonstrates how a cake baked across the ocean and two or even three thousand years ago can be enjoyed here and not there, now and not then; and, what is more, one can have it and eat it and have it, on and on, ad infinitum. Hallucinatory gratifications kept the wish alive and focused, gaining in strength until the Jews were able to opt for the real Zion instead of having to be content with the dream of Zion as their only form of wish fulfilment (10).

3. The Underlying Mystical and Spiritual Image of Zionism

Zion is a mystical and spiritual image, not a raw instinct. Nevertheless, the lofty ideals of Judaism had to be cathected or invested with raw emotional energy derived from the enormous storehouse of energies within the id in order to survive and become timeless. It is from this depth of raw emotional appetite, this blend of instinct and mysticism, that Zionism derived the chutzpah to claim Israel from the world's nations many generations after its loss. The Zionists did so as if reclaiming Israel were a simple, natural thing to accomplish and as if they were not facing overwhelming odds but were merely one step away (10).

Among the Jewish people, love of one and only one God, love of justice, love of the Bible, and love of fellow Jews reached beyond consciousness. These great symbols of advanced spirituality fused with primitive images from the unconscious, such as hunger for nourishment or love of warm contact, to produce an unparalleled emotional investment of a people in their cherished ideas. Raw impulses by themselves do not evoke conceptual admiration. On the other hand, spiritual ideals, while important, may be discarded. But a fusion of primitive images with great ideas can have a lasting effect. Because of this fusion, the Jewish people had an inexhaustible store of energy with which to support their dedication to imperative ideals (10).

To impatient young Zionists in any European country, it made little difference which Jews were not willing to pray for the restoration of the Jewish state and which Jews were willing to pray for it fervently for another two thousand years. There was something exasperating in this everlasting obedience to the Almighty. This readiness to pray forever seemed like dodging active efforts for self-mastery; the convenient attitude of putting the burden on the Lord appeared bankrupt. Thus the secular zealots or Zionist pioneers broke away from paternal authorities, both mundane and heavenly. Faith in the Almighty and obedience to his will were cast to the winds. The rabbis could use faith as proof of the feasibility of the redemption of Zion only when God willed it. The Zionists had their own actions to prove differently. They therefore brushed aside the religious commands to delay and pray. The implication of these brazen acts by Zionists was not lost on Orthodox Jews. They suspected that many Zionists intended not only to rescue Zion but also to send the Lord to kingdom come (10).

Because of the ungodly flavour of Zionism, Orthodox rabbinic Judaism managed with difficulty to coexist in an uneasy armistice with it. However, after the establishment of Israel, it seemed foolish in the eyes of the Orthodox parties to let the fate of the state be decided by the secular heretics. These parties therefore became active participants in the state's politics. Soon a political status quo developed which became subject to constant tugging and pulling, occasional explosions, and continuous strain. Chances are that if it were not for the need for unity in the face of Arab threats, as well as deep fears on the part of the secular leadership of the consequences of a final break between Jewish religion and Israeli nationality, a big explosion and final settling of accounts would have taken place by now.

Orthodox Israelis regard the Zionist achievement as a 'miracle' caused by the benevolent intervention of the Almighty Father in heaven. To them, the creation of the state of Israel is an irreversible execution of the divine will of the Lord. But the religious persons are painfully aware of the fact that most of the Zionist pioneers pushed God to the sidelines and took matters in their own hands. They know that the implication of all this for Judaism is bound to be far-reaching. It is not for naught that in a famous short story ('The Sermon') the novelist Hayim Hazaz (10) let the hero flatly state that Zionism and Judaism are not merely different but in all likelihood contradictory and that Zionism starts where Judaism collapsed, where the nation's strength gave way to exhaustion.

Quite understandably the religious Israelis intensified their battle over the future shape of the Israeli state. Since they remained loyal to their father in heaven it is their natural duty to try to rescue the state from its original rescuers; it is now their turn to save the land of Israel from secular moral degradation. One may therefore conclude that, as usual, the dialectic forces in Jewish history keep swinging. It is legitimate in such instances to look for the meeting ground of the opposing forces. In this particular case it is a fair assumption that both those who wish to obey the father and those who wish to depose and replace him want, in effect, to be like him.

Zionism was characterized not only by great expectations but also by a grave sense of foreboding and an eleventh-hour psychology. The survival of the Jewish people seemed to be at stake and Zionism was perceived as the last chance in the very last hour. Historical developments such as pogroms and expulsions contributed heavily to this deep feeling of an impending danger, but so did the underlying wishes to stand up like men. These wishes included more than conscious desires to be good Jewish nationalists; they also contained more primitive and repressed urges to replace the father and to taste forbidden fruits against his will. These urges carried with them a component of threat. Because of the prohibited explorations of the maternal territory, something terrible could happen. Just as in biblical times, the sons of Israel could once more be sacrificed as retaliation by the enraged father (10).

As history continued to unfold, something terrible indeed happened, the horror of the Nazi Holocaust. Historically speaking, the Third Zionade did not cause either the rise of German Nazism or the mass extermination of a full third of the entire Jewish population. Psychologically, however, a causal link might be formed between these two momentous and fatal events. Happenings of this magnitude, such as a Zionade or the destruction of the Temple, are expected to occur only once every few hundred years. That two such events took place together is bound to leave its mark on the unconscious heritage of the Jewish people; each is an unforgettable event which joins the body of the most influential Jewish lore and leaves an impact on countless future generations (10).

Timeless issues in the history of a culture are rooted in traumatising infantile experiences. These issues survive because of the eternal imbalance between wish and wish fulfilment that is a prerequisite of civilization. As Freud put it, 'It is indeed an outstanding peculiarity of the unconscious processes that they are indestructible'. It is intriguing to note that this has also been the image of the Jews - indestructible. The American historian Max Dimont (10) even named one of his books The Indestructible Jews. This Jewish image of timelessness or indestructibility played an unfortunate role in provoking antisemitism. Dumont's comments centred mostly on the 'civilization' aspects of the image of Jewish indestructibility and neglected somewhat the 'discontent' side of it. He saw the Jews as an eternal civilising force on humanity; many Jews did indeed play this role because of the extraordinary restraining strength of their superego.

But the restraining forces have been applied to everlasting, yet tabooed, infantile impulses. Both the primitive impulses and the restraining forces are largely unconscious. Thus the Jews were doubly 'indestructible' because they erected an unyielding superego to keep the lid on immortal infantile urges. This timeless play of forces and counter forces again takes place in the unconscious, that special realm of the human psyche where nothing is ever lost.

Timeless issues that occasionally break through also involve a question of timing. From time to time, taboo wishes manage to penetrate the barrier of repressive forces and secure for themselves partial fulfilment through personal or cultural expressions. In the life of individuals the wish fulfilment can take the form of a dream. In the life of a people, the fulfilment takes the form of cultural changes or new political developments. Various factors combine to determine the timing of the expression of timeless wishes. Three factors contribute most to this determination: the current strength of the repressing forces, the pressure exerted by the repressed impulses, and the presence of recent events, which produce associations and impressions that are related to the repressed wishes and therefore add force to them. Freud (10) suggested that this combination of determining factors operates very similarly in the lives of both individuals and nations.

Gonen cites a Jewish legend which maintains that in the sixteenth century, the Kabbalist Rabbi Judah Low ben Bezalel (10) of Prague created a Golem. The Golem was a humanoid made out of clay which could be animated by the insertion in his mouth of a slip of paper on which one of the secret Divine Names of God was inscribed. Before each Sabbath, Rabbi Low (10) removed the Name from the Golem's mouth and put it back in only after the Sabbath was over. Therefore, the animated Golem served his creator during the weekdays but rested, inanimate, during the Sabbath. Thus, Rabbi Low treated his creation as the Creator treated men. Unlike God, however, the rabbi was not omnipotent, and the Golem was alleged to possess superhuman strength and extraordinary powers that could be an ominous threat to his own creator.

This Jewish version of the Frankenstein's monster story yields an expected outcome. One Friday afternoon Rabbi Low forgot to remove the Divine Name from the Golem's mouth. As the Sabbath drew closer, the Golem became more and more agitated. When he threatened to destroy everything in his path, people were gripped with panic. No one had the kind of force which would match the Golem's and there was no stopping him from an insane rampage. Rabbi Low was summoned from the Altneuschul (Old-New Synagogue) and in the eleventh hour managed to extricate the Divine Name of God from the Golem's mouth. The Golem fell lifeless to the ground and the rabbi never again revived that mass of clay. The obvious moral of the story is that imperfect man should not tinker with powerful forces that he can summon but not control.

The theme of the Golem stirs the imagination. It led Abraham Rothberg (10) to write a fascinating fiction called The Sword of the Golem. In this book, the Golem is named Yossel and is taunted as 'dumb Yossel' by other Jews. Rothberg humanised this humanoid by giving him the power to speak and the ability to feel something akin to love as well as agitation over his sexual sterility. As the Golem in Rothberg's tale becomes more and more human it remains for Rabbi Low to assume the unpleasant task of reminding him that he is a special creature created for a particular purpose-to use his superior strength in defence of Jews against Gentile carnage.

The foregoing represents, in Jewish history, an interesting version of the 'beauty and the beast'. Once it was Samson's job to protect the Jews from the Philistines and he became an uncontrollable force for his fellow tribesmen. Now it was the Golem's job to protect Jews from anti-Semitic enemies. He was less able than the human Samson to distinguish between friend and foe. In the Jewish legend he was about to hurt Jews, and in Rothberg's fiction he actually did but repented before his death and fought to spare Jewish life while destroying known enemies of the Jews. His conduct suggests that the beastly Golem had a soft spot in his heart for the Judaic beauty. From the legendary events of the sixteenth century to actual events of this century, the world has witnessed Zionism rise and wane. Like a new Golem, the force that became of political Zionism offered similar protection to Jews. Zionism had an answer to anti-semitism and was going to rescue Jews from its claws. Once again help was offered in the eleventh hour – not from the Old-New Synagogue but from Theodor Herzl. His stirring up of a strong force, secular nationalism, had the capacity to get out of control. Again, it was that old tinkering with powers that imperfect man ought to leave to the Lord (10).

4. The Arrival of Political Zionism

In his characterization of the arrival of political Zionism, Gonen says that one can imagine the dread of many Orthodox Jews as they contemplated this modern rescue offer. They perhaps felt something like a trembling beauty in the grip of a King Kong, needing protection from their protector and loving abductor. They were convinced that powers that belong to God had been expropriated by men who were too impatient to wait for God to use them. They feared that sooner or later these immense powers would be turned against their users and perhaps against all the Sons of Israel. God can surely handle it when man, his creation, turns against him. But what are men to do when uncontrolled forces that they have unleashed result in an onslaught against them? Putting it somewhat differently, would beauty be spared by the beast and would traditional Judaism survive? A gut-level reaction to such fearful questions was probably 'Why take any chances?' It seemed safer for the trembling Judaic beauty not to fall into the clutches of the new Zionist beast to begin with. Judaism could probably survive without the Golem of Zionism, while the Lord could take care of antisemitism as he in his infinite wisdom deemed best' (10).

Gonen further says 'in Rothberg's fantasy, the similarity between the need for a Golem and the need for Zionism is manifest. For instance, Rabbi Low was compelled to engage in a public debate with Brother Thaddeus. It is indeed a historical fact that throughout the centuries many Jewish rabbis were forced to engage in public theological debates, in which it was prudent for the rabbi to lose while making a creditable stand. Winning would spell trouble from the dominant Christian majority, while losing overwhelmingly could be too demoralising for the Jews. In this particular fictional debate, Rabbi Low mentions that 'you offered us only three bleak choices: annihilation, expulsion, or conversion' (10).

These choices are familiar and were discussed by Hilberg (17) in his work on the Nazi Holocaust when he asserted that since the fourth century there have been three major anti-Jewish policies: conversion, expulsion, and annihilation. The implication is clear: Holocaustal threats have been with the Jews for a long time. Such dangers induced Rabbi Low to create the Golem, but this solution went awry (10). More recently these same threats prompted Jews to pin their hopes on Zionism. This new political power proved more forceful than the Golem, and unlike the Golem, rabbis did not control this modern force. What is more, in the age of 'never again a holocaust, Zionism must succeed and must not share the fate of the Golem' (10).

The question, as Gonen puts it, is what happens when people who are vulnerable to human error control immense power? Jews were sensitized to such threats because the release of enormous powers usually hurt them, whether it was occasioned by Gentiles or Jews. In the seventeenth century the Jews were traumatised physically by the Cossack hordes of Chmielnicki and emotionally by the aborted mass messianism of Sabbatai Zevi. But the dread of the release of uncontrolled powers is not merely a Jewish but a general human concern (10). It was fear of uncontrolled outbursts which prompted Jews to pin more of their hopes on Gentile leaders than on the Gentile masses, whom they distrusted most.

The distrust, however, was aimed at other Jews as well if the latter were to serve as the instrument for the breakout of gigantic forces. The religious messiahs were viewed with deep suspicion and so was the new breed of Zionist messiah, Herzl. Jewish history suggests that modern fears of being destroyed by mechanical forces and/or impersonal political forces were foreshadowed by the Jewish dread of messianism, including Zionism. Zionism must have looked like an impending second deluge, God's punishment of sinful man. It seemed that Zionism could destroy that which it wanted to protect. It was too political, secular, imitative of Gentile ways, and plainly too mundane. Thus, it was too sinful and too enchanted with power to be the right salvation for Jewry. Even if it succeeded in gaining the political clout it sought, the results could be too impersonal and mechanical for the people who above all else served the Lord. Somehow Zionism's victory could spell defeat and its messianic fulfilment could mean the end of the Jewish people (10).

Gonen maintains that the tension between Zionism and the Orthodox Jewish way is still very much alive. From an Orthodox vantage point, Zionism is to Judaism as the Golem is to man. The former should serve the latter and never rebel. And when its service is over, there will come time for it to die. Zionism will serve as the instrument of God, as King Cyrus once did. But Zionists are already behaving like Golems who disregard their creator when they clamour for separation of synagogue and state. They forget that Zionism came into being to serve Judaism, and that Judaism was not created in order to give birth to Zionism. If one loosely imagines this problem as a Jewish variation of the 'beauty and the beast' theme, then what this viewpoint implies is that Judaic beauty ought to survive the inevitable death of the Zionist beast. One cannot let beasts run around loose, just as one cannot afford to let huge forces rage out of control.

The computerised Golem, whether it stands for modern automation, impersonal political powers, or Jewish secular nationalism - must be deactivated.

It is because Zionism represented chiefly secular nationalism that it evoked such alarm in Orthodox quarters. Nationalism in itself, however, was well within the realm of the religious heritage. The one and only God of Israel set his eyes on the chosen people and gave them the Promised Land. This is nationalism par excellence under the auspices of the mighty Lord. Under the umbrella of religion, nationalism could continue to remain a controlled force: the divine laws of the God of Israel had to be obeyed at all times, but a national salvation was destined for the future when God finally wills it so. National cravings therefore received religious sanction, but were also held in check (10).

Independent, secular nationalism, however, was another matter. It was not sanctioned and it was not successfully checked; therefore it was an unholy and dangerous eruption. As seen through Orthodox eyes, the modern crisis of faith produced hordes of rationalists and even sceptics who rode high on the waves of ungodly nationalism. The unrestrained secular multitudes could stir up the tides of godless nationalism to such heights that they would force all tempestuous human emotions to run their full course. Lacking fear of the Almighty, the secular multitudes were bound to let human frailty triumph and self-destruction succeed. After all, even within the bounds of religion the monster of nationalism was able to cause eruptive destructions in the form of false messianism. Outside religious boundaries, the monster was completely free to devour foolish men. Thus, the tragic crisis of faith has already bred its first poisonous fruit - secular nationalism. A crisis of faith, however, is not altogether a new phenomenon in Jewish history (10).

5. Maimonides' and 'The Guide of the Perplexed'

In the second half of the twelfth century, Moses Maimonides (10) faced a contemporary crisis of faith which he dealt with by writing his book The Guide of the Perplexed. The similarities and differences between that crisis and the issues which perplex Zionism today are worth noting, and shed additional light on the difficult problem of the relationship of Judaism to Zionism. The 'perplexed' for whom Maimonides wrote his book were a small minority of people who had both Jewish religious education and philosophical as well as scientific knowledge. They had learned enough to become doubtful and dissatisfied with traditional religion, but were not yet secure in their new knowledge on two major counts. The first was how to integrate the sciences and philosophy into a view of the universe that was not fraught with uncertainties. The second was how to conduct themselves in relation to 'the multitudes' who remained within the bounds of naive faith.

Thus the Guide was written to be the bearer of great secrets to the perplexed few, and Maimonides took extensive precautions to ensure that the common people would not be exposed to the manuscript and would not be able to decipher it. Maimonides did not regard religion as the opiate of the masses, however. He saw in it an indispensable potent tool for the education of the multitudes within the limits of their comprehension and capability. It was therefore the rational duty of the philosopher to contribute his share to this process of social and intellectual public education. As for the crisis of faith that beset the philosophical few, it could be treated in secret. The enigmas and anxieties which accompanied philosophical education were not the problem of the masses and did not have to come into the open (10).

The essence of the Zionist revolution was the reclaiming of the Jewish right to live as a nation. The accent was not on religious reawakening, or on ethnic renaissance, but on national revival. That is why the notion of 'ingathering of the exiles' was so important for Zionism. After all, just 'religious' Jews can freely practise their religion in any democratic country outside Israel and are not compelled to regard aliya as a religious must. This fact is not palatable to Israeli Zionists and they sometimes try to refute it. Ben Gurion fought American Jews in vain over this issue. By and large, religion can be practised anywhere while nationality must be tied to a territory. The Zionist call for ingathering in the ancestral land was first and foremost a call to correct a national, not religious, abnormality (10).

Yet a clear-cut Israeli emphasis on the national meaning of Zionism could be counterproductive. Such an emphasis could be effective in Russia but is not likely to succeed in the United States. In societies that persecute them, Jews are likely to feel that they belong to a separate national entity. For instance, many Russian Jews feel that their true nationality is Israeli, for in Israel they would be accepted, rather than Russian, for in Russia they learn in both crude and subtle ways that they do not belong. Therefore, if Russia were to lift all restrictions on emigration, an Israeli national appeal to Russian Jewry would result in mass aliyah (10).

6. Zionism and American Jewry

Gonen argues that, as a rule, American Jews feel and think of themselves as American. Their feelings of uncertainty relate not to their being American nationals but to the nature of their being Jewish. When implored by their 'fellow nationals' to join them in Israel, the majority of American Jews reject the appeal. American Jews resent the chutzpah of Israelis who tell them how they ought to feel. They know what they feel and they are not under duress to change. They feel that they have special ties to Israel by virtue of religious and/or ethnic heritage. It is because of this feeling that Israeli emotional claims on American Jewry have to be based on a blend of religious, ethnic, and also national ingredients. Reliance on pure national appeal invites mass rejection. It could yield a small trickle of immigration but it would he tantamount to giving up on the dream of mass ingathering of the American exiles into Zion.

Hence, there is a strong intuitive reluctance in Israel to separate state from synagogue. Such an official separation would give American Jewry a final way out of the most central of all Zionist obligations - an aliyah to Israel. If it is an officially acknowledged fact that Jewish nationality and Jewish religion are two separate entities, then most American Jews are likely to forego aliyah not only in practice but even in theory. They will declare themselves as Americans of Jewish persuasion and ask Israelis to kindly keep nationality out of their communications. But if the Israeli appeal is based on the special circumstances of a hopeless entanglement of national religious and ethnic Jewish identity, then the appeal cannot be rejected out of hand.

The result is cognitive inconsistency concerning the relation between religion and state. One yardstick is applied to other countries while the opposite is applied to Israel. In every country except Israel, Jews ardently support the separation of state and church. Without such a separation, the adopted state religion is not likely to be a Jewish church, which could place the Jewish religion in a disadvantageous position. That is why in the name of freedom and democracy Jews insist on keeping state and church apart, except in Israel. There is no separation of synagogue and state in Israel, but there are plenty of apologies concerning the reasons why. Presumably, the special nature of Jewish nationality is that it is so inextricably interwoven with Jewish religion that separation of the two is either impossible or at least very destructive. The implication is that what is fair for other countries is not fair for Israel. But it is highly unlikely that the separation of state and synagogue would hinder Orthodox Jews from free practice of their religion. Nor is it likely that such a separation would dilute the national zeal of secular Israelis. Yet the opponents of separation advance the belief that unless the two are mixed, everything will fall apart. It is an illogical but nevertheless effective argument, because it touches on the dread of what could follow such a separation (10).

The threat of kulturkampf gives Israelis the shudders (10). It evokes historical associations of tragic bickering among rival Jewish factions which delivers them into the hands of their common non-Jewish enemies. These historical associations are not going to be dismissed lightly as long as a state of war exists between Israel and the surrounding Arab countries. They therefore strengthen the hand of those who want to avert a culture war at all costs. One reason for the mass capitulation of the secular majority to the demands of the religious minority is the reluctance to give up a good claim for aliyah. If diaspora Jews are given the opportunity to espouse Jewish religion but to disavow Jewish nationality, they may elect to stay where they are. An added reason for the capitulation is the desire to extend Israel's borders. The appetite for more territories can conveniently rest its claim on old religious promises. Of course, not all the ardent supporters of the Greater Israel Movement are deeply religious. However, since religion supports their aspiration, why should they grapple with religion exactly at this point in time?

This opportunism by secular Israelis used to incense Jews who complained that the name of the God of Israel is being cynically misused by non-believers. But corruption of personal integrity which results in exploitation of the divine name is not confined to secular Jews. It has now spread to the religious authorities who are willing to lend God's name to the political schemes of the Israeli hawks. The result of this growing process is a stultified rabbinate which is becoming less able to respond to the enormous challenge of adapting Judaic laws to the needs of modern reality. There is an historical irony about this 180-degree turn which the rabbis took. They now willingly place the Divine Name under the tongue of modern and militant Israeli nationalism and endow its aspirations with God's blessing. In return, they receive their fair share of power. Both sides render favours to each other. One side supplies, in the name of God, certificates while the other side provides governmental IOUs. Presumably these paper documents are palatable when placed under the tongue. Yet, in this corruption game who is a Rabbi and who is a Golem? (10)

That the task of Zionism was regarded as incomplete even after Israel came into being can be learned from the choice of a name for the new state. The name which stirred Jewish hearts all along was Eretz Yisrael, or the Land of Israel. It was an insult to Jews that during the days of the British Mandate the Hebrew inscription on coins was Palestinah while Eretz Yisrael was allowed to be inscribed only in parenthesis and in abbreviation. Yet in 1948 the term Eretz Yisrael did not become the name of the new country. Instead, the name 'the state of Israel' was adopted. Obviously the state of Israel was not nearly as big as the original Land of Israel. The choice of name thus clearly drew a distinction between the actual achievement and the larger hope for complete ingathering of all the Jewish exiles in the entire Land of Israel (10).

The cornerstone of Jewish religion (10) is belief in the personal guidance of the Lord of Hosts. The children of Israel believe that the Lord chose them to be his people. Thus, the notion of distinct peoplehood or even nationhood is imbedded in the Jewish religion. However, the worship of God comes first. The Jews are a distinct people only because they are God's chosen people. Therefore, if religious worship is abandoned, Jewish distinctiveness goes with it. Contemporary secular Jews no longer adhere to this Orthodox viewpoint. Yet the religious definition is the oldest of the three conceptions of identity and originally encompassed all of them. Centuries ago, having a unique religion also meant membership in a distinct cultural and political group. But after the appearance of Christianity and, later, Islam, the situation of the Jews became quite uncommon. Had there been many Jewish nations warring with each other as Christian nations did, there might have developed a sharper dividing line between various Jewish nationalities and between them and the Jewish religion. Had there been just one un-demolished Jewish state in one land plus many Jewish communities in other countries, the dividing line between religion and nationality could have been clearly drawn. But Jewish history did not unfold that way.

For a stateless and scattered people, it was religion which preserved Jewish existence as a separate collective. The national elements within the Jewish religion remained confined to a messianic mood and yearning for redemption which includes both religious salvation and national rectification. This confinement ended when the confinement of Jews within ghetto walls ended. The national elements within the Jewish religion finally acquired separate demarcation as a result of the modern crisis of faith as well as rising waves of nationalism. Since then, Jewish nationalism has become increasingly capable of battling Jewish religion for dominance. Thus, religion is not as powerful a force as it once was. But even though it is on the decline it remains a vigorous factor in Judaism. It not only has direct and conscious effects on its adherents but it also retains an influence on nonpracticing Jews (18).

This influence is exerted through the indirect and largely unconscious impact of potent symbols which sustain not only religion but also nationality. Their impact has sometimes been paradoxical. For instance, the secular Zionist rebels who in their youth espoused a tough anti-religious line now evidence regression to Orthodox Jewishness and to accommodation with the rabbinate. The expected conservatism of old age may have something to do with it, but there is more to it than that. Symbols that were originally rooted in religion were the driving power behind the secular Zionist revolt. Thus, religion shows admirable vigour though not refreshing vitality. For the time being it does not seem to offer creative solutions, but it by no means is about to expire. Its stamina should come as no surprise to those who accept the implication by Maimonides (10) that religion will always be needed by the multitudes to make socialization possible.


1. The Impact of Adversity on those Destined to Lead

This section draws attention to the comparative struggle experiences of Jews and indigenous South Africans. The development of the leadership that brought about the birth of political Zionism makes for interesting comparisons between the Jewish nationalist struggle and South Africa's freedom struggle. A study of the leadership that gave birth to Zionism, as a revolutionary solution to the restoration of the Jewish State is a study of the transformation of a one-time newspaper correspondent into the 'king' or 'messiah' of modern Israel. It is a study of Theodor Herzl. It is a study of how an accident of history seduces an otherwise obscure individual into becoming a king or queen of his or her people. The rise of Theodor Herzl into the father of political Zionism illustrates certain universal principles and processes involved in the development of effective leadership. These relate to personality-shaping events or experiences that were witnessed by or in which the would-be-leaders were directly subjected or involved.

Examples of these occurrences have been cited in the case of renowned leaders the world over. The biographies of many of our leaders are replete with revealing accounts about the leaders' formative years vis-à-vis the leaders' private and public persona and how these were shaped by social or emotional conditions within the home, relationships with one or both parents, early adulthood experiences and so forth. (We will return to this point under an appropriate heading.)

Throughout history, the lives and contributions of individual leaders rather than leadership collectives have always attracted a great deal of attention. Even where the leadership resided in a unified group, individual members of the group have tended to be singled out for analysis and comment. This should explain, in part, the source of the popular western myths of 'Lone Ranger' leaders who take on the rest to emerge as the saviour of their people. Equally erroneous are myths about the highly romanticised harmonious leadership collective – whose members shun position and status for the common good. The Jewish experience reveals that both forms of leadership are not mutually exclusive. In other words, strong individual leaders are men and women who have mastered the art of sharing ownership of new ideas with those around them. These strong individual leaders know when and how to let the ownership of new ideas pass on to other leaders around them.

In the case of Herzl, we are also dealing with one whose life story is the story of the struggles of one of history's oldest peoples. In essence, the circumstances that elevated Herzl into a messianic position cannot be divorced from the long suffering that Jews have endured over two thousand years. Herein lies the rub: how a single individual is propelled by factors beyond his control to embark on a personal journey that adds a not insignificant kink in the counters of the history of his people. Given the complex nature of the issues involved in the development and roll-out of leadership, we have opted for Gonen's psychohistorical approach. His approach allows readers who are not well-versed in the ins and outs of the Jewish group a closer and more intimate view into some of the delicate materials that go into the building of effective leaders. To understand the character make-up of colossal leaders, we have to go beyond the public persona. We have to cast aside the colourful turn of phrase or heaps of verbal make-up that leadership spin-doctors pile on otherwise flawed human beings on whom history chose to bestow the responsibility or curse of the nation, ethnic group or organization. It is important that we understand how the leaders lived their lives prior to ascending to their thrones.

The psychohistorical approach also allows us to trace or monitor the characters of the leaders as they evolved over the years or decades that they took charge of the destiny and welfare of the nation, group or organization. The approach cuts across some of the rigid leadership models and approaches (trait, behaviourist, personality, contingency, charismatic or transformational). While leadership theories and models have helped us understand certain aspects about leadership, they do not provide us with an integrated appreciation of what lies beyond the concept i.e. the character, motivations and behaviour of the leader. Warren Bennis (28) discovered that character is a continuously evolving thing. The process of becoming a leader is much the same as becoming an integrated human being. Like judgement, character is most difficult to identify, measure or develop. Although we know how character and judgement are formed, we certainly don't know how to teach them. For this reason, we require an approach that takes advantage of the methodological advantages and strengths that are inherent in both theoretical and empirical leadership models.

What follows is a summary review of factors and conditions which appear to have played a crucial role in influencing Theodor Herzl's leadership approach and style. Wherever possible, the analysis has attempted to draw comparisons between Herzl's leadership style and that of contemporary South African leadership – notably Nelson Mandela. A more comprehensive review of Nelson Mandela is covered under a separate volume dealing with the African Leadership Experience.

2. Rampant Anti-Semitism as the Trigger to Herzl's leadership

The history of leadership is punctuated by examples of great men and women who were, unintentionally, nudged into leadership positions. The repressive conditions in which South African Indians found themselves galvanised the young lawyer, Mahatma Mohandas Ghandi (28), to take the cudgels against the scourge of racism and white domination. Nelson Mandela's entry into political leadership is almost identical to that of his leadership peers e.g. Theodor Herzl and Mohandas Ghandi. With characteristic humility, Mandela (19) says he 'cannot pinpoint a moment when I became politicized, when I knew that I would spend my life in the liberation struggle…I had no epiphany, no singular revelation, no moment of truth, but a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand indignities, a thousand unremembered moments, produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people. There was no particular day on which I said, from henceforth I will devote myself to the liberation of my people; instead, I simply found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise'.

The manner of Herzl's stumble into the hallowed corridors of leadership immortality is characteristic, as the cliché goes, of stellar occurrences that manifest themselves in cycles measured in thousands and millions of earthly years. Present-day South Africans are repeatedly reminded to count the blessing of having been graced by Nelson Mandela's leadership, since such a phenomenon is supposed to repeat itself once every thousand years or so. The wisdom-keepers of our society encourage us to appreciate rather than seek to uncover the secret of how to shorten the stellar orbit of highly effective leaders. Given the complex problems of humanity, our impatience with the infrequent occurrence of truly great leaders is understandable. Besides the national prestige they cover us with, such minds would present us with durable solutions to problems that have spawned themselves across generations, cultures or continents. Were Nelson Mandela to share with us the secret or 'x-factor' of his leadership effectiveness and impact, Africa's quest for super-power status and wealth would be a mere switch away.

Herzl's leadership was inadvertently precipitated by his first-hand experience with European antisemitism. Although it was not his first encounter, for Herzl it was the most impressive as it was to many Jews. For Herzl it was not only a question of an injustice done to one particular Jewish individual named Alfred Dreyfus, but it was also a question of the magnitude of the conspiracy against him and the wide popularity of anti-Jewish sentiments in the various social strata of liberal French society of the mid-1800s. The sight of wild mobs chanting anti-Semitic slogans evoked in him a dramatic return from assimilation to national Judaism. Herzl was never the same man after that, and for the rest of his life he was obsessed with compulsive work toward the one goal, namely the national renaissance of his people, that consumed all his energies and, eventually, his life at the age of forty-four. All this finally convinced Herzl that antisemitism would never go away, and that the only solution to the problem would have to be a radical and political one. Herzl's concern suddenly placed him on common ground with the Jews of the shtetl.

Herzl began to write his momentous book shortly after being shaken to the marrow by the Dreyfus Affair. The book made such a huge impact on Jews everywhere and brought so much fame to the author that it catapulted Herzl to the top of the Jewish leadership and, finally, immortalised him into the dual role of the father of both Zionism and the idea of the Jewish state. A year after the publication of his book, Herzl had become so popular and famous that he opened a highly successful First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland. Almost overnight, the Jewish people had their king before they had their country. Within his short life, Herzl had managed to earn an immortal place in the annals of perhaps the most peculiar people in the history of man (10).

3. Capacity to Create Simple, Practical Solutions

The phenomenon of Herzl's leadership testifies to one of the most important principles of effective leadership: good leaders have the capacity to initiate a single but highly practicable idea or solution to even the most stubborn problem ever experienced by the group. The beauty of the single practicable idea lies in its simplicity, clarity and timelessness. Put differently, good ideas or solutions have the knack of appearing so simple and so familiar that the followers wonder why such a simple idea had eluded them for so long. At times, the simplicity or clarity of the idea is such that followers find it hard to believe enough in it so they could commit themselves to uphold it. At times, it is as if people expect solutions to intractable problems to be totally new and sufficiently complex to elude the minds of ordinary men and women in society. Consequently, single yet practicable solutions often contain seeds of rejection – people are just not in the mood to accept something so simple that, as an indigenous expression goes, had it been a snake, it would have bitten them effortlessly. To finish off the snake simile, followers prefer solutions to big snake problems to match the lethal poison of the beast.

To those who care to listen, Nelson Mandela has not ceased to enlighten us with his gems of wisdom, intellect and wit about ways of handling humanity's many-headed problems. Like like-minded leaders before him, Mandela does not fail to remind us that his ideas are not his alone. Nor that they are not entirely new. Troubled communities the world over have heard but not understood Nelson Mandela's recipe for addressing man-made problems. At the height of European antisemitism, leaders of many Jewish communities turned a half-cocked ear to Herzl's idea for the restoration of the Jewish state. Many considered Herzl a new kid on the leadership block. And as such, they did not – initially – believe his idea was worth the paper it was written on.

In a foreword statement to Herzl's book (18), Israel Cohen cited an incident where one of Herzl's oldest friends advised him against publishing the manuscript. Doubtful of Herzl's sanity, the friend advised him to consult the psychiatrist, Dr. M. Nordau. We are not privy to Nelson Mandela's handlers but it is fair to surmise that our super-power leadership must be wishing someone would give Mandela similar counsel. To close the Herzl referral to a psychiatrist, after reading Herzl's manuscript, Dr. Nordau not only vindicated the about-to-be-anointed king of the Jews but he declared himself prepared to help him publish the book. The jury remains out whether world leaders will follow Nordau's example and pay serious attention to Nelson Mandela's solutions for world problems. The truth is that there is a shortage of humility in today's world leaders that would allow them to heed the ranting of the one-time prisoner turned president.

Herzl considered the main idea of the restoration of the Jewish state as an 'ancient one'. He was not aware of the fact that the grandfathers of Zionism had expounded his ideas, but nevertheless he knew that they were not new. Cohen points out that political Zionism owed much to the fact that its founder was ignorant of his predecessors. Perhaps Herzl's ignorance of previous struggles and failures contributed to a sense of optimism and dedication which was needed for the success of the Zionist movement. Cohen goes on to say that unlike the solution championed by a contemporary of Herzl - Dr. Leo Pinsker, Herzl had worked out in elaborate detail a plan for the settlement of the Jews in a country of their own.

One of the attributes that separated Herzl from his contemporaries was that he possessed the requisite programmatic capacity to produce elaborate structural detail to his idea of the restoration of the Jewish state. The success of the congress was a product referred to as the Basel Programme. This called for the creation of a home in Palestine for the Jewish people by means of Jewish settlement in Palestine; establishing a federation of all Jewry to help toward this goal; strengthening national sentiments among the Jews; and working with world governments to secure their consent to this programme. Hence, the Zionist movement was launched by its father who, in his diary entry, boasted with pride and prophetic vision of having founded the Jewish state. A chink in Herzl's leadership armour was that he, like Pinsker, failed to commit himself to a particular territory (10).

It is interesting to note that Herzl's old yet new idea of the Jewish state spread like wildfire among the Jews with the result that the success of the Basel congress merely served as confirmation of the arrival of a new king of the Jews.

What contributed to Herzl's success, where his predecessors had failed, were his practical efforts to establish executive structures including the Society of Jews (his initial term for the Zionist Organization), and the Jewish Company to oversee the implementation of Zionist ideas. Detailed arguments and motivational points were included to cover, inter alia, angles detractors could use to shoot down the restorative idea. The Jewish delegates to the Basel congress referred to above became the parliament of the Jewish people even before the Jews had their country (10).

The majestic Herzl, with his impressive, bearded countenance, was most compulsive in executing the ceremonial formalities of the ongoing assembly, down to the last detail, with the most delicate nuances. His previous experience as a reporter and observer of political discussions in national assemblies now came in handy. What is more, with an intuitive genius, Herzl perceived that questions of form were at least as important as those of content. This compulsive execution in a majestic fashion of the ceremonial and formal aspects of the gatherings is what gave the First Zionist Congress a state-like aura, and sharply differentiated it from other community gatherings which the Jews had had many times in their history (10).

4. Capacity for Charter Psychology and Kingship

One of the strengths observable among founders of revolutionary causes or campaigns lies in the leaders' capacity to mobilise followers around a specific mandate for action. To this end, Herzl initiated a brand of Zionism that later came to be known as Political Zionism, which was characterized by what can be termed a 'charter psychology'. This constituted the belief that negotiation with the major powers of the world, such as the British Government, the Kaiser of Germany, or the Sultan of Turkey, could result in one or more powers initiating a charter to allot a territory for the colonization of the Jews. This territory would hopefully be in Palestine but might be in some other place. One of the features of political Zionism was that its leadership relied on its capacity to influence changes among world leaders rather than working through Jewish grassroots structures.

Political Zionism, i.e. high level negotiations with world powers, was needed not only because of the weakness of the Jewish settlement in Palestine, but also because it was a psychological necessity. Herzl said to Jews everywhere that if they willed it, it would not be a dream; but to keep the will going it was necessary to provide the Jewish people with at least a foretaste of the realization of the magnificent dream. The sight of a 'Jewish king' dealing with the mightiest of world leaders, when the nation he was supposedly representing existed merely in the form of an IOU allegedly given to him by the Jewish people, was incentive enough to create a strong drive in the people to honour and fulfil that IOU. Herzl was operating on credit. He showed that he was aware of it when he wrote in his diary that the essence of the Jewish state lay in 'the will of the people for a State'. Yet his entire Zionist scheme might have ended in another bubble burst, and Herzl might have turned out just another impractical Jewish dreamer. That Herzl's dream did not end that way was partly due to the fact that Political Zionism presented to the Jewish people not another old type of pleader or interceder, but a king (10).

Herzl's major impact on the Jewish people was his ability to become a 'king' - a prominent symbol of their dormant aspirations for nationality. As they learned of Herzl, the nations of the world and the Gentile political leaders may not have been overly impressed by his bargaining and lobbying style; for them there was nothing new in this phenomenon. For the Jews, on the other hand, it was new, exciting, and revolutionary. So great was Herzl's impact on the Jewish people that his legend grew and his reputation sometimes preceded him. In his diary, Herzl indicated that the topic of messianism entered their discussion, the king (Herzl) wondering whether messianic hopes were still alive among the Jews. Herzl explained to the king that the Zionist movement had a purely national character and added, to the king's amusement, that he deliberately avoided using a white horse or ass during his visit to Palestine so that nobody would embarrass him by confusing him with the Messiah (10).

Gonen cites A. Bein, a Zionist scholar, who suggested that it was the Jewish people who transmuted Herzl into a king and Messiah, and that the picture they drew of him lay beyond the truth since it represented the longing of the masses. Indeed, in a pamphlet entitled 'Theodor Herzl,' the British Zionist Paul Goodman (10) described him as a king in the making who stood taller than his people, much as King Saul once did. Similarly, in his introduction to Herzl's diary notes on the First Zionist Congress, M. Lowenthal quoted Herzl's British associate, I. Zangwill, who wrote that he was very impressed with Herzl's majestic oriental figure, which reminded him of Assyrian kings. It is interesting to note that when he finally stood up, Herzl did not appear as tall as Zangwill had expected him to be. We can see here the effect of symbolism, which makes a legend grow taller than the actual man.

Gonen speculates that Zangwill felt that it was time for a new breed of fighting Jews to 'do unto others' for a change. He was also probably overwhelmed by a certain quality of 'immediacy' in the Jewish past which was consistently impinging on the present. Whatever it was, there was something in Herzl's appearance and conduct which stirred up very deep and very strong feelings among Jews.

5. Abundance of Chutzpah

Conventional wisdom associates all shrewd, capable Jews with this rather popular 'chutzpah'. The word is Jewish but the concept is universally applicable to individuals who possess the extra-inner character to make things happen. Different ethnic groups have their own terminology for expressing leadership attributes the Jews refer to as chutzpah. In view of what we already know about Herzl's leadership characteristics and achievements, to a large degree his impact was due to a quality of chutzpah or unmitigated gall. But more importantly, Herzl possessed that unmistakable attribute that effective leaders rely on to entrance their followers. Those of us who have had the luck to meet Nelson Mandela in the flesh have been almost literally stunned by a sense of instant and deep personal bonding with this giant of our times. None of us have had the words to characterize the true feelings we felt during the brief encounter with the man.

Chutzpah became an integral part of Zionism and was subsequently elevated almost to an art form by native-born Israelis, or sabras. It took a measure of boldness and a daring mentality for Herzl to negotiate spontaneously with world leaders. He regarded his dream as an imminent reality, not because he was an unrealistic schlemiel but rather because of the pressing need he felt to realize a dream. So compelling was this need that he and his fellow Jews had no choice but to make it a reality. In such a reckoning, 'no choice' is as good as reality, and is not a 'perhaps' or 'maybe' but an inescapable 'must'. Here we see the early Zionist roots of the famous Israeli 'no-choice' psychology, which is saturated with a sense of historical inevitability and in turn begets chutzpah i.e. bold actions which seem so much against the odds that they impress people with their sheer impertinence. As for Herzl, his treating of his dream as reality and his stylish negotiations with world leaders constituted a primary example of chutzpah (10).

In the opinion of Gonen and several other Jewish scholars, Herzl's chutzpah, coupled with the dedication which comes with total ideological conviction, enhanced the impressive appearance of this nineteenth-century 'King of the Jews' and left a lasting impact on many people. For instance, in his introduction to Herzl's diaries, Lowenthal reported that in Dr. Martin Buber's memory Herzl had a countenance that was lit with the glance of the Messiah. Indeed, his facial countenance was imposing, especially his long black beard. Sela and Har-Gil even report that there was a joke in which a European Gentile leader met Nordau, Herzl's colleague, and expressed his fears that the whole of Zionism depended on the impressive black beard of Dr. Herzl. And, should he ever shave it off, Zionism would lose its strength. With characteristic chutzpah, Nordau answered: 'Perhaps so, but the next day the beard will start growing again'. The sceptic non-Jew voiced the opinion that Zionism covered up its weakness with much ceremonial ado. He also expressed the fear that the Jews might become strong like a modern Samson whose strength was tied to his hair (10).

Nordau's reply implied that the strength of Zionism is not a passing phenomenon and cannot be brushed aside as mere ceremonial manoeuvrings. Indeed, Herzl's impact on many Jews could truly be termed electrifying, in the sense of the sudden freeing and mobilization of hitherto bound energies. Indications were that even Sigmund Freud did not escape this impact, and was so impressed that he even seemed to have dreamt of Herzl's majestic appearance. There is no question that Herzl's credo as well as his style of delivering it evoked in his Jewish listeners in all walks of life the response of 'it rings a bell' (10).

6. Childhood Experiences and Visionary Dreams

Another common feature of effective leaders takes the form of incidents of visionary dreams or events that the would-be leaders experienced during their childhood or early adult life. Every leader traces his or her success or greatness to incidents or events that occurred early in his or her childhood. In his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela (19) recounts several personal incidents that appear, singularly or collectively, to have conspired to instil outstanding leadership features. Mandela allows readers of his autobiography glimpses into childhood incidents and accidents that helped shape his leadership demeanour. For instance, he ascribes his stubborn and rebellious nature to a father who, himself, was a past master of these traits.

Bein (10), a writer of Herzl's biography referred to a dream by the twelve-year-old Herzl. In the dream, Herzl was visited by 'The King-Messiah' who took him on a flight to a cloud where Moses dwelt. The Messiah told Moses that it was for this child that he had prayed. To young Theodor the Messiah issued an order to go and declare to the Jews that the Messiah would come soon and perform great wonders for his people and for the whole world. This command was not unlike the one Moses himself once received from the Lord: 'Come now therefore and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth My people the children of Israel out of Egypt'.

Bein (10) states that the Jewish masses had transmuted Herzl into a king and a Messiah who was to lead them into the Land of Promise. Thus, the dream of the boy Theodor became true. Little wonder, then, that his motto 'If you will it, it is no dream' was as much a reality for him personally as it eventually became for his people. His dream was to do something on a grand scale. The plight of his people convinced him that something drastic needed to be done. Yet many other Jews who nevertheless did not aspire to become the King-Messiah shared this conviction. He, however, chose to lead the people in this fashion.

Another renowned Jewish writer, Loewenberg (10), attempted to provide answers to questions about the implications of Herzl's messianic dreams. The reasons consisted of a series of adverse emotional reactions stretching from childhood to adulthood. Throughout his life Herzl's tender, affectionate feelings remained closely attached to his mother and sister. As a result, the normal development of detachment from significant figures in childhood did not reach completion. While sensual feelings were detached from mother and sister, affectionate feelings were not sufficiently detached and continued to predominate in his life. In other words, in the course of Herzl's life a split developed between the tender current of feelings and the erotic current. If this assumption is correct, it is highly likely that the father of Zionism himself craved to possess the Jewish people and even mother Zion in an unconscious attempt to play 'father' or his mother's husband. Thus, the founder of Zionism could have shared the same unconscious drives which energized many a Zionist.

7. Unresolved Emotional Disharmony and Sexual Appetites

Followers of great leaders have always been captivated by dark emotions that underline one of leadership's unresolved paradoxes. Scandals involving the leader's unusual sexual appetites are the focal point of many gossip columns. The psychoanalyst, Loewenberg (10), referred to an additional outcome of Herzl's emotional split between the tender and erotic currents of feelings. This was the strengthening of homosexual tendencies. Since neither tender nor sexual women could satisfy all of his emotional needs while women who combined the two were either avoided or misperceived, other women had to be sought for gratification. Usually this means men, but in the case of a person who aspires to leadership the source of gratification becomes more diffuse. Since the desired gratification is adoration by the masses, the coveted source of blissful feelings is the people as a whole.

Gonen stated further that added to these emotional difficulties of Herzl the tribulations and sense of flaw which he endured at the age of twenty because of venereal disease and the anxiety which he suffered over a penile discharge, enhanced the need for megalomaniac fantasies as a compensation. For these reasons, Herzl was first a gambler before he switched to political gambling. Gambling could compensate and even rectify. The gambler who hits it big and lays his hands on the jackpot feels like a daring risk-taker who could have gotten killed but who instead got away with 'murder' and grabbed the big prize. In such glorious moments he rides on top of the world (or, one could say, on top of mother). As Loewenberg (10) asserted after Freud, winning could stand for orgasm and killing the father while losing could mean castration or being killed. It's a 'do or die' psychology, which is why the compulsion to gamble usually includes the compulsion to gamble with big stakes, perhaps bigger than a person can afford. The stakes were truly high for Herzl.

He was compelled to step into the world's political arena, there to become a second Moses or a most notorious Rop. This analysis of the reasons why he chose to lead places Herzl in the same corner where many Zionist rebels were caught, with a repressed yet surging urge to settle scores with actual fathers and with a father image. The urge could remain alive yet dormant were it not for antisemitism. The external reality that called on Jews to resist oppressors could provide Herzl with acceptable channels for expression of the internal and unconscious urges to overcome a paternal despot (10).

Therefore these rich psychoanalytic speculations about the 'reasons why' become plausible. The Herzl depicted by Loewenberg (10) probably suffered from a split between his tender and sensual emotions. In all likelihood he needed grandiose actions in order to compensate for his feelings of inferiority and in order to symbolically act out his oedipal urges. When, as happened frequently, grand actions failed to materialize and his action was blocked, he compensated in fantasy. Sometimes he was able, with a few strokes of a pen, to switch from defeat in reality to victory and even a manic grandeur in fantasy.

8. Charisma and Capacity to Love and Die for Own Ideas

Students of leadership caution us against our futile quest to separate leaders from the love of their own ideas – the price for which they are even prepared to pay with their lives. This much is evident in Nelson Mandela's famous final words uttered at the end of the Rivonia treason trial. Speaking from memory Mandela said: 'during my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die' (19).

Many political leaders of our time have, time and again, endured waves of public ridicule and censure while they obstinately clung on to their ideas in which they have invested immense emotional commitment. Thabo Mbeki's (42) defence of his ideas on the HIV-Aids scourge has become a legend bordering on extreme naiveté. For a leader who is reputed to have one of the finest and most disciplined intellects among contemporary world leaders, Mbeki's stubborn adherence to unscientific notions about a disease that is decimating his countrymen in millions is, in the mind of the general public, both insensitive and naive. Those close to him testify to his inexhaustible capacity to win over die-hard opponents and critics with the logic of his deep intellect.

As we saw earlier, Herzl paid for his own ideas with his life: he died at an early age. The reasons why Herzl needed to become a great man do not explain, however, how he succeeded in becoming a charismatic leader. Here, two major ideas of Loewenberg (10) merit attention. They deal with what happened to Herzl as he strove for leadership and with the manner in which he went about achieving it. The first is that his object relations centred primarily on ideas rather than on persons. A more 'normal' individual, who loves other persons and who likes people in general, could not withstand ridicule or contempt as well. But a person like Herzl, who loves his ideas most, can tolerate large amounts of abuse and scorn without abandoning his cause. In the eyes of such a person, the frequent tribulations that he endures reaffirm the fallibility of other people rather than of his ultimate orientation. He who loves his ideas and his cause is often comforted by them the way an obedient, devoted child is comforted by his parents (10).

For Herzl, ideas became as real as, and more loved than people. In a way, ideas can be more reliable than people and investments in ideas are bound to yield handsome returns. This happened with Herzl. His love for the Zionist idea reinforced his personal need to be a saviour and thus rebounded to become love of himself. There is no mystery in this. After all, did he not deserve to be loved for becoming the grand rescuer of his people? Thus, love of Zionism (the Zionism that made him a Messiah) and love of self were mutually reinforcing. That is why he was able to invest so much energy in the cause to the point of being driven to his deathbed. That is why he could put such faith in the strength of the will and could clearly envision the Jewish state as already embedded in the will of the people. That is also why he could display such tenacity and persistence in the face of overwhelming odds, to the point of seeming at times naive (10).

What happened to Herzl is what also happened a long time ago to the biblical prophets. In them, too, libidinal investments in external objects were withdrawn in favour of inner feelings and ideas. Using psychoanalytic terms, the American psychoanalyst Jacob Arlow described what happened to the prophets as a regression from love to incorporation, from object relation to identification, from object libido to narcissism. This is like saying that the prophets' love of their great ideas was at bottom love of self. It could only be accomplished by falling back on primitive self-centeredness. Undoubtedly this is a regressive mode of living which can bring with it both greatness and trouble. It brought both to the Jewish prophets but it undeniably served them well. It was therefore an important observation of Loewenberg's that Herzl too trod in this path of narcissistic regression (10).

Gonen maintains that there is another outcome to a leader's overwhelming identification with certain ideals. Freud once indicated that leading ideas can substitute themselves for leaders while leaders may take the functions of guiding ideas or of the ego-ideal or 'superego'. This is possible because, as Freud emphasized, the ego-ideal has a social side in addition to an individual side. The ego-ideal is common to members of a family, a class, or a nation. As the substitution takes place, it results in a fusion between ideas, erected as ideals during the formation of conscience, and contemporary leaders. Just as these ideas once received an embodiment through the parents, they are now embodied by the leaders who become bigger than life. The leaders now stand for more than their individual selves and are able to command the people, who under their leadership become united like brothers and sisters. This is so because the people adhere to a common set of ideals which receive a common embodiment in the person of the leader (10).

The legendary Herzl was obviously such a leader. He became the ego-ideal of the Jewish people. Yet the people shared their ideals all along and not every leader could take the place of the great ideas or vice versa. The people must have sensed something in Herzl which let them complete the process. What they could hardly help sensing was the obsessive and unyielding dedication to the idea of the Jewish state. With body and soul Herzl believed in the feasibility of the idea. It must have come across so loud and clear that for a time messianism and the Messiah became one. The 'King of the Jews' in the person of Herzl became a classical example of leading ideas and a leading person being interchangeable because both fulfilled the same role - that of the ego-ideal (10).

9. Capacity to Create and Manage Leadership "Drama" and "Theatre"

In society's eye, great leaders and the management of drama have become inseparable. Shakespearean royalty thrived on 'the king-becoming graces'. In his highly critical appraisal of post-colonial African leadership, Ali Mazrui appears to have missed the origin or purpose of drama in leadership. Contemporary African leadership was, according to Mazrui, phoney as it assumed monarchical tendencies. He chastised them for their love of aristocratic effect, personalization of authority, sacred authority as well as the quest for a royal historical identity. The first post-colonial Ghanaian leader, Kwame Nkrumah (37), mastered the art of projecting aristocratic effect. He was both a Lenin and a Czar (10). His secular radicalism had an important royalist theme from the start. Like other African leaders of his time, Nkrumah craved aristocratic effect. Frequently, this behaviour took the form of social ostentation i.e. a partiality for splendid attire, large expensive cars, for palatial accommodation, and other forms of conspicuous consumption.

The second point made by Loewenberg (10) concerning how Herzl achieved leadership is that he was able to bring the theatre into politics, to make politics a drama. We have already mentioned how important ceremonial features were for Herzl. If a Jewish congress were made to look like a parliament of an independent nation, then it could become one. A well-staged drama can start on a make-believe basis but in the process evolve into the real thing. If the audience lives through it and experiences genuine emotions, then it leaves an affective and cognitive impact which lasts beyond the drama. Herzl not only sensed this; he even had the necessary talent for satisfying it.

As a narcissistic person, he frequently served as his own audience, and his private appreciation for his own performance probably sustained him like mother's milk. Becoming caught up in his own play, he realized that what was true for himself was also true for others. If a drama is played convincingly enough to give people a taste of the real thing, they may no longer be content without it. He also realized that in order for drama to motivate a whole people it must use a language whose meaning is shared by the people and whose impact on them is peculiarly powerful. In other words, an actor on a national stage must be aware of the potent effects of symbols and be ready to use them (10).

Herzl was acutely aware of the power of symbolism and the special role that leaders play in relation to it. To illustrate the point, Joseph Adler quoted a famous passage from Herzl's letter to Baron de Hirsch (10): 'And then you would have asked in mockery, 'A flag, what is that? A stick with a cloth rag?' No, a flag, sir, is more than that. With a flag you can lead men where you will - even into the Promised Land. Men live and die for a flag; it is indeed the only thing for which they are willing to die in masses, provided one educates them to it'. All in all, there seems to have been a burning desire in Herzl to become a kingly educator of the masses, and he had the insight to act in a dramatic and symbolic fashion.

10. Capacity for Custodianship of the National Interest

One of the paradoxes effective leaders have to manage revolves around the leader's ability to know when to defer to the will of the majority, to yield to diverse viewpoints from the floor, or to take personal charge with the full knowledge that taking personal charge often provokes howls of 'autocracy' or 'lack of accountability'. In our time, we have become familiar with Nelson Mandela's oft-stated public pronouncements about his being a servant of the party and the Rainbow nation. Yet, those who have crossed his intellectual line have not escaped the wrath of a fat finger of admonishment or censure. For instance, his public lambasting of his one-time jailer and Nobel twin, F. W. de Klerk, was perceived by Mandela's admirers as impetuous. But for one who emerged from almost thirty years of imprisonment without malice, Mandela's moment of impetuosity was quickly forgiven because he now possesses the freedom key to towns, cities and villages the world over.

Gonen says 'we know something about the underlying motives that pushed Herzl to greatness and the manner in which he tried to evolve his charismatic leadership. Yet we can learn more about Herzl and about the Zionist movement if we focus our attention on his own formulation of the nature of his leadership' (10).

Herzl's conception of leadership was anchored in the Roman legal concept of the negotiorum gestio. Roman law asserted that if a person was for some reason unable to negotiate his affairs and thus protect his property, an agent or gestor would direct his affairs until such time as he was able to conduct his affairs. Thus, for a while the gestor enjoys joint ownership with the people although the consent of the numerous joint owners is at best a matter of conjecture. This point troubled Herzl. Democratic representation was dear to his heart in spite of his personal authoritarian style. Indeed, there was an issue of representation. The Jewish people were like a principal who needed an agent to direct their affairs (10). As Herzl put it, they were 'prevented by the diaspora from conducting their political affairs themselves'. They were in a pre-state condition. In this representation is usually a sticky legal issue in the affairs of peoples. Herzl could not accept Rousseau's (19) notion of a social contract as the legal or logical basis for representation.

Prior to the framing of a constitution and to the forming of state institutions, there cannot be much of a contract when one party to the contract - the people - is in disarray. The more likely logical and legal alternative is for the spontaneous leadership of a gestor to occur. His intention is to work for the good of the people and he is ultimately answerable to them. Yet the people's consent is only conjectured, and that included the consent of the dispersed Jewish people. Safeguards are therefore needed to insure that the gestor will serve the people's interests, not his own. In pre-state conditions such safeguards are as close to securing a consent as can be and are also as legal as can be in view of the prevailing conditions of lack of unity and the absence of a constitution. In emotional language, Herzl declared the necessity for safeguards in his book The Jewish State: 'This gestor cannot, of course, be a single individual. Such a one would either make himself ridiculous, or - seeing that he would appear to be working for his own interests - contemptible. The gestor of the Jews must therefore be a body corporate' (10).

Gonen points out that members of the Inner Actions Committee were frequently enraged at Herzl's autocratic conduct and single-handed decisions as well as negotiations with world leaders. And we also know that he wrote in his diary (June 7, 1895) that: 'In the State there is only a negotiorum gestio. Thus, I conduct the affairs of the Jews without their mandate, but I become responsible to them for what I do'. His language is clear. It says, 'I conduct,' not 'we conduct'. In light of this clear language, the above quotation from The Jewish State betrays a suspicious emotional adamancy. Herzl's intense expression probably stemmed from underlying attitudes that were truly characteristic of him. His inner feelings could be restated as follows: the gestor is most likely to be a single sturdy individual who does not fear ridicule and whose motives are above reproach, whose life is dedicated to serving the interests of the Jewish people, and whose only self-interest or reward is the satisfaction inherent in conducting their affairs. With this frame of reference, one could genuinely aspire to be not only the greatest but also democratic (10).

In discussing Herzl's views on leadership, Adler (10) concluded that the central feature of these views is the core conviction that the burden of history rests on the shoulders of an elite group of leaders. What distinguishes these few leaders is their ability to express the inarticulate aspirations of the masses and to show the way to the realization of these yearnings. Deep in his heart Herzl probably believed in the primacy of one leader, king or messiah. That one leader was himself by virtue of the symbolism and legend which he wore as a mantle and which made him bigger than life. However, whether the gestor is first and foremost Herzl himself, as comes across in his diaries, or whether it is 'the Society of Jews,' as he suggested in The Jewish State, the fact still remains that his concept of leadership was elitist. It included some form of substitution of the people by the leader or leaders who stand in their place (10).

As Adler (10) pointed out, Herzl gave his conviction an original expression by turning a legal concept (negotiorum gestio) into a political concept. Nevertheless, the conviction that a minority could exercise the right to act as a trustee for the majority of people was embedded in the tradition of European revolutionary movements of the last three centuries. It is therefore interesting to compare Herzl's concepts with similar notions with which Russian Communists struggled in the beginning of the last century.

The historian Isaac Deutscher (10) has observed that as the Russian exiles headed by Lenin contemplated revolution they espoused a doctrine which Leon Trotsky termed 'substitution'. He referred to the conception of the party's acting as a locum tenens for the proletariat, that is, temporarily holding the place of the proletariat. To Trotsky's mind, the process of substitution was dangerous. First the party would substitute itself for the proletariat, then the party organization would substitute itself for the party, and eventually not only would the central committee substitute itself for the party organization, but a single dictator would substitute himself for the central committee. In view of Trotsky's subsequent tragic fate, Deutscher concludes that Trotsky should have heeded the warning of his own prophetic utterance.

Call the state of disarray of a people social catastrophe or diaspora; justify the need for a nondemocratic representative as force majeure or as 'higher obligations authorize him to act' (in Herzl's language); call the new but temporary form of representation locum tenens or negotiorum gestio - whichever name one chooses, one still has to call it a particular form of revolution. An elite group takes it on itself to exercise some form of 'substitution' and to stand in place of a class or a nation which it has still to forge. Presumably, once this new creation is accomplished, 'substitution' will be dropped so that the newly united and organized people can represent themselves on their own. The 'substitution' is therefore meant to be only temporary. It usually, though, becomes permanent. Deutscher explained why in the French Revolution it was the army which finally substituted itself for the people and did not relinquish control. He also discussed why in the Bolshevik Revolution the well-organized party was able to hold its ground and to effect a lasting substitution. Nevertheless, an initial belief in the temporary nature of the usurpation is a genuine revolutionary phenomenon. But there is always the danger of a temporary, substitute representation becoming a permanent dictatorship (10).

Herzl realized this danger, as Trotsky initially did, and that is why he insisted in The Jewish State that the gestor should not be a single individual but the Society of Jews. True, Herzl had his personal megalomania of becoming the kingly representative of his scattered people, the grand necromancer who would single-handedly alter its fate. But his aspirations were tempered by the realization that his solo act on the international stage should be succeeded by a broader and more representative body. If his true successor were indeed to be the Society of Jews, then his solo act was bound to remain a unique marvel. Such an outcome must have looked appealing to a person of Herzl's ambition. Of even greater importance, such a succession would serve as a safeguard against usurpation by a string of single leaders (10).

Herzl's notion of a Zionist salvation did not include the mockery of the subjugated Jews trading Gentile dictators for Jewish ones. Thus, his concerns were in effect the classical concerns of leaders who stand in the midst of an early crest of a revolution. Yet in comparison to Trotsky's, his fears seem somewhat more dramatic as well as less realistic. The Jews were in effect subjugated by others rather than in any concrete danger of being ruled by a Jewish dictator. In accentuating the democratic safeguards of the Zionist revolution, Herzl seems to have reacted to a danger that emanated from inside, from his own grandiose aspiration to become an incomparable modern leader of the Jews (10).

Gonen states that in casting Zionism into a revolutionary movement, its founding father underwent the classical soul-searching that typifies leaders of revolutions in early stages. Further, Herzl developed an acute sensitivity to the danger of a single leader's turning a temporary trusteeship into a permanent dictatorship. As his gaze turned inward into idiosyncratic personal features, Herzl saw something of great importance - the dangerous temptations that face revolutionary leaders who temporarily stand in for their people.

7. The Post-Herzl Zionist Leadership

As Gonen points out, Herzl not only clearly and explicitly defended Zionism as an ideological alternative to emancipation; he demanded immediate political activities to obtain international recognition of the Jewish claim to Palestine and attacked any small-scale resettlement in Palestine until such recognition had been obtained. Still more challenging was the character of the Zionist organization which he subsequently established. The Hovevei-Zion before him had established Zionism as a popular movement, but the nature of their aims and activities made them dependent on the support, and responsive to the demands, of their western Jewish benefactors. The popular organization which Herzl established had one paramount aim and activity: to serve as the representative of the Jewish people and, in this capacity, to obtain political recognition for Jewish nationalism from the great powers and from the Turks. Thus, the World Zionist Organization at its very birth forced ideological issues. The subsequent history of Zionism, particularly in Eastern Europe, was accompanied by a succession of ideological divisions (10).

In Zionism, then, any one of the three major nationalist aims, land, language, or sovereignty, could be made the primary value and the most general end from which all the others were logically derived. Each of these aims, in turn, was valued because it was conceived as the logical means for dealing with the intolerable situation which lay at the roots of the Zionist myth and idea: the Jewish problem, as it became acute for a generation of modern times. Whether land, language, or sovereignty were the particular principle valued as the primary aim and as the logical end of all nationalist policy was a judgement that depended on how the Jewish problem was conceived by one or another type of Zionist, and which of these major nationalist aims seemed, accordingly, the most logical as a direct solution to the problem. The national aims of land and sovereignty, on the other hand, were primary principles around which Zionist partisans organized themselves.

Ben Halpern (20) contends that when Herzl formulated his own version of Zionism he drew major ideological conclusions from his analysis of the shortcomings of the earlier resettlement projects. He set up a programmatic tenet disavowing any settlement of Palestine by infiltration and contending that a charter for colonization must be secured before colonization should be undertaken at all. The Basel programme, adopted by the First Zionist Congress in 1897, laid down a compromise formula in which these differences of opinion, or of nuance, were elided or harmonized. The first sentence of that programme, generally used as a slogan to stand for the whole, declared the Zionist aim to be the establishment of a home state (heimstaette) for the Jewish people secured under public law in Palestine.

This formula, together with the additional proviso that all those Jews who could not or would not assimilate were to go to the Jewish homeland, was used by Herzl as his own short definition of Zionism. But the Basel programme, in addition to stating the aim, also formulated the means to be employed. These included preparatory steps toward securing the 'governmental acts of approval' needed to achieve the Zionist aim; the strengthening of Jewish national consciousness; the organization of all Jewry through local and general institutions consonant with the laws of each country; and the 'appropriate' resettlement of Palestine by Jewish farmers, artisans and entrepreneurs (20).

As Halpern noted, times changed, and with them evaluations. As the obstacles to practical colonization by Herzl's predecessors had engendered disappointment and only a new approach was able to arouse enthusiasm, so the frustration of Herzl's diplomacy led in turn to a mood of depression. This reached a traumatic climax in the Sixth and Seventh Zionist Congresses in 1903 and 1905. Failing to progress in his negotiations for a charter for Palestine and obsessed by the growing need for Jewish emigration, Herzl turned to East Africa as a 'Nachtasyl,' a temporary national home, until Palestine should become available. This proposal was bitterly opposed in the Sixth Congress, and its rejection by the Seventh Congress, after Herzl's death, split the organisations. Out of the despondency of that time, however, a new principle arose to engender enthusiasm: the principle, this time, of colonization regardless of legal or any other obstacles, until the desired political status should become practicable as a crowning achievement of Zionism (20).

Following Herzl's death, the opponents established what became known as Practical Zionism, which undertook a programme of specific experiments and projects of actual colonization, under whatever legal conditions they could obtain at that time. But the critical success of Practical Zionism was, after all, its negotiation of the Balfour Declaration and the Jewish national home clauses in the Palestine Mandate after World War I, the long-sought-for charter that Herzl had set as Zionism's first aim. After the charter had been secured, ideological dispute within the Zionist movement did not cease but continued to rage over the question whether political sovereignty or the effective occupation of the land should be defined as the immediate objective of the Zionist movement. The debate over this point even after the charter was gained, revealed the ambiguity involved in sovereignty as a Zionist aim, when this sovereignty applied to a country the Jews did not yet effectively occupy.

Major ideological differences which developed after the Balfour Declaration (20) revolved around the question whether to leave this matter open, as Herzl had done, or to close it by a new definition. The first course - the course Herzl had adopted - was advocated by his erstwhile opponents, the Practical Zionists, while the latter course from which Herzl had dissuaded the First Congress - was pressed by those who saw themselves as his heirs, the Revisionist-Zionists. The differences which arose on these issues are not to be explained solely as ultimate or temperamental in character, as though they were based merely on the arbitrary preferences of contending groups for full or for restricted national freedom. Apart from the irrational preferences they may reflect, the opposing formulations of the Zionist aim of sovereignty each had its own rational connection with the other aims of Zionist nationalism and with the different ways in which the rival parties visualized the achievement of those aims.

The Revisionists contended that Zionism should now go beyond the deliberately vague Basel formula and declare that it demanded as its ultimate goal (Endziel) 'a Jewish State within its historic boundaries' - that is, extending over the entire area of the Mandate, including Transjordan. In taking this position, they were not moved by sheer fetishism of the myth image of the state, however much they cultivated it as a movement fetish. The political tactics they proposed had above all a logical connection with their views about the way in which Zionism should proceed to settle the country, now that they had a charter for the purpose in the form of Balfour Declaration; about the attitude the Zionist organization should take in its negotiations with the British and other authorities concerning the interpretation and implementing of the charter, and in particular concerning its territorial extension; and, also, about the proper Zionist policies for dealing with the opposed interests of Arab nationalism (20).

The majority of Zionists, who favoured retaining the Basel formula unchanged, were motivated not by opposition to the ultimate establishment of a Jewish state as the final expression of the national aim of sovereignty. They differed from the Revisionists, and also differed among themselves about the ways in which Zionism should proceed to settle the country, now that they had a charter for the purpose in the form of the Balfour Declaration; about the attitude the Zionist Organization should take in its negotiations with the British and other authorities concerning the interpretation and implementing of the charter, and in particular concerning its territorial extension; and also about the proper Zionist policies for dealing with the opposed interests of Arab nationalism.

Thus, for most participants, the quarrel concerning the Endziel was not really over the ultimate sovereignty of the Jewish state, even though it revolved about the question whether this should or should not now be stated as the Zionist aim. The quarrel was really about the kind and degree of authority exercised by themselves, or the kind of colonization regime instituted by the mandatory power that the Zionists required in the interim period of immigration and colonization (20).

If one were to set up a paradigm of the mental construction represented by Zionist Revisionism, one would have to begin with a characteristic perception of the Jewish problem. This extreme of Zionism arose out of a view which regarded the Jewish problem as first and foremost the problem of the Jews, of their rightlessness and oppression, and of their rejection even by emancipated and enlightened Gentile society. The Jewish problem, as viewed by men like Pinsker, Nordau, Herzl, and Jabotinsky, was overwhelmingly the problem of antisemitism, which they came to regard as ineradicable so long as Jews persisted as a distinct group among Gentiles. However, when the Jewish nation rose to claim its rights to sovereignty in its ancestral homeland, the other nations would ultimately recognize this right, because, in this age of Enlightenment, they, no less than the Jews, must be interested in curing the plague of antisemitism (20).

Halpern maintains that Jews and Gentiles alike would agree to a supreme political act of emancipation, the grant of a charter under public law, which would 'once and for all' make possible a rational solution of the Jewish problem. Zionists tended to envisage the transfer of the Jewish nation to Palestine as a rapid, large-scale movement. Such a conception could only be put into effect if the colonization regime to be established by the charter met rather stringent requirements. All the powers of a modern state - or rather the extraordinary powers characteristic of a colonial concessionaire – would not be too much to equip the proposed Jewish company for such a task. Moreover the determined co-operation of the governments of the lands from which Jews were to come, as well as that of controlling the land in which the company would colonize, was no less essential.

Such were the prerequisite means to the grand project of mass transfer envisaged by those Zionists; and such is the actual denotation of the aims comprehended under the Revisionist slogan of the Jewish state as the avowed Endziel of the Zionist movement. In this extreme position of Zionist nationalism, the sovereign Jewish state was not, as in other nationalisms, to be the condition precedent for achieving all other national aims; but extraordinary powers, approaching or even exceeding those common in many sovereign states, were to be exercised by a Jewish company so that, with international co-operation, the other Jewish national aims - immigration, occupation of land, and social integration - might first be achieved, with the independent, sovereign Jewish state coming thereafter as the crowning, ultimate achievement (20).

Even for those Zionists most markedly political in their approach, the aim of sovereignty was connected pragmatically with the other aims of their Zionist ideology, and not set apart as an absolute condition of all of them, as a fetishistic demand flowing directly from irrational or mythic sources. Thus, on occasion, the most extreme political Zionists could modify or mitigate their demands of sovereignty, or subordinate the exercise of sovereignty to other national aims which at the moment seemed more pressing (20). We have already noted how at the First Zionist Congress, Herzl and Nordau argued for a formulation of the Zionist aim regarding sovereignty which would allow the greatest flexibility in negotiation, and permit the future, with its unpredictable circumstances, to determine the ultimate kind and degree of authority that would characterize the Jewish state.

Not only Herzl and Nordau, but Jabotinsky (20), too, demonstrated repeatedly how the peculiar situation of Zionism forced the most 'extreme nationalists' to mitigate, defer, and subordinate the demand of sovereignty. Like other Zionists in the period before the First World War, he treated the aim of Jewish sovereignty in Palestine as a maximum programme to be worked for at some more suitable juncture of events in the future, while other, minimum but more immediate, objectives – and language - were pursued at once. He worked ardently for Hebrew as the spoken language and language of instruction of the Jews in the diaspora; he supported the immigration and resettlement in Palestine of pioneers who built positions of Jewish strength in the country, without waiting for suitable legal political guarantees and regardless of unfavourable local conditions (20)

8. The "Cultural" Leadership of Ahad Ha'am

While Herzl's campaign for political Zionism was making tremendous inroads into the hearts of Jews, it encountered resistance from a rival movement led by Asher Zvi Ginzberg who operated under a nom de plume Ahad Ha'am or 'one of the people' (10). The movement was based on Cultural as opposed to Political Zionism. The birth of Cultural Zionism came about as a result of Ahad Ha'am's disappointment with Political Zionism, particularly after attending the First Zionist Congress. The man who translated into English, Leon Simon (10), when he said that the political Zionists were trying to save the body but not the soul of the Jewish people best summed up Ahad Ha'am's disenchantment with Herzl's political movement. In a similar vein, Nathan Rotenstreich suggested that Ahad Ha'am's main contribution to future generations was his insistence that there must be a link between the problem of physical existence of the Jewish nation and the question of the revival of the Jewish spirit.

Thus, a revival of the Jewish nation meant more than building up a huge concentration of Jews; the essence of nationality was cultural and spiritual uniqueness. The physical problems of Jews as individuals or as an assorted collective could be solved by political means, but the problem of consciousness of historical continuity, which he regarded as indispensable to an authentic sense of national identity, could be solved only by attending to spiritual and cultural rejuvenation. Both material and spiritual problems should therefore be given attention, especially since they are linked together. Rotenstreich (10) was not particularly impressed with the solution that Ahad Ha'am suggested, a small cultural centre in Israel, but was nevertheless highly appreciative of Ahad Ha'am's perceptive analysis of the problem that was facing those who took it on themselves to promote a Jewish national revival.

Like Herzl, Ahad Ha'am evolved his own conception of leadership, which was elaborated in the two articles 'Priest and Prophet' and 'Moses'. His notions of leadership were anchored in his understanding of society. He believed that both in society and in 'the microcosm of the human soul' a play of forces is always in action. The outcome of this play of both volitional and unconscious forces is a 'compromise' which yields inter-individual and intra-individual harmony. This harmony, however, is a temporary balance of forces which masks the stormy clashes that preceded it (10).

In the cultural and social history of the people of Israel, the prophets were the habitual disrupters of equilibrium. They tossed bold new ideas at their people and turned each idea into a 'primal force' which triggered changes and effected a radical shift in course. The prophets were leaders with a massive impact who needed a fanatic personality and even a bruising style to help them reach their goal. That is why the prophet has always been a one-sided man who is interested in purely universal and uncompromised ideas. In a way, he has always been a narrow-minded extremist, obsessed with what ought to be rather than what can be. In the language of psychoanalysis, one could paraphrase Ahad Ha'am and say that the prophet had an uncompromising superego whose noble but extreme demands could not be met in full by ordinary people (10).

In contrast to the prophets, Ahad Ha'am posited that the priests had a more mundane personality and their subscription to prophetic ideals was tempered by pragmatic considerations. The prophetic demands for universal and absolute justice, which Ahad Ha'am regarded as expressions of the unique Hebrew national spirit, had to compromise with the mundane play of forces that always makes people run. Therefore, after the prophet jolted the people with the primal force of a new idea, the priest would come and help to ease the process of building the inevitable bridge between the pure ideal of the prophet and the muddled reality of the common people. In psychoanalytic terms (10), the priestly personality can be characterized by the predominance of a reality-oriented but not very imaginative ego.

The priest is like the modern garden-variety dull politician. He has his full share of 'pragmatism,' and like so many politicians before and after him, he is clever and manipulative but not a great statesman or a leader of people. The Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol was such a person. He was known for his advocacy of compromises, and unlike the ancient prophets he was not a 'one-sided man'. It is possible to imagine him as an ancient Hebrew priest. His kind of leadership failed miserably during the tense days preceding the Six Day War (10).

On the other hand, Moshe Dayan fared better during the same crisis. His leadership lifted up the sunken national spirit. It would not be easy to imagine Dayan or his mentor Ben Gurion, or the latest Israeli hero Arik Sharon, as priests in the style of Ahad Ha'am. In fact, it would be difficult to imagine them in any role within Ahad Ha'am's framework. The leader of Cultural Zionism was selective in his choice of historical precedents for leadership. The ancient kings and chiefs of staff were omitted because their leadership style could only foster the aspirations of the Political Zionists. Yet what the Cultural Zionists wanted - 'the preparation of the hearts' - called for prophetic teachings tamed by priestly realism (10).

Ahad Ha'am's most cherished example of Jewish leadership is the greatest prophet of all time - Moses. In his article 'Moses,' he made it perfectly clear that the subject of his adulation was not the Moses of the scholars, not the Moses of those who seek historical or archaeological truth and in the process become absorbed with less than significant details. It was the Moses of the Passover Haggadah, the archetype of Hebrew prophecy. Ahad Ha'am saw a similarity between the days of Moses and the dawn of the Zionist era. In both periods, a major transformation in the life of a people was sorely needed. A shift from slavery to freedom and the forging of the national bond had to take place. In the past this situation called for not just any leader, but the greatest prophet ever (10). It is not unlikely that Ahad Ha'am hoped to become, if only in a small measure, a new prophet or even a modern Moses.

Ahad Ha'am's leadership and work was honoured by Jewish writers and scholars including the poet Bialik (10). In a poem dedicated to Ahad Ha'am, Bialik likened the position of the Jewish people to being suspended in an in-between time, a twilight time of end and beginning, destruction and construction, old age and youth. In their perplexity, the people called for a prophet of truth to show them the way. And there he lighted up like a star - Ahad Ha'am the teacher - and the people saw their way out of the mist. This image of a star showing the way is reminiscent of the pillar of fire that lighted the way for Moses and the Israelites during the night.

The hallmark of the prophet, according to Ahad Ha'am, is his being a man of truth, yet an incorrigible extremist. He does not bow to the world, but neither does the world bow to him. In order to exert an influence, therefore, the prophetic demands must go through intermediate human channels. Thus, Ahad Ha'am clearly adhered to the notion that an effective prophetic leadership must contain a priestly touch. In forging his own style of leadership, he was influenced by this conviction. Ahad Ha'am was also impressed by the fact that Moses found it necessary to train a whole new generation for the life of freedom. Moses must have recognised that to opt for an immediate switch from the old to the altogether new is to embrace fantasy. A prolonged period of 'preparation of the hearts' is needed for the psychological and spiritual adjustment. This was true for Moses and his people in the past and is also true for Ahad Ha'am and his people in the present (10).

Thus, Ahad Ha'am faced with gravity what he considered to be the great challenge of his time. The people of Israel were about to undergo one of those fateful transformations from the old to the new. To guide them through such a journey was among the greatest of tasks that could befall a leader. It called for a leadership that would tilt toward the side of prophetic truth and extremism but that would incorporate the mundane, pragmatic talents of the priestly type. This new leadership, or leader, would need the patience of Moses for a task that was bound to last more than one generation. One may add that the chosen leader, who has a rendezvous with fate, would also need no less than Solomon's wisdom. This conception of the needed type of leadership, as outlined in 'Priest and Prophet' and 'Moses,' was a big order, and as we learn from other articles by Ahad Ha'am, he ended by doing something quite different.

In the opinion of Gonen, the great Moses, the subject of Ahad Ha'am's admiration, was not merely the Cultural Zionist of his era. He risked his life for social justice and even killed for it. He laid down the law and became the standard bearer of morality for his people. More, he organised his enslaved and disunited people and prepared them for mass migration. He fought political battles and managed to secure a half-hearted consent from Pharaoh for the Exodus from Egypt. After the Exodus, he led the Hebrew people in wanderings and in battles. During that period, other leaders helped the people to implement his ideas. They included not only Aaron the priest but also Joshua, the commander of the fighting forces. Thus, Moses' accomplishments were both spiritual and political. In contrast, Ahad Ha'am's vision was never as broad. (10) He aspired to build a small cultural centre in Israel. By necessity, therefore, he evolved a style of leadership that suited this particular aim rather than the broader goal of sweeping revolution. Since his leadership was tailored to his vision of his people, it helps to discuss his understanding of his people's plight.

Ahad Ha'am's diagnosis of the Jewish national malady was schematic and redundant. It involved a dualism of two extreme orientations kept apart in an unhealthy state. The required remedy was to fuse them in a creative synthesis. In 'Flesh and Spirit,' the pathological breach is between the material and the spiritual, or body and soul. There was, however, an encouraging precedent in Judaism for bridging the gap. The Hebrew word for soul (nefesh) refers to the unity of both the body and the soul during the lifetime of each individual. In 'Past and Future,' Ahad Ha'am warned of a developing schism between the two. His proposed synthesis of these contradictory time orientations yielded the conclusion that 'the path of the national Ego' was largely shaped in the past yet awaits its completion in the future (10).

In his other book Two Domains, Ahad Ha'am promoted the idea that the developing pathological break was between the old and the new. In 'Positive and Negative', the contradiction is between traditional systems of thought and new orientations which, in reaction to the old ones, totally negate them. The outcome, which resembles what is known in psychiatry as 'negative identity,' can be a final separation between the old and the new. This tragic divorce between old and new systems of thought leads to a corresponding separation between the adherents of each system. New negative sects are formed whose members zealously segregate themselves from the body of people from which they sprang, the way the Karaites did in the eighth century (10).

The frequent warnings in Ahad Ha'am's writings against the dangers of a wide breach between two extreme orientations show his obsessive concern with the dangers of Zionism. He feared that should Political Zionism prevail, one extreme orientation would triumph and the people be doomed to an abnormal, one-sided lifestyle, in which the flesh would dominate the spirit, the profane would rule over the sacred, the means would rule over the ends, the future would expropriate the past, and the new would eradicate the old. Thus the triumph of a Political Zionism that neglected the task of spiritual revival could bring about a new 'negative sect,' which would follow the precedent of the Karaites by separating permanently from traditional Jewry.

The remedy for preventing this irreparable cultural split bears on his concept of the leadership role. This is based on the idea of 'men of wisdom and foresight' who can detect the contradiction between the old and the new before the old is fully destroyed, and who therefore have the opportunity to fight this process while there is still time, that is, while the people are still bound by ties of affection to each of the opposing cultural forces. One duty of such men of wisdom is to understand exactly how the people can serve two contradictory orientations - which is like serving two masters who are at war with each other.

Ahad Ha'am's answer to the mystery was that the people remained unaware of the contradiction because they used what we now call the defence mechanism of isolation. As he put it, conflicting ideas about the past and present were being kept by a mental barrier in separate compartments. 'Isolation' is the psychiatric term for a process in which people manage to avoid a conflict either between content and affect or between opposing mixtures of desires and attitudes by keeping them apart in separate or 'logic-tight' mental compartments. It frequently involves a convenient scheduling of repression. When one attitude is expressed the contradictory standpoint is repressed, and vice versa. This clean-cut separation enables persons to maintain contradictory wishes and/or ideas without acknowledging their logical incompatibility, and even to behave inconsistently without being aware of it.

Because the Jewish people resorted to this defence, they were blind to the danger that Political Zionism could cost them the tragic price of a new negative sect. They clamoured for a bright future that would bring about the revival of the glorious past, but did not see that their actions were accelerating their flight into a future that would be divorced from the past.

Thus Ahad Ha'am, the schematic diagnostician of a fatal split, also managed to pinpoint the defensive manoeuvre that prevented the multitudes from realising the duality in their culture (10). He believed that one of the two extremes would triumph soon. In the face of such danger, the duty of men of foresight is clear. They must become therapists to their nation, must expose defences so as to neutralise them and to bring the inherent contradiction into the people's consciousness. Armed with this new awareness, the people could then make an informed choice. At such times, people are more likely to elect to retain their ties of affection to both old and new, spirit and flesh. What is more, they could opt for a creative synthesis of these polarities along the established Jewish tradition of nefesh, which encompasses both body and soul (10).

Throughout his lifetime Ahad Ha'am wrote and taught his ideas with the hope of changing the psychological condition first of a small cadre of elite people and second of the multitudes of Jewry. He diagnosed the dangerous cultural contradiction, unravelled the defence of isolation that was keeping them unaware of this contradiction, and, as an alternative to the pathological development of a new negative sect, he offered the old Jewish promise of a healthy synthesis of dualities. In reiterating his ideas during a lifetime of teaching, Ahad Ha'am was neither a prophet nor a priest. What he tried to become was no less than the therapist of his people, but what he ended up being was merely a preacher. His Hebrew was admired by all; his ideas were admired by some but followed by very few.

According to Gonen, the paucity of tangible results in Ahad Ha'am's cultural revival campaign casts him in the image of a somewhat more glorified version of the Jewish melamed, or teacher. For someone who adopted the style of a melamed, it was an achievement to avoid the image of a luftmensch, or impractical dreamer, and to become an admired national figure. It was a limited achievement nevertheless. Although Ahad Ha'am obviously believed that he offered a synthesis of the old and the new, in reality his ideas smacked too much of the old. Preaching morality as the essence of Jewish nationalism must have looked to some Jews like prescribing sugar to a diabetic. While he was willing to add a drop of the political to his spiritual remedy, they were willing to add only a dash of the spiritual to their political one. That created some room for him in the Zionist movement, but not enough to mobilize the masses the way his admired Moses had.

Ahad Ha'am's disdain for the political and for political leadership ruled out his becoming an effective modern version of either priest or prophet, not to mention king or commander. So he preached and, later, his preaching was preached in turn to Israeli school children amid yawns of boredom. The issues he raised were valid in spite of his rigid schematisations. But his prescriptions were of questionable priority. Other things seemed more urgent. As for his leadership style, it was largely ineffective. A glorified version of the melamed was not the mode of leadership that the masses wanted or the times called for. In spite of Ahad Ha'am's great reputation as a writer and the apparently high esteem in which he was held by many Jews, he did not have a large following. This much is evident in Bialik's poem dedicated to Ahad Ha'am. The poet wrote: the 'teacher' did not have a large following. 'Your hosts are not large, teacher' (10).

As Halpern has already pointed out by, Cultural Zionism's central idea of consolidating the diaspora around a spiritual nucleus in Israel appealed only to a minority of intellectuals who suffered from the undermining of tradition. Most other Jews sensed that the times called for the alternate orientation - the political one. To this day, ardent Old Guard Israeli Zionists object strongly to contemporary cultural definitions of Zionism, such as a willingness to help and receive inspiration from Israel while living in the diaspora.

The conclusion to be drawn from Gonen's analysis is that Herzl and Ahad Ha'am - the two early Zionist leaders who worked out their own conception of leadership - were very different in temperament, in their analysis of the Jewish problem, and in their understanding of the tasks of leadership. Herzl was somewhat manic and hectic; he was alarmed by the problem of the Jews, and as a remedy he subscribed to a fast revolution. Ahad Ha'am was of a more even temperament; to him the major problem was not of the Jews but of Judaism, and the healing effects were to be achieved by slow evolution. Ahad Ha'am dreamed of being both priest and prophet, tried to be a national therapist, and ended up being merely a respected teacher.

Conversely, Herzl dreamed of being the king-Messiah, tried to become one, and succeeded. Ahad Ha'am's failure and Herzl's enormous success are rooted in the different responsivity of the masses. In retrospect it is clear that, like Herzl, the majority of them also gave priority to the problem of the Jews over that of Judaism. Like him, they felt an acute need for a quick revolution and craved for a kingly leader rather than for one more teacher, no matter how good he was. Herzl read them correctly. He had to because for an ambitious megalomaniac, it was indispensable to sense accurately what the people were feeling. Without such knowledge, dreams of messianic grandeur could easily turn into dust. It was the greatness of the charismatic Herzl that he did not let this happen.


1. Leadership Views about Jewish Leadership and the Holocaust

This section attempts to evaluate as well as draw useful lessons from the leadership experiences of Jews under Nazi Europe. The intention of the study is not to pronounce judgment in favour of or against the positions, decisions, or behaviour of the leaders concerned. The purpose of the analysis is to attempt to understand factors or circumstances that encourage the leadership to commit certain actions that either enhance or harm the interests of their own people. The scope and time available does not allow the analysis to interrogate the involvement or position(s) of the external leadership i.e. those who were largely responsible for creating and driving the Nazi extermination machine or the apartheid dehumanisation project. While refraining from apportioning blame, the study will evaluate the contributions, if any, that the leadership of both victim communities took in order to protect the interests and safety of their communities from the racist campaigns.

Having reviewed some of the literature and debates surrounding both the Holocaust and apartheid projects, it is safe to conclude that the first and perhaps the only legacy that remains after epochal events - euphemistically referred to as the 'Great War', 'ethnic cleansing', 'the final solution', or 'apartheid' – is the extent to which the leadership of this or that group was involved. The question of motive lies on the obverse side of the same coin. Questions about motive are asked, largely, for purposes of determining whether or not there were mitigating factors that can be used, post facto, to justify or explain away the behaviour and conduct of the leadership. Most unfortunately, the scale of these massacres is such that whatever debate is conducted about the matter, such debate focuses almost singularly on the morality and ethical aspects of the deed.

Debate about morality and ethics is guaranteed to produce more than one position or angle through which to explain the actions or behaviour of the leadership. The emergence of more than one side to the story is due to competing interest as well as a variety of psychological conditions. In the case of the latter, the victims blame or hold themselves, partially or wholly, responsible for whatever happened. Bystanders – including the perpetrators of the evil action – whose questions or comment insinuate that the victim is or was not entirely innocent in the matter, also bring about the guilt syndrome. This is the common but sad condition of the victim of abuse who is accused of having, in the first instance, tempted, aided and abetted his or her abusers into committing the abuse. While both the perpetrator and the victim are forced to enter and exist in this rather paradoxical relationship, the leaders of our society or institutions walk away with their reputation and fame unscathed.

Ethical and other considerations continue to thwart attempts by scholars within and without the Jewish community to conduct a thorough assessment of the role as well as the culpability of Jewish leadership during one of mankind's darkest hours. For the non-Jew, the issue of Jewish leadership under Nazi Europe remains largely out of reach as many of the debates on the matter tend to occur inside institutions or platforms to which non-Jews have no direct access. A cursory look at some of the material available through Jewish libraries and related institutions reveals that

Jewish scholars remain deeply divided about the positions, actions, and conduct adopted by individual Jewish leaders as well as groups of leaders who served in Jewish Councils or the Judenrate. At the centre of the debate is the question of whether or not Jewish leaders were innocent bystanders, willing victims, co-perpetrators, selective participants, or resisters of all or some aspects of the Holocaust campaign.

The extent of division and tension that has existed among Jewish scholars was much in evidence during the Third Yad Vashem conference, held in Jerusalem in 1977, to review and debate the role of Jewish leadership during various stages of the extermination of Jews by the Nazi Gestapo machinery. Those Jewish presenters whose papers asserted, insinuated or conferred culpability on the entire Jewish leadership establishment or the Judenrate were roundly criticized on a number of grounds e.g. generalising when they should have treated each Judenrat on its own merits or describing the Judenrat as a Jewish leadership tool for Jewish implementation of Nazi crimes against Jews. Criticism from various Jewish scholars

poured out regardless of the fact that several of the offending presenters had prefaced their papers with cautionary statements.

Citing sensitivities surrounding the role of the Jewish Council throughout Nazi Europe, Louis de Jong remarked that the subject is without a doubt the most difficult, the most intricate, and most painful element of the entire theme of the Holocaust. Thus, the business of the entire conference was described in terms of being 'an agonizing reappraisal' of the role of Jewish leadership, insofar as it existed during the period of the Holocaust. De Jong also implored the audience to talk about the Germans, the Nazis, the exterminators on one hand; and the Jews of Europe on the other. He reminded his audience of the danger of forgetting that certainly, as far as the occupied nations of Europe were concerned, the process of persecution and extermination took place in primarily non-Jewish surroundings. Given that the Jews were minorities everywhere, scholars should direct at least part of their attention to the reactions of the non-Jews to the fate that befell their fellow Jewish citizens. It was, therefore, appropriate to ask questions such as: What was the attitude of the Jewish Councils? Should they have offered more resistance?

Echoing De Jong's cautionary opening remarks, Raul Hilberg (17) observed that more than thirty years after the end of the holocaust, the Jewish Councils remain a difficult topic. For this reason, although they had known for some time that their caution is at least partly psychological, Jewish scholars had hesitated to approach the Judenrate or Councils as phenomena that must be analyzed. In a preface to his paper, Hilberg posed questions such as: 'how can we talk about the Councils objectively, without accusing them, exonerating them, or praising them? How can we come to an understanding of the manner in which they arose and functioned, particularly as 'tools' of the perpetrators? How can we face that history without raising basic questions that have massive implications for traditional views and assessments of the whole of diaspora history?

Before we deal with issues relating to the effectiveness or otherwise of the Judenrate, it is necessary that the entire concept of Jewish Council be put into its proper perspective. The matter of background to the topic was thoroughly addressed through several papers including those by Ezra Mendelsohn, Isiah Trunk, and O. D. Kulka.

2. East European Antisemitism and the 'Final Solution'

In his scene-setting paper, Jewish Leadership between the Two Wars, Ezra Mendelsohn (21) identifies Eastern European Jewish progress in the economic and political fields as among the major precipitators of the Germans' design to find a 'Final Solution' to the problem posed by Jewry. Mendelsohn asserts that the 'various Jewish communities of interwar Eastern Europe may be divided into three categories according to both Jewish and general criteria. There was, first of all, Soviet Jewry, whose unique fate was determined by the character of the regime under which it lived.

The Communist system's economic dynamism, destruction of traditional elites, and initial opposition to antisemitism enabled many Jews to make dramatic economic gains and to enter the mainstream of Russian culture. But the regime also destroyed autonomous Jewish culture and put a virtual end to Jewish leadership, whether of the traditional religious or of the modern, secular, democratic variety (21). Mendelsohn maintains that virtually all the Jewish communities in Eastern Europe were profoundly affected by the drastic changes of the first World War. These included 'the political shock wrought by the abrupt transition from the multinational Empire system to a system of nation states, and from autocratic or semi-autocratic empires to Communism, on the one hand, and to some sort of democracy on the other.

The political disruptions ushered in severe economic and cultural shocks to Jewish communities which, as Mendelsohn puts it, meant a 'sudden change in cultural orientation - from German to Romanian in Bukovina; from German to Czech in Bohemia and Moravia; from Hungarian to Romanian in Transylvania; from Russian to Polish in the Eastern regions of the new Polish state, etc. In all cases, the Jews were obliged to shift from adherence to a 'higher' culture (German, Hungarian, and Russian) to a 'lower' one - be it Czech, Lithuanian, Latvian, or Romanian'. The three-fold shocks had the effect of hastening the process of Jewish modernization and secularization, which had begun before the war. The shocks also led to 'the deepening of the Jewish economic crisis, the deterioration of Jewish-gentile relations, and to a severe conflict between generations. All these tendencies aided in bringing about the triumph, in certain countries of Eastern Europe, of the 'new Jewish politics' and of a new Jewish leadership.

Mendelsohn maintains that as East European Jews modernized and became, gradually, more similar to their non-Jewish neighbors, relations between Jews and gentiles declined in all the lands of Eastern Europe except, perhaps, for the Soviet Union. One of the main reasons for this development was the fervent and intolerant nationalist atmosphere that pervaded the new nation-states of the region, against a background of general economic crisis, which increased tensions between Jews and Gentiles. The Poles, Lithuanians, and Romanians, to cite only three examples, had shed their blood in order to establish states of their own, and they were in no mood to look kindly on the numerous non-Poles, non-Lithuanian, and non-Romanians with whom they were obliged to co-exist. Moreover, Jews were everywhere identified with the sworn enemies of the majority of the population of the respective regions.

The super-nationalist atmosphere and the identification of Jews with the enemies of the established law and order helped to transform Hungary from a relatively philo-Semitic land before the war to one of the most antisemitic countries in Europe between the wars. In the Polish lands, where antisemitism had been on the rise before the war, but where there had been no violent antisemitic excesses of the Ukrainian variety, there were pogroms during 1918-1920 and again in the 1930s. Even in countries which were relatively comfortable for the Jews, such as Lithuania and Czechoslovakia, the interwar period witnessed an inexorable rise in anti-Jewish sentiment as these nation-states sought to promote the interests of the dominant nationality for whom the state had been established (21).

As previously stated, the gradual process of Jewish modernization was accompanied not only by increased antisemitism, but also by the deepening of the pre-war Jewish economic crisis. Mendelsohn asserts that the new nation-states, which were very poor and severely hit by the depression of the 1930s, did their best to strike at Jewish interest and to destroy the real or imagined Jewish 'domination' of trade and industry. Jews were usually not hired by state or local bureaucracies, by state-run schools or factories; they were refused loans, heavily taxed, and discriminated against in the universities. In certain instances, they were also subjected to economic boycotts.

Little wonder that the Jews of Poland and Lithuania for example, far from following in the footsteps of their co-religionists who had left these lands and migrated to the New World where they achieved middle class status, remained basically lower-middle class and proletarian communities. Indeed, the economic status of the great Polish Jewish community, over three million strong, deteriorated rapidly during the interwar period. In 1925, the Zionists accused the Poles of waging a war of economic 'extermination' against the Jews, and in the 1930s the situation declined yet further. It was then that the expression 'a youth without a future' was widely used with regard to the unhappy, indeed desperate fate of the new Jewish generation (21).

Mendelsohn's analysis reveals that the collapse of the multinational empires and their replacement by poor, nationalistic, intolerant, and politically unstable nation-states, most of which tended towards fascism in the 1930s, was a disaster for the Jews, certainly for those communities which had previously lived under the Hapsburgs and perhaps even for those who had formerly lived under the Czars. And even though the transition from the old Empire to the new nation-state brought with it some measure of relief, at least temporarily, it invariably sharpened the generation gap within the Jewish community. The new generation grew up under very different conditions - political, economic, and cultural - from those under which their parents had matured. Thus, the family was able to offer less guidance than was usually the case, for the parents' economic pursuits and cultural orientations were often no longer relevant for their children. In this sense, the situation in Eastern Europe between the two world wars may effectively be compared to that of Jewish immigrant families in the New World. In the latter case, the family crisis was usually more dramatic.

Mendelsohn states that the Jewish crisis in interwar Eastern Europe, together with the Jewish modernization process, led to the triumph of the new Jewish politics, based on secular, modern national concepts, and to the ascendancy of new Jewish political leaders who derived their authority from the democratically expressed will of the masses, and not from wealth or learning. Modern Jewish political parties suddenly became mass organizations, and their chief spokesmen, former heads of small intellectual sects, were transformed into powerful leaders both within the Jewish community and beyond it, since they represented the Jewish community in the various parliaments of Eastern Europe.

The triumph of the modern Jewish party, and the modern Jewish political leader, was hastened by the chaos created by the war and the fact that, for the first time in their history, certain East European Jewish communities found that they could actively participate in the general political scene. In Lithuania and the Ukraine, Jewish political support was courted by the non-Jews, and Jewish ministers were appointed to local governments. East European Jewries, like the other minority nationalities, filled the political vacuum created by the war by forming national committees dominated by secular, national parties which made new and extensive demands for national rights. The heady political atmosphere of 1918-1919 soon passed, and the Jewish ministers faded away; but Jewish national parties remained powerful. The interwar period was to be their golden age (21).

The rise of a powerful Jewish political leadership in host countries brought with it seeds of serious disaster to the entire European Jewry. The new Jewish party and the new Jewish political leadership did not, however, triumph everywhere in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Mendelsohn maintains that in these lands, traditional Jewish leaders, whether of the religious or 'notable' type, remained influential, as did the traditional approach to the problem of the conduct of Jewish politics, an approach which was often derisively referred to by more militant Jewish leaders as 'shtadlones' ('intercession'). This approach was characterized by caution, an unwillingness to make Jewish national (as opposed to religious) demands, an emphasis on the Jews' patriotism and loyalty, and by an acute awareness of the Jews' inherently weak position. It reflected the essentially acculturated attitudes of these Jewries which resisted the adoption of a secular national Jewish identity. The new Jewish politics triumphed in the former Russian and Austro-Hungarian lands in which resided what we have characterized as the 'classic East European type' of Jewry (21).

According to Mendelsohn's analysis, among the characteristics of the new Jewish politics as practiced in interwar Poland was the remarkably high degree of political mobilization within the Jewish community. So intense was the Jewish crisis, so desperate the search for a way out, so helpless the traditional leadership, that it sometimes appeared as if virtually every Jewish youth who had emancipated himself from the closed Orthodox world had joined a party or youth movement. Another characteristic was that the parties and youth movements took on the aspect of 'states within a state,' or substitute families. The antisemitic state having failed to provide the Jewish population with the necessary services, and the Jewish family having encountered great difficulties in performing its normal function, means that the parties and youth movements took it on themselves to act as substitutes. They founded schools, summer camps, banks, cooperatives, and in general created special 'party worlds,' which offered their members not only a political world outlook but social, cultural, and economic benefits. The youth movement leaders served as parent substitutes.

As for the political style of the new Jewish parties, one of its most notable features was the insistence on the need to pursue what might be called 'the politics of Jewish pride'. Reacting strongly against the traditional Jewish policy of 'shtadlones,' the new political leaders called for an honorable and proud stand against the antisemites. The Jews, they insisted, must not fear to use their power in the pursuit of legitimate Jewish aims. All those who disagreed with the aggressive line were termed 'shtadlonim,' a pejorative word in the dictionary of the modern Jewish politician. Along with this insistence on what was sometimes called 'honorable' Jewish politics went extreme factionalism and an emphasis on ideology, characteristic of the politics of peoples living under abnormal extra-territorial conditions (21).

One of the reasons for the extreme factionalism of Jewish politics was doubtless the profundity of the Jewish crisis and the particularity of the Jewish condition, which engendered extreme solutions. No other people in Eastern Europe were divided over the question of whether their problems should be solved 'here,' in Eastern Europe itself or 'there,' in the historic national home or elsewhere. Nor was any other people so divided over the question of Orthodox versus secular-national definitions of peoplehood. In the absence of a normal political setting in which there are obvious incentives for political unification, modern Jewish politics tended to spawn an overwhelming number of parties. The remarkable factionalism of Jewish politics in Poland defeated all efforts to create an all-Jewish national council representing the Jewish population to the authorities. Even the various General Zionist federations failed to unite into a single organization (21).

Mendelsohn points out that the triumph of the new Jewish politics in Poland brought very different types of Jewish leaders to the fore. Almost all, however, were convinced that the judicious and proud use of Jewish political power, augmented by alliances with friendly forces or Jewish activism in the sense of pioneering and nation-building in Palestine, would lead to a solution to the Jewish question, and enable the Jews to overcome the terrible crisis to which they were subject. The 1930s, however, dispelled such beliefs. As Mendelsohn has so ably demonstrated, the Jewish crisis deepened, but the parties and youth movements discovered that they too, were unable to stem the tide of rising antisemitism and economic collapse. Polish democracy, like democracy almost everywhere in Eastern Europe, had declined, and with it the Jews' hopes that their strength in parliament would protect them from the ravages of antisemitism. Also, by the end of the interwar period, the programmes of the various Jewish parties had proved to be unrealistic. The struggle for national Jewish autonomy had ended in almost total failure. Zionism, which had a mass following in Poland, had failed to transform Palestine into a Jewish state.

Mendelsohn maintains that the consequences of the failure of the Jewish parties in Poland could be measured in terms of the growth of political extremism, which increased Communist and socialist influence 'on the Jewish street'. In addition, there was the rise of militant Zionist revisionism, and a decline in the moderate political forces, which had dominated Jewish life in independent Poland in the 1920s. As Mendelsohn says 'these moderate forces were discredited and their constituencies disillusioned, for they had failed to lead the Jewish masses to the promised land. If the transition from the multi-national empires to the democratic nation-states led to the decline of the old religious and monied assimilationist leadership, the 1930s witnessed the discrediting of the new, militant, democratic-based political parties, which had replaced the traditional leadership. The Jewish communities of the 'classic East European type' entered the most tragic and terrible period of their history not only with the burden of an extremely factionalized political leadership which had failed to deliver.

Mendelsohn concludes his analysis with the conclusion that the situation and dynamics of Jewish life just reviewed had a significant influence on the behavior of the Jewish leadership and the relationship between the leaders and their constituencies during the Holocaust.

3. The Structure and Dynamics of Jewish Communal Life

In his scene-setting paper titled The Typology of the Judenrate in Eastern Europe, Isaiah Trunk (22) states that 'the common fate which befell the overwhelming majority of the Jewish population under Nazi rule led to the creation of a concept of identity of the ghettos, and likewise of the Judenrate. Today, more than 30 years after the destruction, we know that this concept does not withstand the test of history. The ghetto was by no means a homogeneous phenomenon. Rather, the extreme, almost unimaginable situation of the ghetto brought to the surface and accentuated existing differences, both apparent and latent, based in variegated internal and external factors, and created new differences, stemming from the abnormal structure of the ghetto.

Trunk maintains that although they were founded on identical terms of reference to achieve an identical objective - the destruction of Jews - the Judenrate were not a monolith. Trunk argues that although in broad brush-strokes the Judenrate were founded on identical principles and objectives, in reality the Councils had different characteristics that were dictated by varying factors and circumstances that prevailed within different Jewish communities across the face of Nazi Europe. Given that they came into existence in a variety of ways, it is therefore extremely difficult to trace general tendencies. The creation of the Councils was influenced by three factors: German, Jewish and local ethnic. Trunk maintains that although German authorities were a deciding force behind the Nazi system, the establishment of the Councils was often the result of interplay between German and Jewish elements.

Trunk observes that 'in localities in which there was, from the outset, Jewish initiative to enter into contact with the Nazi authorities, and in those localities in which, after the outbreak of the war, a remnant of the former leaders of the Jewish kehillot still remained, or where Jewish committees for social assistance had come into being, these elements became the nuclei of the Judenrate. There were cases, too, in which the initiative to create a Jewish representation came from persons who did not belong to the former kehillot or to other Jewish institutions. In the majority of cases, the task of organizing a Judenrat was entrusted to a single individual who generally became the chairman of the Council. There were also exceptions to this principle: the authorities sometimes designated another member of the Judenrat for this position - a former social activist or functionary of the pre-war municipality.

With regard to the degree of representivity of the Judenrat, it is safe to surmise that the institution of the Judenrate was not based on democratic elections. However, where elections were entertained, these involved a group of Jewish participants who 'could not have been very numerous. The degree of representation of the Judenrate was strongly diminished by constant fluctuations in their personal composition. The main cause of these fluctuations was the tendency, on the part of the Nazis, to eliminate those members of the Councils who had shown a certain degree of independence in their attitude towards the German authorities, and to replace them by obedient persons who were willing to cooperate. Most often, personnel changes occurred in the Judenrate before or during the mass deportations, when the authorities were interested in the full cooperation of the Councils and of the ghetto police (22).

Trunk further says that 'the designation of new members to replace those persons who had withdrawn of their own will, who had been arrested or deported, or who had committed suicide, occurred through negative selection. The social and ethical qualifications of the newly nominated members, or of the former members who had remained in their positions with the consent of the authorities, in general were not high. In many cases, the first members of the Judenrate, who were eliminated in various ways, were pre-war social activists, and thus enjoyed the confidence and respect of the ghetto population. They were replaced by persons of second and third rank, often even by those far removed from communal life, without any experience in community activities. They were designated as chairmen of the Councils or commanders of the ghetto police coincidentally, or by order of the 'local Gestapo chief who hoped to find in them obedient underlings. There are many examples of this kind.

The internal organizational structure of the Judenrate tended to be more autocratic than collective. Trunk argues that the autocracy was largely due to the fact the 'the authorities favoured the former, not only because of the leadership principle, but also because such leadership was convenient for the Germans. Although lack of reliable source data makes it difficult to conduct full analysis of the true character of the Judenrate, Trunk believes that one can, ex posteriori, outline two extreme types of their structure. On the one hand, there were 'Judenrate with autocratic chairmen who made decisions alone, while the other members were devoid of any power and played only the role of an advisory staff with minimal influence on the administration of the ghetto'. In Judenrate of this type, the heads of the various departments were responsible only to the chairmen. On the other, there were 'Judenrate with collective leadership, in which the departments of the ghetto administration were under the supervision of particular members of the Council who exercised their functions individually, or through special commissions created for that purpose (22).

With regard to relationships between the Judenrate and other organizations, there were as Trunk puts it 'various forms of mutual relationships, depending on personal attitudes and local conditions. The Nazi authorities' intention was to concentrate Jewish representation and Jewish activity within a single organ, established and approved by them, i.e. the Judenrat, and to eliminate all other factors from Jewish communal life'. As can be expected, it was not in the Germans' interest to encourage strong inter-organizational ties. Trunk observes, however, that in terms 'of Frank's order, concerning associations in the General Government, all societies and institutions with the exception of 'Jewish Social Self-help' (JSS), were to be liquidated, and their assets confiscated for the benefit of the treasury' (22).

Relations between the Judenrate and Jewish ghetto police were encouraged although the two systems developed tensions and conflict between them. These relations were largely complicated by the overlapping jurisdictions and rivalries among different organs of the Nazi authorities. As Trunk puts it, 'each desired the mandate for complete control over the ghetto police. The degree of subordination of the ghetto police to the Councils also varied. There were fluctuations between almost complete subordination and limited independence. The role and position of the ghetto police as an independent power increased during the period of mass deportations, and afterwards in the so-called Restghettos ('remainder ghettos'), where in many cases, the Councils were dominated by the leadership of the reduced police forces (22).

Trunk's analysis reveals that the Judenrate did not always enjoy the support of Jewish ghetto communities. Thus, 'even during the creation of the Judenrate and in the first stages of their activities, there was, within the Jewish population, a tendency to oppose these institutions and not to participate in their establishment. Feelings of opposition to the Councils surfaced and increased with the continuation of the activities of the Judenrate, when the suspicions of circles of opposition showed themselves to be correct in their opinion'. Opposition to the Judenrate and their executive arm was largely due to 'general reasons stemming from the character of this institution, and local reasons which were a result of local conditions'. The latter refers specifically to the social and moral character of the members of the given Judenrat, the relationship between the local German authorities and the Council, as well as other circumstances which varied from ghetto to ghetto.

Organized resistance to the Judenrate was neither uniform nor widespread across Jewish ghettos as some Councils took a decidedly negative stand towards armed resistance in the ghettos or to flight into the forests to join the partisans. Trunk maintains that this was 'the attitude of the majority of the Judenrate. However, other Councils sympathized with the underground resistance groups in their ghettos, and tendered both moral and material support. There were even Council members who actively participated in acts of resistance in the ghettos in the final phase. Lastly, some chairmen took an ambiguous attitude towards this problem' (22).

4. Was the Judenrat a Conscious or an Unconscious "Tool" of the Nazi?

Having dealt with some of the dynamics that prevailed during the life of the Jewish leadership councils, we now turn to the central question of whether the Judenrate served as effective implementers of Nazi policies and desires. Hilberg's analysis leaves little or no room to pronounce the Judenrate not guilty as charged. We should point out that although he protested - during the ensuing debate - that the conference organizers had given him the title of his paper, Hilberg was not persuaded to soften or abandon his conclusion i.e. the Judenrate served the needs and interests of both Nazi and Gestapo systems. Yet Hilberg approached his subject with a great deal of caution and circumspection. While acknowledging the obstacle posed by Jewish sensitivity to the subject of the Judenrate, Hilberg had to deal with the more intrinsic problems stemming from the fact that information about the Councils is generally disconnected and unbalanced.

On the basis of information at his disposal, Hilberg argued that the Jewish communities and the Nazi German state were worlds apart, 'but in the course of the ghettoization process, the institution of the Judenrat makes its appearance at the interface between them. In a formal sense, the Councils were supposed to monopolize contacts between the Jewish population and the German machinery of destruction. They were organizationally a link in the communication chain. It is they who expressed Jewish needs to the 'authorities' and it is they who transmitted orders from above to Jewish families and individuals. To appreciate that function at all, one should therefore keep in mind both the needs and the orders, the degree of Jewish deprivation and suffering, and the nature of German decisions not to speak of actions taken by collaborating non-German ministries, commissariats, and municipalities in occupied and satellite countries (17).

Hilberg points out that noting the administrative placement of the Councils in the larger structure is a key prerequisite for any exploration of Judenrate 'activities, but the sheer depiction of lines and channels will yield only a motionless, static picture, without a sense of the accentuation and intensification of anti-Jewish measures as they occurred from month to month. We must accordingly specify a second requirement for our analytical effort, and that is a visualization of the Councils in the context of an evolving destruction process. The Germans, after all, developed their assault on Jewry step by step, and to them the Councils were primarily a control mechanism to be employed in an intermediate stage. In German eyes at any rate, the segregation of the Jews was not an end in itself.

Hilberg argues that in view of the reasons just stated, Jewish scholars must approach these events with two ingredients in mind, one 'spatial,' the other transformational over time. In other words, scholars must ask themselves 'not simply what the Councils were at the outset, but what they were to become in the end. The Jewish Councils became a German tool as a consequence of their origin, condition, and strategy. That is a large statement, bridging a variety of Councils in various parts of Europe, and blotting out considerable differences between them. It is a generalization which holds that from the beginning virtually all of the Councils were placed into an irreversible position, regardless of the thoughts or perceptions of their leaders. Of course, local particularities had a great deal to do with the dependence of a Jewish community on its Judenrat and, for that matter, the relations of a Council with German offices and personnel, but geographic variations, great as they were, did not change the substance of its involvement. The inextricable linkage of the Councils with some German or satellite control organ was the common feature of all of them.

Hilberg asserts that 'the sameness in the history of the Councils should not astonish as they were established in a standard manner, they faced a host of identical problems, and they confronted their overwhelming dilemmas with remarkably similar policies fashioned out of the bedrock of Jewish experience. Crucial is the circumstance that these very factors contained an inescapable contradiction, a fatal paradox. In a word, the problem was that the Councils were serving the German persecutor with their 'good' qualities as well as the 'bad,' therefore their positive attributes and achievements became functional in the overall German design.

According to Hilberg, the mode in which the Councils were installed is another of the factors that must be taken into consideration. The Judenrate 'derived their authority from German decrees or, in the satellite countries, from ordinances of collaborating governments. A basic rule, in every case, was the specification that directives had to be carried out promptly and with exactitude, no matter whether they were anticipated or handed down in peremptory fashion, and regardless of whether their contents were beneficial, innocuous, or disastrous. Theoretically, the principle might apply even in a situation where no means were given to carry out an assignment. The Councils could petition for alleviation or postponement, but they were expected to accept denial and not to protest it.

Many times, in many places, the Councils were thereupon required to perform acts that were integral steps in the implementation of destructive operations: registrations for housing or ghettoization, statistical and other informational reports, taxation or sequestrations for German uses, wall building, notification of victims to report for labor or 'evacuation,' even the compiling of transport lists, as well as roundups conducted by Jewish police. In this direct sense, the requirements of the perpetrators rendered the Councils into implements of the German will almost as soon as they were Councils to which orders could be given (17).

Another point made by Hilberg is that the 'symbol of German authority did not divest the Councils of their authentic Jewish roots. On the whole, the Jewish leaders under the Nazis were not personalities newly arrived at the field of action; frequently they were the pre-war chairmen of communities, or deputies or stand-ins for those who had 'deserted' or fled from their posts. If, in the turmoil of a German occupation, they were not exactly volunteers, neither were they hand-picked collaborators. Equally, they do not qualify as a group for selection as either the best, most heroic most martyred element of Jewry or, for that matter, the least prepared, least able, least virtuous segment of the community. They were, if anything, somewhat representative of the political culture of the time, in that many of the Council members had been 'prominent' in some of the endeavours that had always been valued in the Jewish community. The vast majority of them maintained tangible ties with Jewry or at least represented it vis-à-vis the outside world. They were merchants symbolizing Jewish success, professionals exemplifying Jewish intellect, rabbis incorporating the Jewish past, or perhaps welfare officials and other bureaucrats whose careers had been identified with some Jewish cause. They were therefore plausible, genuine Jewish leaders even if their stationery stamped them as 'elders' in a Judenrat.

It is, according to Hilberg, the 'authenticity of the councils which made them all the more lethal. In all of Europe, the quislings were openly identified with the Germans, but in the Jewish community the Council members were always regarded as a part of Jewry, even if they passed on calamitous German orders or dispatched Jewish Police into Jewish homes to arrest recalcitrant taxpayers or reluctant deportees'. Throughout his paper, Hilberg cites several instances or events that help to make the charge that the Judenrate were not only tools of the Nazi machine but that they were, in instances, consciously aware of what they were doing. Certain Jewish leaders went out of their way to defend their wrongful actions. In addition, ordinary members of Jewish ghettos were aware of acts of betrayal that certain of their leaders were engaging in. As Hilberg said, everyone could see now that some of these leaders were playing the role of messengers of the Gestapo. Thus, their attempts to justify or explain their suspicious conduct were believed by those, within the community, who possessed the 'naiveté of athletes.

Hilberg points out that the fact that although sections of the community saw through their leaders' unsavoury conduct, this did not deter Jewish Councils from 'again and again making implicit appeals to Jewish men and women for trust'. In essence, the Judenrate kept vital information from members of their community. They repeatedly claimed that their actions were fully transparent and above board. As Hilberg says, they used terms such as 'open' and 'unambiguous' – meaning that 'nothing was being held back. The Jewish population was to carry out all instructions. No one would be arrested simply for being Jewish'. Yet, barely two months later, the Hungarian transports were on their way to Auschwitz. Once more, a Council had used its image, which was now a tool in itself, serving German interests and blocking Jewish escape.

In defence of his point about the Judenrate being Gestapo tools, Hilberg observes that 'government is not merely the issuance of orders or the open application of compulsions; it is also a mechanism for responding to people in need. The Jewish Councils, particularly in Eastern Europe, were governmental entities, and the Jewish communities under their care were highly dependent on assistance and relief. Often the Councils were suppliers of these essentials; it is to the Councils that destitute or desperate people turned for a job, an apartment, or a loaf of bread. And as soon as they did so, they could find the Council manipulative and bureaucratic. The ghetto inmate had to stand in line, his life was filled with identity cards, fees, chicanery - all of the grinding experiences of men and women exposed to procedures, rules, or whim'. Thus, viewed from below, the ghetto offices seemed to be clogged with the rising tide of pleas for favours, privileges and grants. But dependency did not stop at the door of the Council chairman. He in turn had to appeal to 'supervisory authorities' for much that he was expected to deliver. All the way to the top, that was a situation in which inactivity - the opposite of decision - spelled death' (17).

Hilberg maintains that the 'Councils themselves could easily become psychological captives of the perpetrator. The very setting of their official activities was conducive to a state of institutionalized subservience. They were either waiting for word or rushing an assignment to completion, or rhythmically preparing monthly reports. On occasion they wanted to be backed by their German supervisors before imposing a new regulation on the community, and sometimes they might seek an expression of German approval for work they had already done. If the Councils appeared two-sided to the Jewish population, a similar image could sometimes be conveyed by the German administration to the Councils. The German supervisor was not always a taskmaster, he could also be a patron. Gestures and concessions were thus never bona fide acts of support. Benefits accorded by a German - whether they were imagined, contingent or real - were always misleading and disorienting. They fostered fantasies, occasionally producing a Jewish leadership that was in a trance at the controls.

The foregoing analysis leads Hilberg to conclude that 'the duality which pervaded the Councils in their origin and functions turned out to be a fatal combination. Seemingly contradictory elements were fused: Jewish authenticity aided German authority; bread, soup kitchens, and sewing machines became fasteners in the German destructive machine. The most far-reaching involvement, however, was a consequence of the strategy of the Councils'. Consequently, captive members of Jewish ghettos pursued the 'policy of salvation through work'. In other words, both the Judenrate and ordinary Jewish men and women preoccupied themselves with decision-making involving the minor and mundane activities of daily life. This is a condition Hilberg describes as 'minimization'.

Caught in such a situation, the Judenrate 'tried to postpone disaster or, failing in that attempt, to reduce its extent. They cautioned against provoking the Germans and sought out ways to create work projects that would make as many Jews as possible indispensable to the war economy. The effort played into German hands. The perpetrators too had a minimization strategy. They wanted to reduce their costs to a minimum, keeping guard forces small, and exploiting scarce Jewish labor until the last moment. The Jewish and German policies, at first glance opposites, were in reality pointed in the same direction (17).

Thus, looked at from the point of view of Nazi Germany, the Councils or Judenrate were clearly tools created for the purpose of maintaining order and mobilizing the Jewish community for German ends. They were all the more effective to the extent that they were authentic, concerned, and compliant. Hilberg adds further that 'we might add that often enough the Councils were necessary tools, that they relieved a burden on an overtaxed German apparatus, that in supplying information, money, police, and labor they performed tasks for which the Germans themselves did not have sufficient means. By and large, the Gestapo and the civil administration did not finance ghetto walls, did not keep order in ghetto streets, and did not make up deportation lists. They availed themselves of the intermediary structure of the Jewish Councils and offices (17).

Regarding the question whether or not Jews and their leadership Councils were themselves conscious of being a tool, Hilberg's answer is that the matter should be dealt with in two parts. The first part must ask the question: tools for what? According to Hilberg, the anti-Jewish destruction process fell into two phases: a preliminary phase during which 'Jews were defined, expropriated, forced into labor projects, and concentrated under Jewish Councils. In the course of the annihilation phase, the occupied USSR was the scene of periodic 'combings' of Jewish communities for mass shootings, while the other areas of Europe were organized for deportations to unspecified destinations: the death camps. That is a chronology in which open measures preceded secret ones. The beginnings, at any rate, were unconcealed (17).

Hilberg states, however, that 'whether Council members themselves believed that they were German implements is quite another matter. They had their reasons - or rationalizations - for being and remaining in office; some of them thought that they had a duty to stay at the helm. Occasionally, they fought hard to maintain their jurisdiction against internal challenges. Sometimes they sought to extend their powers over relatively large areas. In the ghetto, however, the Final Solution was not proclaimed by the perpetrators; it had to be inferred from events. At this point, the Councils had to ask themselves what was transpiring, and why.

Hilberg's analysis suggests that most, if not all, members of the Jewish leadership Councils ought to have known that they were a vital link in the chain leading to gas chambers or labour camps. 'For instance, in the territory wrested from the USSR, all of the Councils were established in the wake of massacres. Death surrounded these ghettos from the day of their founding. If half of a community was destroyed in three successive shootings, perhaps the other half would be left alive. If surrounding ghettos were wiped out, the remaining one might be spared. Never was the past the inevitable future'. The telling point, as Hilberg points out is that although 'the gas chambers were hidden in camps when rumours, signals, or reports were received, the Councils often kept such information to themselves. They did not want to share their apprehensions with the population; they could not cope with disclosures.

Hilberg observes that 'even if the members of a Judenrat were completely sealed in their ghetto, they had to be conscious of the silence. Therefore, the question is not when they knew, or how much they knew, or who knew what. Rather, it is the more fundamental problem of why these men took any action in the absence of detailed knowledge, why they participated in the delivery of victims to the railroad tracks when they had not found out the route of the trains and were not told the last stop.

Hilberg ends his analysis of the role of the Jewish leadership councils with the statement that 'we must not conclude, however, that the Jewish Councils were an aberration, alienated from the Jewish community and from its attitudes or beliefs.

The councils cannot be considered in isolation. They constitute an expression basically of what remained of the confidence the Jews had in Germany even under its Nazi regime. The Jews obediently carried out the various regulations enacted even when at a certain risk they could evade them; they registered when they were required to do so. The Jews of the Netherlands hurried with luggage to embark on the trains carrying them to the East, disbelieving the tales they had been told of death journeys. Even in Warsaw and Vilna, in Bialystok and in Lwow for a long time such reports were discredited. In the final analysis, the Councils succumbed to an illusion. They followed precedents in unprecedented situations. Believing themselves to be leaders, they were led along most of the way. Above them stood a machine of destruction as relentless as any that had ever existed. Below, a ghetto population, clinging to the past held them in place by sheer force of gravity, until death overtook them all.

In closing his rebuttal of criticisms levelled against his paper, Hilberg rhetorically inquired 'Ladies and gentlemen, is it not true; are we not all agreed, that one of the very reasons we study the Holocaust is that we want to understand ourselves, and want to prevent even the slightest recurrence? How are you going to do it if you do not study what transpired? I honestly believe sir, more and more, that even I, at my age, am too old to believe it, or not to ask certain questions and I look for a younger generation, half my age at the moment, to ask these questions. If you have difficulty with me, watch the next generation' (17).

As intimated at the beginning of the review on the role of the Judenrate, the assertions made during Hilberg's presentation provoked a barrage of criticisms and accusations.

While comments from the floor tended to be highly negative and almost personal, the reactions of scholars who were present among the audience tended to be somewhat measured. Thus, Sarah Neshamit suggested that Jewish scholars were not 'really able to evaluate and judge the Judenrate'. Her contention is that while they should judge the Judenrate, Jewish scholars should take into consideration a theory that one should not evaluate or judge because this was an inhuman situation. Given this theory, Neshamit argues 'one must evaluate; one must judge and draw conclusions. We must not shrink from learning and telling the truth about this period. We learn history in order to judge, to evaluate and to draw conclusions. What has been said here is true: if we are to evaluate and judge, we shall not do so in the Nazi style, we shall not generalize, but we shall go to the heart of the matter. Not only do we have to treat every Judenrat separately, but also all the members of the Judenrate individually, for there were also different sorts of people in the Judenrate, and quite often there were arguments and tensions among them.

Neshamit (17) also points out that in their judgement of the Judenrate, scholars must 'judge the Judenrate according to two criteria. We cannot judge according to how matters turned out, for as has been stated by the lecturers, the results were not dependent on the actions, intentions, and desires of the members of the Judenrate, but were due mainly to the actions of the Germans and their helpers of various nationalities. Let us therefore judge the Judenrate according to their attitude towards the Jewish resistance movements, and according to their personal behaviour in the ghetto'. Neshamit also argues that Jewish scholars need to consider, in their judgement of the Judenrate, the views of 'ghetto survivors and of those who did not survive but left written accounts' of the actions, conduct or behaviour of individual members of the Judenrate. Therefore, 'after close examination of the behavior of the members of the Judenrate, which determined to a great extent the atmosphere in the ghettos, and especially in the large ghettos, it has become clear to me that there was a large gap, a veritable abyss, between the Judenrat and the masses. Among the members of the Judenrat, there were those who led corrupt lives, while the bodies of dead children lay in the streets.

A few scholars stood up in defence of Hilberg while others sought to draw attention to the aspects of Jewish scholarship that were closer to their hearts. For instance, Yisrael Gutman's answer to critics who suggested that instead of generalization, the analysis of the Judenrat should instead study each Judenrat as well as each member of the leadership for purposes of separating the good from the bad leaders. Gutman's response was that 'an analysis of people according to their personal characteristics still does not show everything about the nature and character of the society in which they are working (17).

Gutman (17) also said that it 'is correct that the heads of the Judenrate in their attempt to rescue a part of the ghetto population came to denounce people. The truth is that many Jews were a party to this attitude. It is questionable whether we are not making things easy for ourselves by throwing the entire blame onto the heads of the Judenrate. It is true that there were men among the heads of the Judenrate who had what one speaker had referred to as 'a Messiah complex''. According to Gutman, the Judenrate 'obviously held the largest share of responsibility'.

Another contributor to the debate, Dov Levin (17), made the observation that 'to make a complete reckoning, one cannot grant a general pardon to all the Judenrate. Just as they were totally condemned thirty years ago, the pendulum is not about to swing over to the other side to such an extent that there are exaggerations. Much has been said here about ethical problems, and use has been made of the phrase 'trading one life for another,' but the problem of the survival of one person leading to the death of another did not arise - that was not the situation. The situation as they understood it was of total extermination or partial survival'.

5. Rebuttal Arguments on the Role of the Judenrate

As intimated at the beginning of the review on the role of the Judenrate, the assertions made during Hilberg's presentation provoked a barrage of criticisms and accusations. Comments to points raised during audience participation add more weight and emphasis to assertions that were made in favour or against the Judenrate. By and large, the consensus among presenters and participants from the floor appears to have been that the Judenrate had neither the solution nor the way out of the situation they found themselves in. Those who attempted to deflect the ethical culpability of the Judenrate, by alleging methodological or related flaws in the review of the Judenrate were put in their intellectual place i.e. they were informed that it was time that Jewish scholars pronounced judgment on the conduct and behaviour of the leadership.

In defence of his own paper, Hilberg rebuffed critics who suggested that the scholar should consider modifying his methodology in order to accommodate difficult morality and ethical sensitivities such as those associated with the Holocaust. Addressing himself to his critics, Hilberg stated that the 'other reason is that when we deal with options, most particularly options that existed in the past rather than the future, we are dealing with a methodological problem of the greatest magnitude, which I call the historical if. What would have happened if something else had not happened'. With regard to the issue of what other options there were during the period of the Judenrate, Hilberg retorted that 'the question which is so troublesome, so difficult, perhaps even inadmissible is that we deal with a sequence of steps in such a way that if step one is taken, one becomes a prisoner of that step; if step two is taken, one becomes a prisoner of step two; if step three is taken, one becomes a prisoner of step three.

Hilberg went on to state that there are traditions of teaching in the Jewish community. These teachings and traditions were 'fashioned out of an experience, long in duration, but not a Holocaust experience. It is precisely honour, in the rawest sense of the word, chivalry, outmoded ideas of an earlier century; precisely those things that one must use in such situations. After all, why resist? Quick death is easier than prolonged death. Why resist, why tell people that they're going to die? It's obvious. If a handful of people resist in a ghetto where there are still many men, women and children, the resisters may yet survive and the men, women and children will have to pay the consequences. I know that. But there is something which is equally important. You have so repeatedly asked why it is that the world outside watched and did nothing. Why is it that even Jewry in London and New York seemed unaware of what was going on? Even here in Jerusalem, it took no action. Action must begin somewhere, with something tangible, concrete, crass.

Continuing to defend the core point of his paper, Hilberg stated that 'if I sound crass to you, it is because the subject matter demands crassness. I would prefer subtlety; I would prefer irony myself, crassness is not my style. You ask, 'What options, sir?' I am a political scientist and in America we have developed theories of games, strategies, options, and alternatives. We make a study of them, we make a science of them, but the theory of games is quite simply this: one must know one's options and one must know what one wants. It is not enough merely to know what one wants if one does not know the options. No theory provides options. Options arise in the environment, in history. It is not possible to take action if one does not have intelligent information, if one has no warning of things to come. Those of you in the military, you know that. If you do not ask questions very early, if you do not ask them very specifically, if you do not divert a very tiny part of your resources to finding out what is going on, in time you will be surprised, you will find that you have no options. You will find that you cannot do anything (17).

Hilberg claimed that because he had studied the diary of a member of a Judenrat he knew 'what went on in the mind of one man, day after day after day, and I know why he was not thinking along those lines at all. He was not thinking of saving the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto for all time, he was thinking of saving one Jew and another Jew and a third and a fourth and a fifth until he could not count any more, for twenty-four hours. Short range decision-making, short range, that was the clue, not long range thinking.

6. The Judenrate Debate: an Eye-opener for a Post-Apartheid Debate

A review of the debate and literature dealing with the behaviour and conduct of Jewish leadership during Nazi Europe helps to shed some light on the impact of South African Jewish leaders' decision neither to support nor condemn, publicly, aspects of the apartheid project. The proceedings of The Third Yad Vashem International Historical Conference has dealt, in some depth, with a range of issues that Jewish scholars in the diaspora find rather too difficult or morally sensitive to have to ask about whether Jewish leaders, under Nazi rule, were right or wrong in allowing themselves to serve in the Judenrate. These questions are similar to those that have to be put to survivors of apartheid, especially members of the black majority.

Our belief is that, beyond the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, many and different communities within South Africa have yet to embark on the painful road that leads to meaningful and lasting forgiveness and genuine reconciliation. This is not to say that the government-sponsored process of public and full disclosure - by perpetrators of human rights violations and other kinds of categories of serious crime – has all been in vain. The truth of the matter remains that the majority of South African citizens have, repeatedly, expressed misgivings about the fullness and genuineness of aspects of the government-sponsored programme. To this day many feel the process lacked a sense of personal urgency and exculpation. It was as if the entire process focussed on a specific brand of human rights violations, for example those acts of criminality that were occasioned by political conviction or ideology.

Consequently, members of hitherto desegregated communities or groups harboured a sense of guilt for unjust behaviour or events they now believe they should not have done, should have avoided doing or prevented from happening. We are talking here about acts of moral culpability. These are things or activities that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's mandate and resources did not entertain. Almost a decade after the demise of officially regulated apartheid, members of many South African ethnic groups continue to hope and wish that someone will launch a programme that will enable individual South Africans to come forward with their personal stories of moral culpability to exculpate themselves of the moral debt they believe has yet to be settled. Failure to provide such an outlet will only prolong the true commencement of a genuine and lasting healing process.

As matters stand, many South Africans – at the personal level – continue to protest that this or that race or ethnic group continues to pursue life as if apartheid was still around. For many victims of apartheid, the everyday reality is that while apartheid may have been declared dead in the Constitution, it is very much alive and kicking in many areas of black-white interface across the face of South Africa. For this reason, people who continue to be confronted by incidents of subtle or covert racism believe that something ought to be done to help the healing process to take root. This sentiment is heightened by incidents of serious inter-race barbarism that, from time to time, reach the front pages of our newspapers.

Unlike most South African communities who have been waiting for something to happen, scholars and the leadership of the South African Jewish community decided – as early as the 1990s – to conduct their own in-house soul searching around their own associations with apartheid. This process has resulted in some highly dynamic and robust debate around the issue of Jewish leaders' moral culpability vis-à-vis their reluctance or inability to raise either their collective voice or hand against apartheid and its denial of human rights to the majority black population. It is to be hoped that black readers of this study will draw the requisite inspiration from the spirited Jewish debate to embark on what is truly a long overdue inter-black as well as intra-African introspection.

To return to the Jewish leadership during the Holocaust, it should be pointed out that the debate around this issue holds important lessons for black South African scholars and the intelligentsia who have, to date, elected neither to debate, reflect nor write about their experiences. As one of the Jewish scholars suggested, Jews love to write about their history because they have suffered so much. Given that Africans share an almost similar history of suffering and spoliation, is it not time that they, too, start writing about their experiences instead of allowing other people to write for them about themselves? The Jewish example has illustrated that although debates about issues surrounding Holocaustal experiences remains difficult and painful, such debate should and must be allowed to run its course. In his opening remarks to the first session of the third Yad Vashem Conference, Louis de Jong (23) stated that the subject of the role, conduct and behaviour of Jewish leadership during the Holocaust is 'without doubt the most difficult, the most intricate, and the most painful element of the entire theme of the Holocaust.

De Jong wrote that Jewish scholars and leaders needed to be engaging in 'an agonizing reappraisal of the role of Jewish leadership, insofar as it existed during the period of the Holocaust. What we are doing in fact is talking about the Germans, the Nazis, the exterminators on one hand; and the Jews of Europe on the other…What was the attitude of the Jewish Councils? Should they have offered more resistance?' The time has come for black South Africans – across African townships, coloured ghettos, and Indian suburbs - to ask similar questions about the conduct and behaviour of those of their leaders who were enticed to serve in such apartheid-sponsored structures and institutions as 'homeland' governments, the tricameral structures, or the Urban Bantu Councils.

One of the most important lessons to be adopted by black South Africans wishing to analyze or critique the conduct and behaviour of leaders of their communities – regardless of their political status – lies in adopting a bold yet professional approach to the matter. The scholars have to learn the difficult art of addressing sensitive questions about issues and personalities whose community standing are generally considered somewhat above censure. Both the issues and the personalities are treated as if they belong in a moral class of their own: they cannot be criticized without the risk of endangering one's reputation or person. With a similar challenge in mind, Joseph Walk (24) in his paper on The Religious Leadership during the Holocaust, stated 'I have a personal and conscious preference for a leader who is willing to assume responsibility for his entire community, and reject the approach which attempts to transfer the burden of responsibility' (24).

7. Concluding Remarks to the Third Yad Vashem

In delivering his concluding remarks to the conference on the subject of Patterns of Jewish Leadership in Nazi Europe, Yehuda Bauer (17) asks the questions whether or not there was a Jewish leadership during the Holocaust. Bauer concludes that although the opinion had been expressed that there was no Jewish leadership within the barbed wire enclosure, such an assertion does not stand up to a circumstantial investigation of the approach. The nub of Bauer's remarks is that 'there was a leadership within the enclosure too; it was accepted as such by the Jews and, in a strange and perverted fashion, by the Germans as well. The fact that this leadership in the majority of places possessed no alternative for deliverance and survival is immaterial. The Judenrate as a whole were groups of Jewish men who tried to act for the good of the community over which they were appointed according to the best of their understanding and under impossible conditions. Thus, the theme of our discussion is not only legitimate but extremely important for our understanding of ourselves.

In response to those who claimed Jewish scholars have no moral right to consider this subject, Bauer (17) states that 'but this is just where the trouble lies: if we seriously intend to refrain from passing judgment, we must stop studying these events entirely, for every historian judges whether he will or not, through the very selection of the facts which he recounts. The picture which is created by this choice and the outline of the connection between the facts of necessity influences the opinion of the reader and listener. Furthermore: the criteria for our discussion cannot be legal because there is no human law which can be applied to the historical problems which we have been charged to analyze. It is moreover based on an ever-growing consensus between Jewish historians and their non-Jewish colleagues who specialize in these fields. The responsibility is terrible. We have no right to judge; nobody authorized us to do so: we judge without being appointed for the task, because we have no alternative. The fact that we are doing this is bad enough: there is no need to aggravate the situation by a hypocritical statement that we shall not pronounce judgment, for whoever swears that he will not adjudicate when he considers the Judenrate, swears falsely.

In order to retain clarity and accuracy of the proceedings of the Third Yad Vashem, we reproduce an edited text of Bauer's closing remarks (17). In essence, Bauer asserts that it seems that in recent years there has been an inclination in Judenrate research to differentiate between two main levels of discussion. At the centre of one level is Raul Hilberg's approach which considers the Judenrate to be part of the German bureaucracy. From this point of view, the Judenrate appear as organizations established by the Germans in order to help them carry out their programmes with regard to the Jews - whether these were programmes for deportation, starvation or exploitation or, in the second stage, programmes for murder. Considered from this angle of approach, the manner in which the Judenrate were set up is of secondary importance: i.e. whether the Judenrate were a continuation of the former Jewish community is unimportant as long as they fulfilled the function designated for them by the Germans. Heydrich's directive of September 1939, clearly stated that the Judenrate were to be composed of the remaining influential personalities and rabbis. The integration of the Judenrat into the system of orders and directives, i.e. into the framework of the Nazi administration, was what counted.

From the point of view of the Hitlerite bureaucracy, it made no difference whether the Judenrat succeeded in lightening the burdens of the Jews. The Judenrat, in acting for the good of the community, also fulfilled a function within the framework of the Germans' policy. As long as the food ration did not exceed the amount allowed for; as long as the quantity of forced labor was delivered as required; and so long as the Jews obeyed the Germans' orders, the latter were not, in principle, interested in what went on inside the Jewish community. Whatever the subjective attitude of the members of the Judenrate might have been, they were fulfilling the function designated for them in the framework of the German bureaucracy, according to the essential definition of their role. Insofar as they did not fulfill their function and clashed with the Nazi government, they were removed and replaced. The Judenrate either fulfilled the function appointed by the Germans or did not function at all. Hilberg's analysis has some very important virtues. Firstly, it stresses that the Germans were solely to blame for the murders.

Contrary to some of his interpreters, Hilberg blames the murderer for the murder and not the victim. It is difficult to overestimate the importance of this point since many people, when analyzing the methods of certain Judenrate, draw conclusions from which it might almost be inferred that the Jews killed themselves. Hilberg points out the Judenrat's weakness, its inability to hit back, its submission to dictation and power, and, in many cases, its spinelessness and disastrously blind obedience, but he does not hold the Judenrat responsible for murder - that responsibility is laid entirely on the Germans. Hilberg's analysis of the role of the Judenrate leads to a very interesting conclusion: he deduces that in order to succeed in the face of the Nazi bureaucracy, an organization would have had to be established - that is, the nucleus at least, of a bureaucracy – which would have stood in opposition to the Nazi organization. This process can be clearly seen in the preparations for the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto. As long as the Germans ruled the ghetto through the Judenrat, there was, in fact, no possibility of effective resistance.

The Jewish Fighting Organization began its battle by undermining the position of the Judenrat within the ghetto. Relatively quickly, it pulled the ground from under the German government structure in the ghetto, which worked by means of the Germans' Jewish vassals. The direct German supervision in the ghetto proved far less efficient than the former system which was based on the Jewish Police and Judenrat departments. The removal of the Judenrat's real authority from the streets of the ghetto allowed a relative freedom of movement, the mobilization of substantial funds, and psychological control of the population. The mechanism of the Jewish Fighting Organization replaced the administration of the Judenrat.

Against the German bureaucracy an alternative organization arose, which alone was capable of embarking on a violent struggle. It seems from what Hilberg says that an alternative organization under the conditions of the Nazi dictatorship could only have been one which had entered into, or intended to enter into, a violent confrontation with the Nazi regime. We have seen an example of this in what has been said here concerning the Minsk ghetto, where the Judenrat became part of the machinery of the armed resistance. Hence the theory which runs through Hilberg's important book like a scarlet thread - that the only way to resist the Nazis was by violence, and violence alone.

Another very important point arising out of Hilberg's analysis is that whatever the Judenrate did in order to lighten the burden of the ghetto inmates cannot be considered important as it was only a palliative in the framework of the Nazi programme. The latter ended in mass murder, and in comparison with this end result, the lightening of the burden (which occurred in the more fortunate cases) has no historical significance. The Judenrat was part of the Hitlerite bureaucracy; whether it provided medical services or social assistance in the historic journey to the graves, at mass shootings, or the gas chambers is immaterial, even from the point of view of Jewish history.

The Judenrat did not only have the task of carrying out the Nazis' policy with regard to the Jews; as one of the branches of the German bureaucracy, it also played an important role in Nazi efforts to deceive the victims. Again, the subjective wishes of the members of the Judenrate carry no weight in the face of the crucial question: did the Judenrate perform their function as a misleading and deceptive instrument? If so, then they facilitated the execution of the policy which ended in murder. The fact that in many cases the members of the Judenrate were unaware of their role may inspire us to a sympathetic understanding of their tragic situation, but is quite unimportant as regards our view of their objective role in the framework of the Nazi regime.

An angle of approach which differs from Hilberg - and is perhaps not as well-known as it should be - finds expression particularly in research carried out in Israel, echoes of which have been heard in this conference. Here, particular cases were examined, rather than sweeping generalizations. The Judenrate, on the whole, are regarded as an expression of the Jewish community's desire to conduct its affairs within the framework of a hostile regime whose exact intentions were unknown. The questions which arise do not concern the intentions of the Germans. Contrary to the Judenrate in their first stages in office, we know nowadays what these intentions were; it is generally accepted that the Judenrate fulfilled a role in the Nazi mechanism which they were unable to avoid.

The question is, did they attempt, in the circumstances, to defend the community over which they were appointed, by non-violent or even violent means? The problem posed is whether they were faithful representatives of the affairs of the Jews: we are, in fact, posing questions concerning their moral approach. The murderer killed, and the blame undoubtedly rests solely and exclusively on him. The final result is also known; but the question is what the Jews did before they died, what their leadership did in order to protect them. To what extent, in the lives and deaths of these 1eaders, did values emerge which can be identified as part of the Jewish tradition, in whatever way the latter may be interpreted? To what extent can one identify the principles of other traditions to which these people subscribed?

To those who suggested that questions about the Judenrate could not be answered by simplistic generalizations, Bauer countered with the view that the answer did not lie in the examination of each locality and each Judenrat separately. It would appear that it is considering two very different aspects of the problem. One aspect is comparative: how did the leaderships of other nations behave under the Nazi occupation? The works of Professor De Jong and Dr. Michman among others support the opinion that under the conditions of the Nazi occupation, the frameworks of the local governments became part of the ruling German bureaucracy. Insofar as they did not conform, they were replaced; or else they stood in violent opposition to the Nazis and were suppressed. In principle however, and in general, apart from a few exceptions, the government structures in Holland, Belgium, France, Czechoslovakia, the Ukraine and Poland, like the Judenrate, obeyed the orders of the Nazi conquerors.

The second aspect is the historical Jewish point of view. The murder of the Jews is undoubtedly part of world and German history; or, if we wish, part of the history of the relationship of the nations to the Jews. However, the Holocaust of European Jewry is also a part, and a very central part, of Jewish history. This history deals with an active factor in the annals of mankind, i.e. the Jewish people; and it deals inter alia with the relationship of the Jews to the other nations, or with the Jewish reaction to the attitude of others towards them. It is also concerned with the attitude of the Jews towards themselves. Viewed from this angle, the end result of the Nazis' Jewish policy becomes a tragic historical fact, but the problems of Jewish history are not thereby solved.

The problems of Jewish history lie, inter alia, in what the people did while they were still alive. Since they were in the hands of a government which was a thousand times stronger than they, and in Eastern Europe were situated in an environment which was either apathetic or hostile, and in all events among peoples who were also in the hands of an oppressive occupying regime, the importance of their subjective intentions and moral attitude increases, especially against the background of the helplessness of the Jews. This is so even when attempts at rescue could not possibly yield any practical results.

It seems that nowadays it is possible to draw one quite unequivocal conclusion - namely that there is no room for any sort of generalization regarding either the internal or the external policy of the Judenrate. The second conclusion, which follows from the first, is that there is no correlation between factional or ideological affiliations of the Judenrat and its general behavior. These negative conclusions, drawn from research, are extremely important. They stand in glaring contradiction to what can be called the historical consciousness which exists among non-Jews and Jews, including Israeli Jews too, in this matter.

As against the anti-Judenrat approach which was adopted as a matter of principle and which turned the very word 'Judenrat' into a sharply derogatory term, a super-apologetic attitude is arising nowadays which understands everything and forgives everything, especially in the light of the mystification process which is on the increase with respect to the whole subject of the Holocaust. The Holocaust took place, as it were, outside the bounds of time and place - it is becoming a meta-historical phenomenon and the attitude towards it is becoming liturgical. According to this attitude, post-Holocaust generations have no right to consider problems of intent and communal responsibility during that period because all the victims of the Holocaust are holy and there is no difference between them.

This superficial approach is expressed by flooding everything in a mystical light and sometimes hides an emotionalism which is far removed from what Emil Fackenheim calls an 'authentic response', i.e. an honest attempt at true understanding; and moreover it frees the Nazis from any real responsibility. For if the Holocaust was something incomprehensible and unfathomable, and a result of forces over which man has no control, then it is clearly those forces which are responsible, and not the German murderers and their allies all their victims are obviously equal.

Finally, 'we are obliged to return to the question of the ethical-communal attitude of the Judenrate. Do we possess suitable yardsticks for a situation of powerlessness in the face of total destruction? Hardly. Yet two considerations might, nevertheless, be able to guide us. One is that in the Holocaust one had to insist not on martyrdom, but on glorifying life itself, as we have already learned from Shaul Esh. The second is that one senses that the uniqueness of the situation produced a new quality of behavior in the case of the Judenrate. This new quality requires a different form of treatment from what we are accustomed to in investigating the behavior of other leaderships under different conditions. I do not mean that the behavior of the Judenrate is totally removed from the traditions of Jewish leaderships in former times and that one cannot find points of contact between the past and the Holocaust. Nevertheless, one must realize that broadening these points of contact is of no avail. We shall have to grapple with the uniqueness of the phenomenon as we must grapple with the uniqueness of the Holocaust as a whole (17).

To conclude, Hilberg says: 'it seems that it would be well if we succeeded in integrating both dimensions of the discussion - the two levels of treatment - so that we see the Judenrat phenomenon both from the point of view of the non-Jewish environment, including the viewpoint of the murderer, as well as from the point of view of the victim and his descendants. I feel that these two angles of approach are legitimate. The Judenrate as a whole did not oppose the Nazis, nor did they cooperate with them in the sense of collaboration - although there were Judenrate at both these extremes. They all formed part of an administrative structure which the Nazis used to further their purposes, and yet revealed an enormous range of actions, activities and attempts, of which not a small part was aimed at relieving the Jewish community or even saving it. As far as the greater part of the community is concerned, these attempts ended in failure; with respect to a small minority - in success. What is important is undoubtedly not to examine the measure of success, but the motives and methods of those concerned (17).

8. Jewish Leadership during the Apartheid Years

For reasons of fairness and equity, it has been necessary to preface the review of the role played by the Jewish community and its leadership in helping to build this country's political economy. This is not another review of Jewish achievements and contributions to the history and evolution of South African society. The statement on the history of South African Jewry is borrowed from a recently published book (25) with scholarly essays by Jewish thought leaders. In their introduction, the editors – Milton Shain and Richard Mendelsohn (25) - express astonishment that barely six years after the introduction of democracy in South Africa in 1994, Jewish scholars found themselves grappling with, in one way or another, the immigration experience, adaptation to the new country and the construction of a new identity, the host society's response to the newcomers, and attitudes toward racism and apartheid. The latter topic, in particular, has become hotly contested, as South African Jews reflect on their individual and collective political behaviour under the old regime.

The current debate about the relationship between Jews and apartheid runs the risk of reducing the history and contributions of South African Jewry to a period in the life of this country that was dominated by a preoccupation with the racist project. Young and impressionable minds are likely to be misled into believing that the history and contribution of Jews to the development and growth of this country was confined to the discovery of precious minerals. The re-casting of South African history should not omit to mention the role that Jewish people played in the activities of the Dutch East India Company, and the subsequent arrival and establishment of a European settlement in and around the Cape of Good Hope.

Writing about the Jews and their links to and involvement in the formation of the Cape Colony, Louis Merriman (26) states that the relief and sustenance of the poor of the Synagogue were drawn partly from the rents of Jewish shareholders in the Dutch East India Company which were so considerable that a communal tax on them formed one of the principal sources of income to the Jewish community in Amsterdam at this period and for long afterwards. The Company's undertakings at this time included the first occupation of the Cape of Good Hope. Thus the Amsterdam Jewish community was concerned with the settlement at the Cape in 1652. The Company founded the settlement, nursed it, administered it, and drew profits from it or sustained losses by it. It may well be that the Jew was not merely the forerunner of the East India Company, but that his genius for commerce continued to be a potent factor in shaping the destiny of Holland and the India Company, and that he thus bore a not negligible share in laying the foundations of the European settlement at the Cape, and hence the subsequent growth of civilisation in South Africa.

The foregoing should serve to inform or remind younger generations of South African students of history and culture that Jewish roots in this country are as old as those of other white settler communities. It is, therefore, incorrect to suggest that Jews only arrived here after the mainstream white or Afrikaner settler community had already sorted out arrangements which installed a dominant white caste that dominated events from the early nineteenth century ending with the collapse of white domination at the close of the twentieth century. Take away the negative elements generally associated with the rise and fall of white settlement in South Africa; South African Jewry has contributed to the making of this country's history and heritage as have all the other elements of the white settler group. Jewish history does not coincide with the discovery and exploitation of precious minerals; the latter merely served to accelerate the flow of mainly Eastern European Jews into modern-day South Africa.

Against the foregoing statement, the dynamics of the history of contemporary South African Jewry are best summed in a statement borrowed from Milton Shain and Mendelsohn who state, inter alia, that the Jewish immigration experience, adaptation to the new country and the construction of a new identity, the host society's response to the newcomers, and attitudes toward racism and apartheid are central to an appreciation of the topic of the contribution and influence Jews have had during the apartheid era. As Shain and Mendelsohn point out, the latter topic, in particular, has become hotly contested, as South African Jews reflect on their individual and collective political behaviour under the old regime.

Shain and Mendelsohn maintain that migration and the challenges posed in the new setting are clearly abiding and important features of the South African Jewish experience. Jews were only able to settle in South Africa in the early nineteenth century in the wake of the British occupation of the Cape. A trickle of English and Central European (mainly German) Jews took advantage of the new opportunities. The Cape Town Hebrew Congregation was established in 1841, preparing the way for congregations in the smaller centres. The discovery of diamonds in the 1860s and gold two decades later attracted an influx of fortune seekers. Their numbers increased with the influx of Eastern European (mainly Lithuanian) Jews escaping oppression and poverty in the Tsarist Pale of Settlement. By the early twentieth century communal institutions had evolved, including the SAJBD (the representative voice of the Jewish community), the South African Zionist Federation, and a range of educational, religious and welfare structures. By 1911 the Jewish population of the country numbered 46 919 or about four percent of the total white population.

As a community built essentially on the great wave of Jewish migration from Lithuania in the four decades prior to the First World War, that experience, including the cultural baggage brought by the newcomers, cannot be ignored in the shaping of their new identity and their behaviour in the new country. It inevitably provides a leitmotif running though this volume. Equally inevitably, contributors differ markedly in the significance they attach to the processes of migration and adaptation. Whatever the differences, however, the connections between the 'old' and 'new' worlds demand exploration, as does the impact of changing cultural and political mores on generations (25).

Given their powerful tradition of analytic and exegesis and interpretation, Jewish scholars and their leadership have had little or no problem understanding what went on before, during and after the institutionalisation of apartheid into the fabric of South African life and work. Equally, they have no difficulty working their way through what lies ahead in a fully-fledged African democracy. Like everybody, Jews are entranced by the unlimited opportunities and possibilities that an unfettered democracy holds for those who choose to secure a permanent stake in Africa's newest open society. And like the rest of the non-Jewish elements within South African society, Jews are understandably apprehensive about the prospect of things going horribly wrong with the new open society project. Like other South Africans everywhere, Jews are petrified by the seemingly unending violence which has directly or indirectly touched the life of every South African.

But true to their well-documented history of persecuted sojournership, Jews are understandably sensitive to societal instability which threatens the cornerstones of viable and productive society, viz. communal and family values as well as the right and freedom to conduct their life within the customs of their religion. Jewish scholars have, in their own way, led and contributed significantly to the rich debate about the future of the post-apartheid society – especially within the context of a fully-fledged democratic, open society. Problems arise at the point in the debate where groups and individuals are required to account for their role or involvement in aspects of the apartheid project. This point of the debate has proved too divisive with the result that groups and individuals appear to have settled their differences on the basis of agreeing to disagree. At the centre of the controversy lies a paradox that is characteristic of Jewish life and history: leadership. The communal leadership has come under severe criticism for failing to maintain the higher moral leadership position that has become synonymous with Jewish effectiveness and impact throughout the world.

Jewish scholars remain divided on whether or not the leadership should have led from the front instead of allowing themselves to be led by the opinions and interests of the community. Much as they are criticized and blamed for having acquiesced to apartheid, the position of Jewish communal leadership must be viewed against the community's long-term obsession with the survival of the group. Those who come to the defence of the leadership are quick to remind their accusers and critics that it would have been foolhardy to do anything that would have provoked apartheid masters to adopt similar retaliatory methods as were being visited on the majority indigenous people.*

The problem that current Jewish scholars are engaged in derives directly from the massive transformational forces that continue to tear through this country's communal and organizational life. As the processes and efforts of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission have demonstrated, regardless of whether their community harboured the perpetrators or victims of the apartheid programme, every community has had to re-examine whatever relationship it might have had with apartheid. There is, of course, the tendency for survivors – and the children of survivors – to find fault with whatever position or strategies were adopted in the face of the pogrom. With the wisdom of hindsight it is easy to say: our people and/or leaders should have done more or known better.

Those familiar with Jewish scholarship readily recognize that the contours of the debate are almost identical with debate that came close to tearing apart post-Holocaust Jewish communities throughout the diaspora. In the latter debate, communal and prominent leadership were heavily censured for choosing not to speak against Gestapo and SS atrocities. Citing Hannah Arerndt's work, Lilienthal (8) makes the point that before the announcement of the extermination programme not only in Germany but elsewhere in Nazi-occupied lands, Zionist leaders were perfectly willing to co-operate with the Nazis so long as 'suitable material' was provided for immigration to their embryo state. The submissive meekness with which the Jews of Europe went to their death can be explained only in terms of the overpowering obsession with Palestine on the part of the only leaders who were able to act to save them, but who simulated rescue while practising statecraft.

9. Jewish Leadership Review of Relations with Apartheid

The history of South African Jewry and its uneasy accommodation of life conditions under apartheid has been well documented. While there is no intention to delve into the history, this section will identify and evaluate how Jewish leadership dealt with the competing needs and interests of diverse groups. The manner in which Jewish scholars have handled their respective arguments – pro- or against the decisions of their leadership – offer immense learning for South Africa's non-Jewish groups that have yet to confront and come to terms with the inadequacies of their own communal leaderships.

It is to be expected that those leading the charge against the lapses of Jewish leadership are scholars or thought leaders who hold views that are highly compatible with the dynamics of the open society that is becoming our society or nation. The scholars see it as their duty to persuade those within their own community who have embraced the post-apartheid way of life but still fail to account for their actions during the apartheid programme. Even within this group, there are slight divisions or differences reading the issue of how far the Jewish community should go in restructuring its relationship with and involvement in an open society. Dennis Davis (9) argues, for instance, that Jews should move out of their insular or particularist community into the open, seamless or boundaryless society. Yet, some of his fellow scholars believe the Jewish community should be allowed the luxury of retaining everything that is exclusively Jewish while, at the same time, they practise or uphold all the requirements of life in an open democracy. This issue is discussed later in this section.

Todd Pitok (27) reminds readers that victims have good memories. The meaninglessness of their suffering is particularly acute if their experience is simply forgotten, so they choose to remember. Jews have often been victims, and as a people, they have a very good memory. They write books and keep good historical records. In contrast to victims, people with a bad conscience have short memories and for this reason they find it difficult to live with themselves. Minorities always worry how they will be seen by the majority. But fear is a bad censor and antisemites will not love you more for hiding, hate you less for telling, nor win any more converts for the things you do or do not acknowledge. Pitok approached his role towards the debate like an auditor who ensures that the reckoning awards credits and debits. His aim was to achieve a balance. He justifies his approach on grounds that to map the future, it is necessary to trace the past. His reasoning is that if every individual is the sum of his or her experience, the same can be said of a community, and a community that never examines its past becomes a community without a future.

Making the case for Jewish thought leaders to treat the matter of Jews and apartheid with honest scholarship, Pitok calls on competing or 'debating' sections of the Jewish community to forego their moral and intellectual rivalries and to find the middle ground. In motivating his position on the issue under review, Pitok states that one does do not expose oneself to convert antisemites. Neither does one hide oneself from them. They are not entitled to that much respect. One writes an honest history not for others but for one's own community. The purpose is to make a marker. Jews are a part of society, and considering their small numbers they have had a remarkable impact on South Africa. With respect to apartheid, they were in turn witnesses, participants, and opponents. Any reluctance to record the community's history, to subject it to any scrutiny, would betray a deep sense of insecurity (27).

In adopting a Solomon-like leadership on the respective points of the debate, Pitok admonishes those who may feel vindicated by the advent of the 'rainbow' democracy not to gloat over the fact that their side was victorious. He sees flaws in the self-congratulatory view, namely, that Jews did more than other whites to fight apartheid. He disapproves of instances where a roll of honour is dusted off and the names of the 'usual suspects' are read aloud as the defendants of the Treason Trial, and so on. As has been the case with Jews who made it in the United States, local Jews who were key and even heroic figures in the struggle against apartheid rarely if ever acted as Jews. Indeed, some, such as Nadine Gordimer, were hostile to Judaism and felt profoundly alienated from the Jewish community. Like many others, Helen Suzman viewed being Jewish as a fact of her existence, like being white. She was neither proud nor ashamed (27).

Pitok maintains that the self-congratulatory view is particularly wrong when one considers that major Jewish communal organisations like the Board of Deputies and the Beth Din never supported Jewish anti-apartheid activities. While Raymond Suttner sat in solitary confinement, no communal howl was heard. The self-flagellating view is that Jews were complicit participants, enjoying the fruits of apartheid while conveniently avoiding, if not shirking, the moral responsibility of opposing it. Several individuals, writes Pitok, have criticised the paradox between the opinions Jews, like other white South Africans, held and how Jews, again like other white South Africans, lived. The criticism is that 'they voted for the Democratic Party and hoped like hell the (white) Nationalists would win.

In Pitok's view, the self-flagellating view is typified by Gordimer who publicly declared that the Jews should have known better than to have been part of the apartheid system. He surmises that Gordimer's reference suggests that Jews have a higher capacity for learning than other human beings. While conditions could dehumanise others to commit bestial acts of violence, Jews should have learned from their own history. A peculiar double standard, to be sure - chauvinism inverted and used as a criticism.

Contrasting the position and structure of American and South African Jewry, Pitok points out that in some respects, the foregoing situation reflects Jewish America which is highly visible in business and industry, the media (except television), law, and medicine. It is also economically engaged, hypersensitive to antisemitism, and confirmed in its dedication to family. The South African Jewish community, on the other hand, is much more cohesive and traditional than that of the United States. Part of the reason for this is demographic. While Americans (and not only Jews) can easily assimilate, South African Jews never had much of a larger mainstream group to assimilate into. More about this point later in the section dealing with the history and dynamics of the relationships between Jewish American and African-Americans.

Another reason, though, is related to apartheid, which dictated that every person belonged to an 'ethnic' community. In America, the cultural force is centripetal, pushing the notion that individuals are inherently similar regardless of their ethnic background. In South Africa, the force is centrifugal, separating each culture and drawing it back unto its own. Every person knows where he or she stands. Jews do not 'forget' they are Jewish in South Africa. That was a 'positive' outcome of a negative system. The other side of the coin is that South African Jews were, by and large, uncomfortable with Afrikaner rule. If they opposed apartheid - and finding South Africans today who say they supported apartheid is as unlikely as finding Americans lauding the war in Vietnam - they did not want to be associated with it. Others felt the Jews' turn would come, that the threat from Afrikaners (or some day, Africans) was so real that South Africa could never truly be a permanent home. The choice facing Jewish South Africans was, and often still is, not whether to assimilate but whether to emigrate. If having the same conversation ad nauseam does not resolve the situation, it is certainly an attempt to clarify it (27).

In Pitok's view, Jews were not mere witnesses to apartheid but apartheid bears testimony to the fact that Jews are morally the same as other people. Perhaps that is a humbling realisation for some. In any case, people are not made more compassionate as a result of oppression. What you learn from pain is that it hurts and it makes you angry, and what you learn from being violated is that you are vulnerable - useless lessons. The Holocaust did not improve Jews morally, and to suggest that it should have done is to suggest that death-camps had a benefit. Of course, the idea that South African Jews, very few of whom experienced the Holocaust at first hand, should have known better is absurd. In the context of apartheid and their relationship to Africans, Jews were by and large just like other whites.

Pitok says, further, that as the history of apartheid gets written, it is not difficult to argue that it is not over yet. Economic conditions have improved for a small number of Africans, and the anecdotal evidence - blacks driving quality cars and living in luxurious northern suburban homes - is deceptive. Many whites, of course, want to be deceived. Mistaking exceptions for the rule is strangely soothing. South Africa will bear the cuts and burns of apartheid for a long time. It is not possible to wipe slates clean; it is only possible to heal. Emotional healing begins with acknowledgement.

Much as the debate on Jewry and apartheid has been blamed for producing mixed reactions within the community, there is little doubt that it has driven Jewish thought leadership into a number of competing camps. Friedman's contribution represents the one end of the debate, i.e. Jews who maintain that the community's leadership should hang its head in shame for decades of self-inflicted silence – even during times when the apartheid project spun out of control. Continuing with the theme set by Pitok, namely, that like their counterparts in the Afrikaner community and the African National Congress (ANC), Jews and their leadership should, once they have accounted for mistakes or omissions committed during the apartheid years, claim for themselves a viable position within the open society. Until this is addressed, credibility will remain illusive for as long as sections of the community's leadership and scholars continue to engage in counter-productive self-congratulatory or self-flagellating intellectual theatrics. As he says, each view contains some truth while being, overall, misleading.

Lumped together under the title of the 'self-congratulatory' scholars are the likes of Arnold Abramovitz (12) and Steven Friedman. It is important, without reproducing their essays in their entirety, to present summations of points or issues that are central to their argument. Abramovitz opens his essay Apartheid Injuries and diaspora Privileges: Facing the Implications by sketching out the structural arrangements under which different racial/ethnic groups were ordered to conduct their lives. This he uses to illustrate how individuals were allowed to negotiate their way through the dynamics of a society that was, essentially, divided into white and black – with nothing in between. Abramovitz points out that under a system he terms a 'totalitarian militocracy', one's life was hemmed in by the narrowest of horizons within which one could be personally subjected to daily hardships and indignities of the grossest kind. If you were African you were allotted a servant-class citizenship and largely restricted to the lowest rung of educational and career opportunities. Jews found themselves lumped together with other privileged white ethnic groups, viz. Afrikaners, English, German and so forth.

Borrowing from various historical records, Abramovitz makes the point that on entering South African society, Jewish immigrants found an existing social and political structure of division - a racial division between black and white and a cultural and linguistic division between English and Afrikaans. Jews became part of the white population group – even though they were not entirely accepted and most became English speaking. These immigrant Jews, who had been victims themselves, knew well what discrimination in one or another form meant. Abramovitz insinuates that having themselves been victims of discrimination, Jews should certainly never have been party to applying to others the same discrimination under which they themselves suffered.

With reference to life within the white Jewish community, Abramovitz makes the point that young Jewish men and women were encouraged to play whatever political role their consciences dictated - provided it was within the framework of the law. Jewish leadership made it abundantly clear that whatever role they chose to play within the apartheid society, Jews were to do so as individuals or specific groupings in the community and not in the name of the Jewish collectivity as such. This statement, as Abramovitz points out, may hide the fact that most of the Jews, along with most other whites, were passive, accommodating supporters of the regime – certainly in the way they allowed themselves to become and remain beneficiaries, on a munificent scale, of a socially unjust system. And among those who were not passive tag-alongs were dynamic, master-class entrepreneurs running operations in an economic environment that could hardly have been seen even by them as being either free or fair. For such 'orthodox capitalists' the kind of wages paid and the kind of working conditions imposed were naturally 'whatever the market could stand.

In the opinion of Abramovitz, the foregoing contradictions have exacted their toll within the Jewish community, particularly among young idealists. But with the numerous options open to them of dropping out, whether from the South African scene or the Jewish religious and cultural scene or both, the tensions have never spilled over into a full-blown community crisis. Jewish emigration has taken place on a considerable scale, a significant minority opting for Israel. For many politically alienated whites, including some Jews, the Afrikaner served as a convenient scapegoat. There was, and still is, a sophistry allowing right-wing Afrikaners to bear all the odium for the prevailing injustices, while the fact that these very injustices continued to operate in favour of their accusers, virtually making them accessories after the fact, was blithely ignored. Blaming the perpetrator while enjoying the fruits of his transgressions is an example of double standards of which most whites in this country are in many ways still guilty. Apartheid no longer features in the country's legislation, but who knows how many generations it will take to root out the structural inequities that previous practices succeeded in ensconcing? In that sense, whites continue to remain under the protection of the apartheid social order.

Abramovitz points to the irony that when the legislation was in place it served to lull even respectable, liberal consciences to some extent: during the apartheid era Jews could claim, as Germans did in the time of Auschwitz, that no laws were broken. For the Afrikaner as for the dutiful Galut Jew, the law was sovereign and unimpugnable. But being an exclusionary racist regime, the white rulers wrote the laws to suit their idiosyncratic construct of social reality. The law itself, to which everyone was subject, systematically enshrined violations of human rights. And it was this law that Jewish communal leaders enjoined their followers not to discredit.

Tracing the role played by the South African rabbinate within the type of society just described, Abramovitz concludes that, tragically, if rabbinate leadership condemned apartheid at all, they certainly failed to do so nearly as strongly as some of their Christian colleagues did. Those Christian denominations that belonged to the South African Council of Churches (SACC) were mostly active in opposing apartheid. However, Jews who in their perplexity looked to their spiritual leaders for civic guidance usually came away with little more than timid rationalisations that echoed what community bodies, chiefly SAJBD, had stipulated: as an individual you have a free conscience, but we cannot, as a religious and cultural collectivity, take any kind of active stand. Abramovitz concedes that notable exceptions in the form of certain 'radical' rabbis spoke out bravely. But these rabbis were sidelined or ostracised. Even rabbis of the few liberal/progressive or 'enlightened Orthodox' congregations were, for the most part, inhibited in their reactions to the prevailing social injustices. Even South African rabbis, as in many other parts of the world, were occupationally at the mercy of their congregations.

Thus, according to Abramovitz, the general failure of South African rabbis to denounce apartheid and enjoin their congregants to be more active in the quest for equity for all, is simultaneously quite at variance with the prophetic injunction, 'Justice, justice shalt thou pursue', and quite consistent with Jewish history in the diaspora of seeking survival by keeping a low profile. Jews are clearly a people with superior moral aspirations; but equally clearly they have learnt to set their sights on the most effective techniques of treading water. While acknowledging that rabbis have been hostage both to their congregations and to the SAJBD, he nevertheless makes the point that they would not wish to be treated as royal game. There is, in any case, such a fundamental rift between them over the appropriate role of a Jewish spiritual leader in an unjust social dispensation that it almost renders comment redundant: merely drawing attention to their own words is nine-tenths of the job.

To conclude, Abramovitz concedes that while he accepts that Jews need not judge themselves by a more stringent criterion than they would apply to non-Jews, he finds it unbecoming that Jews should base their ethical code on a cautious strategy of not doing a whit more than the next group. He queries whether the collective Jewish response measured up to the moral standard of the collective Christian response: even the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK) has done its belydenis. As individuals, Jews had played a conspicuous role. He questions whether, in the face of a slender but redeeming secularity, Jewish synagogues are destined to remain centres of narrow self-absorption.

We now present a significantly paraphrased summary of Steven Friedman's (25) viewpoint based on his essay titled Judaism, Apartheid and the South African Sojourner Myth. Throughout the essay, Friedman forcefully attempts to explode the 'sojournership of Jews' myth, which has influenced the nature and quality of relationships between Jews and the rest of South African society. Friedman presents the view that many within South African Jewish scholarship will find hard it to disagree with the view that Judaism has faced - and is facing - one of its most stringent tests in post-1948 South Africa. This is not a proposition, which has exercised the minds of contemporary Jewish thinkers, here or in other parts of the world. But perhaps the only odd thing about suggesting that apartheid holds implications for Judaism's future is that anyone should find this claim odd: the moral challenge apartheid threw out to Jews and Judaism is perhaps unique - and the response hardly cause for cheer.

To illustrate: the formal end of apartheid in 1994 appears to have entrenched and solidified a collective Jewish South African myth which debases one of Judaism's core themes: the idea of the Jew as a stranger or sojourner in diaspora lands. The South African Jewish myth, much abbreviated, holds that we were never collectively responsible for apartheid and its consequences. It is not far-fetched to suggest that most South African Jews, whether they live here or have moved on, live their lives by a legend which denies any collective Jewish role in apartheid or responsibility for its consequences (25).

The myth begins by assuming that Jewish immigrants settled here not because they were attracted to the prospect of racial supremacy but to seek release from the poverty and degradation of the ghetto. Over time, they found themselves in the midst of a clash between Afrikaner nationalists who, at least until the latter stages of their rule, were hostile to Jews or kept them at arm's length, and their African counterparts. They lived through this drama earning an honest living and cannot possibly be held responsible for the grotesque racial experiment through which they lived. If they share the myth - as the vast majority of South African Jews did and do - they have no particular responsibility for or to the society in which the drama was acted out and are, therefore, free to turn their backs on responsibility for reversing apartheid's effects. The myth is, no doubt, sincerely believed by the majority who live by it. But it is, nevertheless, a lie (25).

In defense of his position, Friedman charges that it is untrue not primarily because Jews 'did not do enough' to resist apartheid. While Jews certainly are enjoined to 'eradicate 'evil rather than to ignore it,' the debate over what constitutes 'enough' resistance - whether it was enough to distance oneself privately and, if not, what form of action was required, is an endless one. But more importantly, no Jew who lived in South Africa during the apartheid period can plausibly claim that his or her circumstances today are not in some measure a result of apartheid. Anyone who succeeded in business benefited from a right to economic activity that was denied others. Anyone who received a professional qualification enjoyed a place at a school or university that was denied to the majority on racial grounds alone. Anyone who enjoyed an authentic Jewish family life did so in a home which persons not classified as 'white ' could neither own nor occupy, save as a hired servant, in which latter case they were not permitted to enjoy a family life of their own. Any member of our community who found a job in a corporation or as a skilled artisan probably occupied a post from which those classified 'not white' were barred (25).

This, of course, touches only on the formal legal stipulations which enabled Jews, along with other South Africans labeled white, to get on in life at the expense of others. Apartheid was more than a set of racial laws: its workings offered whites cheap labour in their homes and factories, subsidized their services and facilities, and in general provided them with every tool for personal advancement that was denied to others. Its effect was to ensure that, at least until apartheid's latter days, few if any whites failed to achieve a degree of affluence as a direct result of the fact that others were forced to live in poverty. This context creates a profound personal and collective responsibility for every apartheid-reared Jew, for it raises the possibility that Jewish attainments today may have been achieved only because of apartheid's role in denying to others what they now enjoy themselves (25).

In the face of anticipated objection, Friedman argues: 'Yes, many Jews who made it during the apartheid era would have done well in countries which allowed equal opportunity to all. Yes, many worked hard to achieve what they now have and employed much natural ability to do it. But can we really say that all of us would be what we are today if apartheid had never existed? Can any one of us, as a matter of principle - since it is impossible to determine how South African Jewry would have fared without apartheid - declare confidently that we enjoy no skills, capabilities and possessions which apartheid gave us? We bear responsibility today, whatever role we played in the past, however many letters we wrote to the newspaper, however many bursaries we sponsored, however civil we were to our workers and servants, because it is possible - indeed probable - that our personal circumstances are products of apartheid. And if we are responsible for this country's past, we are, of course, responsible for its future.

Friedman continues with his argument by posing a rhetorical question: 'why then have we lived by a myth which allows us to escape that responsibility? It may not be too fanciful to suggest that it has something to do with living out a Jewish tradition which has never been applied in circumstances like ours and was, surely, never meant to be applied in them. The notion of the Jew as a 'stranger in a foreign land' watching the passing social and political show with a measure of distance and disdain owes its origin to almost two millennia of exile during which, at least on the level of the collective spirit, we lived where we had to, not where we wanted to. For much of that time particularly in those lands from which most South African Jews travelled here - this sense of exile was very immediate, since it was a response to discrimination and a continuing threat of personal harm. The teaching that we belonged elsewhere was confirmed by harsh personal experience. For many Jews who arrived here, therefore, this was yet another temporary port of call to be departed if hostility should flare anew or, implicitly, if the option of living in the Jewish state which gave the notion of stranger its content ever became a possibility.

Furthermore, contends Friedman, South Africa was, particularly from 1948, to give the idea of the Jew as sojourner a new - and, latterly, perverting - context. 'In time, Jews in several countries or regions - the United States of America, western Europe - came to discard the 'sojourner' theme for it seemed no longer to speak to their circumstances: they found their homes far more congenial than other homes, even when living in an independent state of Israel became a possibility. In these cases, the effect was to call into question the idea of diaspora exile, but not to redefine it. The South African case was different and (almost) unique. For it was only here - and in a few African countries such as the then Rhodesia in which Jews settled - that we found ourselves, for the first time in living memory, full members of a privileged racial caste. In other places and at other times Jews have identified themselves with a ruling élite which was rejected by those over whom it ruled: this was so during periods of Eastern European history and, perhaps, in parts of Latin America.

But Africa in general and South Africa in particular were the first societies in which the elite was defined, legally and formally, on racial grounds and Jews were defined into the ruling caste, albeit grudgingly at first. This played havoc with more than the idea of the sojourner: it turned on its head centuries of Jewish teaching and experience. A South African Progressive rabbi summed up the problem succinctly in the 1980s when he remarked that the community was reliving the Exodus experience, 'only now we are the Pharaoh.

The implications for Jewish practice and attitude were profound. The paradigm in which Jewish life and teaching had developed was one in which we were the victims of the Pharaoh and his many successors. Jews had, for two millennia, related to Divinity and to the world around them through the lenses of what Rabbi Michael Goldberg has called the Exodus 'master story' in which our ethics, our spirituality - and our sense of 'sojournership' had been defined. When a group of Jews were legally classified, through instruments such as the Population Registration Act as card-carrying members of the Pharaonic class, millennia of experience were turned on their head. Honesty would force us to admit that the South African brand of Judaism failed to cope with so novel a challenge (25).

Rabbis remained silent (too vexed by this new context to seek to interpret it?) or found texts which enabled them to offer spurious justifications for Jews' new status. Congregants embraced Judaism as a set of (unevenly observed) ritual practices stripped of all content and, in some cases, energetically resisted any attempts by rabbis to apply Jewish ethics to this unfamiliar terrain. While Jewish involvement in the anti-apartheid movement was out of all proportion to numbers, and support for liberal opposition parties was unusually high, most of the anti-apartheid activists could find no Jewish rationale for their actions and became estranged from their faith; Jewish voters found no particular relationship between their occasional political behaviour and their Judaism (25).

Two harsh conclusions flow from this analysis. The first, applicable to South African Jews alone, was that the gap between social ethics and Jewish expression under apartheid grew ever larger as the system became more entrenched and its benefits to the privileged more evident. The second, relevant to and disturbing for Judaism as a system of belief, is that centuries of teaching and practice notwithstanding, Jews, when given the opportunity collectively to play Pharaoh, slipped into the role with great ease, ignoring their tradition and their history. Clearly, in this part of the world at least, our faith was not robust enough to prevent our playing the role to which Judaism had always offered the antithesis. If the command to 'remember Amalek' is understood as an injunction to guard against discrimination for eternity, this particular, unique, temptation caused us to forget (25).

As Friedman puts it, 'sojournership', as we are now seeing, was a prime victim. What had once been an expression of commitment to an ideal bigger than and beyond individual self-gratification - a Jewish spiritual and political home - became a myth which proclaimed that Jews bore no responsibility for what occurred around them and could depart the context in which they had shared in mastery over others when something more congenial came along. Since the early 1990s this has expressed itself either in a continuing pursuit of personal material acquisition or 'spiritual' self-gratification, oblivious to the human challenge developing in the new South African society: witness the lifestyles of Sandton or the withdrawal into socially insulated religiosity or, of course, into relocation to other English-speaking, affluent societies in which a comfortable lifestyle can be had, almost invariably in exclusively South African ghettos, at little or no personal cost.

Two aspects of this 'reinterpretation' of the sojourner theme are significant. The first is that, as the South African drama has developed, those who seek to move on have been less and less drawn to that destination which is meant to end our sojourner status: South African Jews move to Australia or Canada, not to Israel. The second is that those who do move do not - with some notable exceptions - feel an obligation to contribute anything to the society which they have left. An ex-South African practising medicine in the USA reports, for example, that while Pakistani émigré doctors routinely donate a proportion of their earnings to the medical infrastructure in the country of their birth, their South African equivalents do not. Both observations suggest a common theme: in the peculiar South African circumstances where the Exodus story became inverted, the millennia-old idea of the diaspora Jew as sojourner has become not an expression of a collective spiritual responsibility to an ideal beyond ourselves, but an evasion of moral and Jewish responsibility (25).

This, of course, is only a symptom of a wider problem. Faced with a grotesque example of the sort of social ethics which the Exodus 'master-story' warned against from the time of Judaism's birth, Judaism and Jews failed to find a response which might have contributed to the tikkun olam, to the redemption of the world, to which Jewish life and thought has always been committed. And as long as we continue to evade responsibility, that failure continues. This should concern every Jewish thinker, not only those born under apartheid, because it disquietingly suggests that, despite the grandeur of our teachings and our tradition, we are unable to overcome the temptation of being allowed to act as Pharaoh rather than as Moses. If we could not and cannot pass the tests posed by apartheid and racial supremacy in Rhodesia or some other societies, our hopes of passing other tests of our commitment to practising what we have always preached is greatly diminished (25).

Apartheid is not over - or, at least, its legacy is not - and the challenge of responding to it remains a pressing task for Jewry and Judaism. To ignore the challenge is, perhaps, to concede that Judaism is alive, and can contribute to the redemption of the world, only in congenial circumstances where Jews are either sufficiently oppressed or threatened to live out their faith or sufficiently comfortable to do so. It is, we must hope, not yet too late. For those of us who do bear personal responsibility for apartheid, the beginnings of an answer may lie not in a blueprint of responses, but in a mindset (25).

Since the early 1990s the debate on the South African Jewish future in which many of us have been engaged has been profoundly distorted. It has, in the main, hardly tackled the question of apartheid and its Jewish implications at all. Instead, we have discussed whether South Africa is an appropriate residence for affluent, suburban people. Will crime be controlled? Will the economy grow? Whither the education system and medical care for the well-to-do? This debate is irrelevant in two ways. The first is that agonizing about how many Jews will stay and how many leave misses the point, for it is possible for some to stay and continue to deny responsibility. It is also conceivable - although more difficult for others - to leave and to continue to accept their obligation by contributing money, skills and resources, albeit from afar, to the attempt to build a new society. The second is presupposed by the answer to the first. Viewed from the perspective of Judaism, the debate has nothing to do with the future of suburban lifestyles and everything to do with personal and collective responsibility for righting a wrong to which we were party (25).

Those ranged against the position championed by Friedman and associates hold the view that there is no need for either the Jewish community or its leadership to accept blame, suffer guilt of conscience or seek absolution or forgiveness from anybody because they did no wrong. Hanns Saenger and Joseph Sherman (29) emerge as the collective voice of Jewish thought leaders who take umbrage against criticism or accusations – from within and without – that suggest that Jews did more than stay above the implementation and maintenance of the apartheid project. In their essay Shouting from the Grandstand: By Way of an Afterword, Saenger and Sherman counter with accusations of their own. The language and style of counter-attack adopted by these authors is robust, and uncompromisingly direct. Notwithstanding the severity of the language or the robust personal attacks, the authors back their position with well-researched scholarship. The tactics are identical to those adopted by conservative sections of the American and French Jewry to silence dissension from within the community. The vicious and personal attacks endured by Maxime Rodinson (French) and Lilienthal (American), at the hands of fellow Jews illustrate the point.

Short of identifying their quarries by name, Saenger and Sherman lash out at the positions adopted by the likes of Friedman, Abramovitz and Shimoni in their pursuit of 'expedient political grandstanding' inspired by the desire to exploit the age-old Jewish sense of guilt which developed from centuries of having been made scapegoats for the world's ills. They argue that in the parlance of Marxist theory, Jews have been interpolated as criminals for so long by others that they have instinctively come to believe that they are indeed guilty as charged. Jewish guilt is equally the legacy of millennia of diaspora powerlessness. Jewish Sages ceaselessly urged their people to regard every vicious persecution visited on them as the just punishment for their own sinfulness. Thus from two quarters within their heritage, South African Jews are urged to feel guilt for having lived through a situation in which they were politically powerless.

Saenger and Sherman are of the opinion that moral grandstanding delivers a mixed message to South Africa as a whole. They say further 'We recite to the point of cliché the mantra that we are 'the rainbow people of God', a rhetorical flourish asserting an ineradicable multi-ethnicity in this country that we are summoned to celebrate. If we are indeed a multi-ethnic society, and are proud of it, then the Jews can take neither more blame than others for the wrongs of the past, nor less part in the work of reconstruction that lies ahead. Under apartheid Jews behaved like every other marginalised white group, each of whom had to face the same moral dilemmas, and each of whom willy-nilly chose their own positions in terms of their own best interests. Indeed, given the racist attitudes adopted towards them, were not the Jews more marginalised than most others? Why should a moral condition more elevated than that of any other community be demanded of the Jews of South Africa?' (29)

Saenger and Sherman also state that 'for better or for worse, the Jews are part and parcel of the South African reality, and we do not need either outsiders telling us how to behave or insiders ripping the community apart through rampant opportunism. Each South African Jewish individual was and is aware of the realities; all take on themselves responsibility for their own actions. The most challenging task today is how we can all ensure the commonweal and learn to live with one another in an imperfect world. Grandstanding howls for Jews to indulge in a public display of breast-beating merely lengthen the grim shadow of racial stereotyping that has darkened this country for decades.

The authors (29) argue that while it has repeatedly been said that South Africa has been good to the Jews, the reverse is equally true. In other words, the Jews have been good to South Africa. They have contributed immensely to its wellbeing through their vigour, ingenuity and enterprise. Shouting from the grandstands on the moral high ground of the present is no way to assess past South African Jewish achievements. The shouters might better serve this country by talking less and working more to build South Africa again. The Jewish community has long served notice that it gladly seeks to join others of goodwill in helping their fellow citizens. Self-criticism is undoubtedly important, but not when it comes at the cost of inflicting mortal wounds to the self. Judaism abhors suicide. And Jewish expiation lies in good deeds, not in accusations. Distance may lend an ostensibly clear-eyed ethical view of what ought to have been done in the past; it is not helpful in determining what should be done in the present. Less grandstanding and more groundwork will assuredly be of greater benefit both to the Jewish community and to the larger South African society of which it is committedly a part.

Saenger and Sherman state: 'Now we are again being called on to confess and apologise. Self-flagellation and the acceptance of communal Jewish guilt, however, is neither justified nor beneficial' (29). Citing Raul Hilberg's point about the futility of South African Jews opting for the ancient Jewish defence mechanism, that of stabbing yourself before your enemy stabs you, and then hoping, by displaying your self-inflicted wound, to stave off the punishment your enemies will mete out to you all the same. As Saenger and Sherman point out, this misguided pre-emptive step merely puts more potent weapons into the hands of already well-armed foes. South African Jews are currently witnessing a new version of this old process. This because the present socio-political dynamic in South Africa has encouraged a self-appointed group of morally self-righteous Jews to point accusing fingers at the elected leadership of the Jewish community. These Jews seek to gain possession of a moral high ground to which their claim is often tenuous. Many of them were not activists in the armed struggle. Many of those who stayed here lived off - perhaps continue to live off - the wealth made by their parents under that privileged system of discrimination their children now so zealously denounce (29).

The mechanics of double-think, however, now permit them to go on eating from the very soup into which they virtuously spit. Many of those who left South Africa did so not as victims of political persecution but to seek an overseas education or to avoid the universal white male conscription which operated for so many decades under the National Party government. Having returned to South Africa after the election of 1994, either through determination to give something back to the country they regard as their home, or because they could not establish themselves effectively abroad, they take on themselves the task of upholding white Jewish morality. With no record of armed resistance, no prison records nor histories of personal oppression, they nevertheless seek instant moral plausibility by joining the expanding claque of moral grandstanders who denounce the complicity of those whites who, either unwilling or unable to leave, stuck out half a century of apartheid rule (29).

These Jewish moral grandstanders now single out, denounce and vilify - sometimes even by name - individuals who, for better or worse, occupied prominent positions within the South African Jewish community or within white South African society at large, stripping them of all dignity and respect. No matter how thin these charges of self-serving opportunism and inward-looking selfishness may be, how ripped from any meaningful historical context they are, how imbalanced or outrightly false they can be proved, the chief thing demanded at present is that those at whom fingers are pointed confess or stand accused. And in so fevered an atmosphere of denunciation at present prevailing, confession and accusation alike predetermine a verdict of guilty (29).

This is not to deny that many whites, Jews included, did many things of which they are, or ought to be, ashamed, of which they should, or ought to, feel guilt. Nor is this to impugn the integrity and passionate commitment to living the tenets of Torah, in this place at this time, so eloquently urged by many principled Jews elsewhere in this issue. Their record speaks for itself. While their call for Jewish self-examination is in the highest degree ethically bracing, it is regrettably undermined by the offensive moral impertinence of grandstanders who self-servingly climb on their backs. In besmirching others, such timeservers evidently regard themselves as totally pure, wholly blind to the irony of castigating others for the supposed wrongdoing of which they themselves continue to be the beneficiaries. What really turns the stomach is the extent to which we are dealing here with what is at best a politically expedient pose, and at worst an unconscionable hypocrisy.

By whom does the Jewish community stand accused? Of what does the Jewish community stand accused at all? In the past, when the National Party repeatedly arraigned the entire Jewish community because so many of the activists engaged in the armed struggle against its regime were Jews (whatever that might mean), they were answered that these people acted not as Jews but as individuals estranged from the established community, its traditions and religious beliefs. In the desperate search for scapegoats, however, this defence availed the established Jewish leadership naught. Now that the struggle for freedom has been won, newly empowered freedom fighters who are Jewish (whatever that may mean) openly admit that they acted without any sense of identification with the wider Jewish community, whom they accuse of complicity with the racist regime. Those who seek to join them on the pinnacle of ethical principle they now occupy seek moral credibility for doing so on the typical twentieth-century premise that the louder you shout the truer you are (29).

In forcibly seizing possession of the moral high ground from the Jewish leadership they brand as opportunistic and exploitative, our yelling Jewish grandstanders stake their moral claims on the basis of themselves being Jews (whatever that might mean). To serve their own cause, they must discredit both the rabbinate and the communal leadership, so that the sole pure voice of authentic South African Judaism speaks through their mouths. And what does such a voice actually say? Behind all its Scriptural quotations and citations from profound theologians can incessantly be distinguished the vocal pursuit of self-aggrandisement (29).

South African Jews are worse than all other whites, these Jewish grandstanders cry: their Torah should have made them morally better than everyone else, and the Holocaust should have taught them what racial discrimination really means. Once such a one-dimensional stand has been taken, then the moral high ground can be held against all comers with different values. All who are not with us, they can then shout, are against us. Such grandstanding is wholly illegitimate, for it makes a blanket condemnation of an entire community by mistaking those realities of life so dangerously at play during the apartheid years. These grandstanders are moral absolutists with neither historical sense nor understanding of the marginalised condition of the Jews in South Africa which, despite the presence of some towering Jewish moral figures, remains precarious to this day. These grandstanders often only claim Jewish identity when they can attack the established community; at other times they regard themselves as free agents who only recall their origins when they can express old-style Jewish self-hatred. They come not to heal the wounds of the past, but to keep them bleeding (29).

South African Jewish moral grandstanders readily exploit the despicable weapon of stereotyping. While they are obviously aware of its dangerous absurdity in respect of Jews, whom the Nazis depicted as uniformly hook-nosed, stoop-shouldered and dirty, they nevertheless unscrupulously deploy it against other ethnic groups to serve their own ends. Now, for example, they feel free to depict all male Afrikaners as wearing silly moustaches and safari suits with combs stuck in their socks; now they rail against the Afrikaans language as something in and of itself hateful. Many survivors of the Holocaust, in their hatred for all things German, forget that among the most powerful Jewish expressions of Shoah mourning are the German poems of Nelly Sachs. Yet again, we see, Jews never learn (29).

The polemical method employed by these moral grandstanders is uniquely tailored to suit their personal agendas. Those events to which they wish to attach special moral opprobrium are ripped from their historical and sociopolitical contexts and judged exclusively in terms of contemporary criteria. The case of the SAJBD affords a golden opportunity for this, a historical utterly opportunistic approach. Disregarding whatever circumstances may have prevailed at a particular period, safely protected by in-vogue political correctness, the grandstanders apply to Board decisions of the past a judgement about what should have been done at a time when such alternatives were not only politically impossible but ethically unfeasible (29).

The SAJBD has always been elected by Deputies who proportionally represent its affiliate bodies. As the representative body of South African Jewry throughout the apartheid years, the SAJBD did periodically make general statements calling for an end to racial discrimination, but it assuredly took no open stand. The Board of Deputies is not, and was never intended to be, the conscience of the South African Jewish community. Its role in South Africa was exclusively to protect communal interests, and that is a political mission, not a moral imperative. Its duty was, and remains, in the realm of protection, not of advocacy or prescription. Its purpose was, and continues to be, to serve as a Jewish defence agency. However tempered its response was during the years of apartheid, the Board was never heedless of its responsibilities to the greater South African society of which it was part. Indeed, always mindful of those responsibilities, it chose its time to speak, and the words with which it spoke, with careful concern for the general good of the Jewish community, as it was given to successive Executive Committees to understand the nature of that general good in situations of escalating tension (29)

Those who actively fought the regime on behalf of the dispossessed black majority undoubtedly wished to tear apart the fabric of apartheid society by violent means. What would have arisen from such ashes? In what way would the chaos of full-scale civil war have better served the interests of the majority of South Africans than the slow painful compromise, with all its acrimonies and dissatisfactions, which nevertheless led ineluctably to the peaceful transition of power, the general election of 1994, and the establishment of the initial Government of National Unity? (29)

Many of the leaders of the Jewish community who earnestly desired change hoped that it might be brought about within this construct of a safeguarded social security. To this end, indeed, they worked within the system, as did other Jews who stayed and earned their bread and played their part. Jewish teachers who worked for provincial administrations in state-supported schools had to do their best within the prescribed limits of Christocentric syllabuses. Jewish lawyers were called on to administer the legislation of the land then in force, which included the application of the Aliens and Quota Acts of the late 1930s and the enforcement of increasingly repressive security legislation after 1948. Those who felt personal moral abhorrence at doing so had the option of either working to ameliorate conditions from within or of coming out in open defiance against the whole system. Many made their personal choices along precisely these lines. Others, perhaps, were precluded from the luxury of such alternatives by their personal circumstances (29).

Judgements from today's moral grandstands are easily made with hindsight, but there is no guarantee that these judgements are either valid or just. Undoubtedly some Jews favoured the system and upheld it; equally certainly, others worked to relieve its harshness and played a significant role in bringing about its change. One need only think of many eminent jurists who repeatedly defended the victimised, or who handed down from the Bench rulings that struck at the heart of the racist legislation then in force. Several of these courageous members of the Bar today serve in the highest courts of the land (29).

After the United States passed its Anti-Apartheid Act in 1986, members of the SAJBD actively lobbied American Jews against sanctions, on the grounds that their effective implementation would ruin the economy, and that the brunt of this damage would be borne by the wholly disadvantaged black majority. The effectiveness of sanctions has repeatedly been lauded as the chief instrument that destroyed the apartheid regime. Yet in consequence of those sanctions, our economy lies in ruins and shows little sign of being rebuilt. The poor and the deprived remain its chief victims, and the present government has no funds with which to alleviate their plight. The flow of foreign investment into this country has not kept pace with the demand for reconstruction and development, so the government is reduced to following an ad hoc system of robbing Peter to pay Paul from an ever-diminishing kitty (29).

Some Jewish scholars and commentators are anxious that the debate under review should be resolved without harming the well-being and interests of the Jewish community. Joscelyn Hellig and Franz Auerbach, to name a few, have published papers that have consistently sponsored this position. At face value the proponents of the middle-ground solution appear to be defending an unbalanced case. Yet, in keeping with the Jewish tradition of exegetic analysis and interpretation, these scholars occupy a rather strategic position: one that, in the end, prevails. The point should be made, en passant, that this position is less likely to enjoy the support of victims of apartheid. If anything, the apartheid survivors will automatically gravitate towards the Friedman camp.

Jewish thought leaders who occupy the moral middle ground are rather circumspect in their criticism of the neutral stance taken by the Jewish Board of Deputies vis-à-vis support for or public opposition against apartheid. At the same time, they plead with the Board's detractors to take into account the impact the gravity of mitigating circumstances that may have weighed heavy on the minds of the communal leadership. As Hellig (16) puts it, finding themselves caught on the horns of a dilemma, the Jewish Board of Deputies - whose chief functions were, and remain, to protect the civil and religious liberties of the Jewish community, to act as its official spokesbody, and to monitor and deal with antisemitism - was keen to foster the new relationship and was careful not to do anything that would undermine it. This resulted in a policy of communal non-involvement in politics. Jews were to make political decisions individually and without communal pressure. This strategy, also motivated by the belief that Jews were so small a community that they could not make a difference, was a characteristic minority group phenomenon of self-preservation.

In his defence of the middle ground, in the debate about Jews and apartheid, Auerbach (38) makes the point that former victims of racial discrimination may not accept the fact that in the years after 1948 significant numbers of white people opposed the National Party by voting for opposition parties in Parliament as sufficient proof that such white people -including Jews - 'opposed apartheid'. Yet it must be realised that for about thirty years, most white voters who opposed the National Party's apartheid policy voted for the United Party and later, after its formation in 1959, possibly for the Progressive Party. Both these political parties, while opposing apartheid, were firmly opposed to any idea of 'one person one vote', and to giving support to the armed liberation struggle.

Auerbach contends that the political views and racial attitudes of most white South Africans have been shaped more by their 'race' than by their religious and moral traditions. This was largely because white people have enjoyed substantial social, economic and educational privileges which were in large measure denied to black citizens. While these views and attitudes were held by the majority, it is also true that some white lawyers, trade unionists, political activists, student leaders and so forth not only opposed apartheid on moral grounds but also spoke out boldly against its injustices. Jewish citizens featured in larger numbers than their 3,5 per cent share of the white population. While rabbis generally did not use their pulpits to promote the cause of racial justice or to oppose apartheid, there have always been notable exceptions. Notwithstanding the few exceptions, no one would pretend that rabbis who spoke out were a majority.

To those who argue that the Jewish community should have opposed, timeously, laws that became cornerstones of the apartheid project, Auerbach contends that Jewish opposition to these laws was channelled through parliamentary processes. Once more, Auerbach reiterates the oft-stated defence line i.e. taking the historical mitigating circumstances into consideration. He points out that, in the early fifties, a collective Jewish view on such issues would have been seen, and condemned, by the government as organised Jewish opposition to the political party in power. Nor in fact would it have represented a substantial consensus of the views of the South African Jewish community at the time.

Armed with the wisdom of hindsight, Auerbach concedes thus: 'with hindsight one can argue that Jewish leadership should have given a stronger moral lead to its constituency, particularly after 1960. Had it followed the lead of Chief Rabbi Rabinowitz, the leadership should have stressed that Jewish precepts supported 'the principles of justice and the dignity of the individual' and that these were incompatible with the repressive policies being applied by the government of South Africa. However, such a stand would have been repudiated by a majority of Jewish citizens as 'interference in party politics' and would have been treated by the government in power as proof of collective Jewish disloyalty. The proposition that the government would have accused the community of disloyalty is not hypothetical. The government was apt to come down heavily on those who opposed 'the system'.

Auerbach holds the view that Jewish communal leadership should have expressed stronger opposition to apartheid. Taking up Auerbach's charge, Hellig concedes that the process of rapprochement was bought at an enormous price to the Jewish community. Like Auerbach, Hellig (17) takes refuge in the mitigating historical circumstances with the statement that 'it is easy for us, retrospectively and from our vantage point of living within a free democracy, to judge the action of Jewish communal leaders then. But, confronted with the possibility of state-sponsored antisemitism from an avowedly antisemitic party, it was not an easy decision. What it amounted to, however, was the surrender of the Jewish ethic.

The policy of communal non-involvement in politics was not inspired by Judaism itself but was rather a way of promoting what communal leaders at the time, looking at the safety of the community, perceived to be in Jewish interests. They sought nothing more than the preservation of full rights for Jews as white citizens of South Africa, and the unhindered, free existence of a Jewish communal life in which Zionism could continue to occupy a central role. Even the more liberal members of the Board were prepared to adopt this basic consensus which was facilitated by the fact that there were no black members of the Jewish community. But no one could deny the struggle of conscience that ensued in this attempt to separate moral from political issues.

In Hellig's mind the Jewish community and its leadership were not the only ones afflicted by 'moral blindness'. The Muslim Judicial Council - in its formative years - adopted a non-political stance. While it had some members who did espouse political views, like Imam Abdullah Haron who died in police detention, it was only with his death in 1969 that the scene was set for a more politically aggressive Muslim stance a decade later. In her view, the condition of moral blindness among different ethnic groups must be blamed, inter alia, on history and circumstance. The condition of moral blindness was also a characteristic feature of the early twentieth century. At that time, the fate of both the Indians and the Jews was threatened by legislation restricting immigration. The Jewish Board of Deputies concerned itself only with the rights of Jews, while Gandhi worked only for Indian rights. Even though Gandhi sympathised with the status even lower than of Indians endured by Africans, he did not initiate a common black front. As Gideon Shimoni (39) points out, the phenomenon of mutual blindness is only comprehensible within the context of the caste-divided pluralism of South African society.

10. Perspectives from an Apartheid Parliamentary Jewish Leadership

The foregoing discussion has tended to deal with the views of scholars and commentators who are either critical or defensive of the South African Jewish policy of non-involvement in the apartheid projects and its various campaigns. The views thus far covered do not represent the opinions of Jews who sought involvement in apartheid parliamentary politics. A close look at the opinions of the individuals concerned reveals no clear-cut pattern either in favour of or against the communal leadership's non-involvement or neutrality stance. There is, however, one common point of agreement between these individuals and those who either criticize or sympathize with the leadership's past mistakes: this is that they remain bound together by their commitment to Jewishness. This is to be expected seeing that whatever they may be disagreeing about, this is not about their commitment to that which Jewry stands for.

Writing early in the Africa Report, the ex-South African Jewish senator - Leslie Rubin (30) – makes no bones about his criticism of the Jewish Board of Deputies' flawed policy of discouraging public or high profile opposition to apartheid government policies. In his paper South African Jewry and Apartheid, Rubin comments that, while to the casual observer, the Jews seem to be a contented and secure segment of white South Africa, on closer analysis they display complex feelings of insecurity.

Rubin cites an incident that appears to explain, in large measure, the reason behind decades of the Jewish communal leadership's near-total silence against even the most horrible apartheid injustices. The incident revolved around the publication, by the SAJBD, of its vigorous criticism of racial discrimination and unjust treatment of the non-white (black) people. The outright Nazi-supporting Afrikaner party political machinery of the time made it abundantly clear that it would not brook any opposition from the Jewish quarter. According to Rubin, since that incident, the Jews and the rest of the English-speaking community moved from initial revulsion against apartheid, through tolerance, to support. But for the Jews, this support meant not only approval of the racist political philosophy of apartheid but it also meant ignoring (or pretending to ignore) the fact that the Afrikaner group, then in power, was pro-Nazi before and had manifested antisemitic prejudice.

Rubin contends that the Board's policy of non-intervention or neutrality meant, in practice, that whenever new apartheid measures brought untold suffering to millions of non-whites, the Jewish community remained silent while Catholics and Episcopalian archbishops or other Christian leaders protested publicly. Rubin charges that the Board had nothing to say on the occasion of the Sharpeville massacre. Yet the Chief Rabbis delivered glowing eulogies when Verwoerd died. Further, the Board reprimanded Israel for joining United Nations delegations that censured a speech by an apartheid politician. According to Rubin the Board was known to do all it could to discourage individual Jews from opposing government policies. He alleges that while he was doing parliamentary duty, the Board informed him that his prominence - as a critic of apartheid and a spokesman for the African people caused the Board some embarrassment. He also claimed that other Jews, in public life, had experienced similar attempts to persuade them to tone down their opposition to the government.

Taking stock of the Board's performance over a period of two decades, Rubin concluded that the Jewish leadership had failed to find a compromise between outright opposition to the regime (thus exposing the community to the risk of retaliation) and unequivocal support for it (thus repudiating the basic principles of the Judeo-Christian ethic). It was his opinion that its neutral-non-involvement policy had been a double failure: satisfying neither those it was designed to placate nor those it was intended to protect. To add insult to injury, the apartheid government had dismissed the Board's neutrality stance without attempting to discourage persistent outbreaks of antisemitism within its ranks. Rubin declares that the lesson taught by the experience of South African Jewry and the behavior of its Board of Deputies is that there are some situations which do not permit compromise. In such situations, quiescence becomes acquiescence; passivity in the face of injustice becomes support for those who perpetrate it. And what starts as unwilling, even half-ashamed support, can too easily become overt, unqualified and full support. The Jewish community behaved no differently from the majority of the whites in South Africa in failing to protest. But they also were false to a proud heritage of their own.

Dealing with Jewish Modes of Opposition, Harry Schwarz, (32) a long-term parliamentary opposition leader, advocates that the assessment of Jews in relation to apartheid should go further than the Jewish Board of Deputies. It should, instead, consider the Jewish voting patterns as well as the role played by individual Jews in parliamentary and extra-parliamentary opposing politics. In Schwarz's view, Jews like other white South African groups were in that respect beneficiaries of the apartheid system although very few directly implemented discriminatory laws that privileged them.

Schwarz raises the one well-rehearsed moral issue that lies at the base of the current review: should Jews enter a guilty or innocent plea against their alleged complicity with apartheid? With the characteristic habit of a seasoned politician, Schwarz goes through his own question and answer routine. 'Firstly, can anyone truthfully say that they did not know? Everyone knew something, everyone knew enough to know that apartheid was wrong. Given what we knew, the question all of us need to answer is what should we have done about it? (31)

In Schwarz's view, it is necessary to judge the Jews of South Africa as a whole. Too few took up arms, it will be argued: too many believed that violence was not the way to go, and many still do. Too few stood up to be counted, it will be said: but some will contend that pro rata, Jews did stand up more than most other white groups. Too few spoke out when they should have done, it will be asserted: yet many of the leading anti-apartheid voices were those of Jews. Too many believed what they were told, it will be declared: yet the propaganda machine was powerful, and Jews were no more gullible than others. All these accusations and defences can be debated, and they should be. But to the best of my knowledge, one thing we need not debate: Jews did not torture or kill, or perpetrate any inhuman actions, or infringe any major human rights. In this respect we need have no guilt; in this regard, our record is clean'.

Addressing himself to the issue of the position and role Jews should secure for themselves within the new democratic society, Schwarz believes Jews generally have no fear of a black-dominated government. They admire many of the new leaders and seek a good relationship with them. They regard the Constitution as important to them as Jews and feel legally more secure under it than under the previous regime. South African Jews are not really fearful of affirmative action. Unlike many other whites, Jews do not feel that general education per se is a problem; for South African Jews the problem is more a question of how to continue financing their own schools. While they agree that social services should correct historical wrongs, they worry about the costs of keeping their own institutions for the aged and the handicapped going. That there needs to be black empowerment is accepted. That taxes must be paid and redistributive action must occur is taken for granted. The average South African Jew really has very few complaints about the new dispensation. On the contrary, he or she supports it and feels more comfortable than in the past.

Schwarz ends his vision of future Jewish involvement in and relationship with the African democratic nation with the statement that, in many ways, it is easier to be a New South African. The debates of the past about apartheid are over, the world is open to us all, the Constitution protects our people and our institutions. If we as Jews play our role, make our contribution, realise the new nature of our country, then indeed there is a place on South Africa's high ground for us.

In an essay: Jewish Attitudes to and Relationships with the Afrikaner Parties in the Era of Transformation, Issy Pinshaw (32) – a one-time member of the apartheid governing party – concurs that the neutrality policy has compromised the credibility of the entire community. He also concurs with those who believe that South African Jewry is, today, paying a heavy price. The price is for opting for compromises that, in turn, have compromised the prospects of South African Jewry especially during this period of transition from a previously white privileged society to an open and fully democratic country. He also laments the Jewish community's loss of vibrancy due mainly to a dramatic decline in Jewish numbers as a result of emigration.

Pinshaw contends that what was once a thriving and vibrant white community has today, regrettably and sadly, become one whereby organisations and structures are fighting for survival. The Jewish community continues to experience progressive decline as a result of emigration induced, in part, by concerns about a problematical political future, violence and serious crime, and economic decline. Pinshaw's view is that each Jewish emigrant is a great loss to an already diminishing community.

Given his close associations with the governing apartheid party, it is understandable that Pinshaw will heap praise on the wise counsel of Jewish communal leadership. For him, the very Jewish leadership that has been roundly criticized for compromising the long-term cause of the community, he commends for its wise and exemplary behaviour. He gives the Board of Deputies credit for remaining relevant and credible during 'this momentous period in our country's history. He also believes that its leaders have acted responsibly and, at times, displayed great courage and fortitude during some very difficult and turbulent times, not only in our country, but also within our community. It is small wonder that such a good relationship existed between the Board and the previous and present government, to which approaches on behalf of the Jewish community are regularly made.

11. Some Jewish Youth Leadership Perspective

The review of the impact that some of the decisions and behaviour of Jewish communal leaders has had on the role and position of the community within an open democratic society cannot be considered complete without reflecting the views of the youths of that community. Little information is available to shed light on where Jewish youths stand on the issue of future relationships between their community and its leadership, on the one hand and on the other, the new democratic government and the rest of the open society. The views featured below have been gleaned from a paper by Paula Slier (33) – a young Jewish journalist who participated in the 'Jews and Apartheid' review.

Slier articulates mixed feelings about how young Jews perceive their role and future within the open democratic society. Like those of her older generations (Schwarz and Pinshaw), Slier has some serious concerns about the short- to long-term negative impact of political uncertainty, rampant violence, decline in Jewish population growth and a general weakening of Judaic commitment among sections of the community. In her opinion, the Jewish community, and South Africa as a whole, have all lost out.

Slier identifies several concerns that have and continue to impact negatively on Jewish students' needs to commit to both their immediate community and open society at large. Her observation is that young Jews today attend university to obtain a degree as soon as possible – and most invariably leave for better pastures abroad. Involvement with campus politics, clubs and societies are frowned on as unnecessary interruptions that interfere with the achievement of academic qualifications and excellence of attainment. Although regrettable, this is an understandable development in the context of current social needs. She also states that the South African Jewish community has always been a liberal one, so one would think that most people would be thrilled with the recent developments occurring in our country. Instead, I have noticed an increase in racist comments and attitudes among my peers. Confronting such comments, one cannot but think that in the past it was safe to be open-minded and indulge in progressive thinking, but that today the success of the democratisation process in this country has left people afraid and driven them to revert to latent dogmatic, racist beliefs.

Speaking for young Jews who have made a commitment to stay in the country, Slier believes the story of young Jews and the open society is not exclusively bleak. For instance, there is an excitement about living in South Africa as well as an air of anticipation, as though we are all witnessing the birth of a new child and eagerly waiting to contribute our share to its progress. There is a determination and sense of responsibility that is enormously encouraging. South Africa is a success story that bodes well for those who are prepared to share in it. Although South Africa has always been perceived as a strongly pro-Zionist community, Israel is perceived here in abstract: vital for the survival of the Jewish people it may be, but very few South African Jews are keen actually to live there permanently. The majority of young Jews who emigrate from South Africa do not choose Israel as their first alternative. These emigrants often express the view that, in leaving South Africa, they want to leave behind a situation of political uncertainty, not go towards it, which aliyah to Israel certainly entails. The youth movements, which traditionally focus chiefly on aliyah, have also witnessed a decrease in the number of their madrichim who make aliyah. The dream of living in Israel seems to be the dream of a generation ago; that idealism has been lost among young South African Jews of today.

Slier's analysis of the religious dynamics of South African Jewry reveals that an overwhelming proportion of the community is 'non-observant Orthodox', the remainder are Reform – with an even smaller Conservative affiliation. Young Jews are making a return to a more fundamentalist approach towards the Jewish religion in South Africa. She believes this trend is a product of current political uncertainty which is experienced throughout South Africa. Young people are looking for meaning and certainty in regard to a future, which they see as lacking both. The high divorce rate within South African Jewry - the highest of all Jewish populations in the world – is considered a contributory factor to the young Jews' return to a religious way of life. Slier also confirms the burgeoning of a pleasure principle among young Jews. She says many of them have developed material dependency, emotional instability and intellectual dissatisfaction. Consequently, young South African Jews are, today, at a crossroads that their parents never had to come to as young people, because this country at that time was inflexibly repressed under the apartheid regime.

Slier takes a passing look at the question whether or how Jewish South Africans see themselves negotiating their way through the challenges posed by the concept, principles and values of an open democracy. Like most others who have made pronouncements on the issue, Slier confines herself to enumerating rather than explaining how young Jews hope to deal with ancient problems that have threatened as well as galvanised Jewish survival. As Slier correctly points out, South Africa today, 'offers young people many more options. It is all too easy to leave Judaism, to intermarry and find fulfillment elsewhere. The choice is either to stay or to leave. Those who choose to stay need to decide between integration, albeit from a Jewish perspective, or enclosing themselves in small communities cut off to a large degree from interaction with non-Jews.

Risking to contradict her earlier prognosis, Slier ends her essay thus: 'personally, I do think that there will be a viable future for young Jews in South Africa. I have myself chosen to be a Jewish South African - to remain committed to and involved in this country as a Jew'. To drive home the predicament facing young South African Jews, Slier borrows a quote from the Jewish philosopher, Martin Buber where he says: 'We are the keepers of the roots'. But, adds Slier, these roots are growing in different ways, the soil in which they must seek their nourishment has already changed, and all young Jews in this country will have to face and to find elusive answers to pressing questions'.

In Slier's defence, the point should be made that like youths the world over, young South African Jews are entitled to hedge their bets about where they hope to spend the rest of their lives. No self-respecting people can ever hope to entrust the future of their nation to the hands of young homebodies without running the risk of atrophy and certain demise. The youth exodus is not a phenomenon confined exclusively to the Jewish community – although theirs may be leaving in larger numbers relative to their own population. The challenge facing young Jewish South Africans should be placed at the feet of that community's leadership. It is they who have to give their young people guidance about how they should conduct themselves with respect to living and working in an open and black-driven democracy. As one scholar commented, unlike the rest of the diaspora, South African Jews have to reckon with the challenge of whether or not and how, if ever, to integrate with a society made up of a black majority.

12. Confronting the Challenges of a Democratic Open Society

Most of the essays presented on behalf of or emanating from within the Jewish community have, in one way or other, touched on the question of how the community should structure its relationships with the emergent open society. In a highly scholarly essay, Jews and the Open Society, Dennis Davis (9) rhetorically questions the extent to which a Jew can be committed to a culture of reasoned justification. Davis believes that although many Jews have contributed to the development of an open and democratic society in South Africa, few of them appear to find the source of their commitment within any of the competing Jewish traditions. However, by contrast, the Jewish community's response to apartheid was no less shameful than that of other white communities. The SAJBD, the umbrella body mandated to watch over the welfare of the Jewish community in South Africa, adopted the neutral stance; as the community contained many differing political opinions, it, as the representative body, could not be seen to prefer one political stance over another.

Davis has as the basis of his essay Karl Popper's theory that 'human social groupings are greater than the sum of their members', that such groupings are organic entities in their own right, that they act on their members and shape their destinies, and that they are subject to their own independent laws of development. Davis believes that one of the critical elements of an open society is to be found in that society's capacity to subject all theoretical explanations 'to critical scrutiny with a commitment that we abandon that which we find to be false. The open society is thus one in which there is an association of free individuals respecting one another's rights within the framework of mutual protection supplied by the state and where policy is achieved through the making of responsible rational decisions.

In terms of the foregoing theoretical framework, it is important to bear in mind that the text of the South African constitution makes clear the fact there cannot be an open society unless there is a commitment to human dignity, equality and freedom. Disempowerment through starvation, homelessness, and discrimination is not a recipe for any open society. The group shapes the individual just as the individual helps shape the group (9).

In a passing comment on the neutrality and non-involvement stance of Jewish leadership (within the SAJBD), Davis dismisses their record as one of moral failure, pragmatism and the expedient reclaiming of activists who had effectively been disowned by the community at that time. So the history, adds Davis, reveals that within the South African Jewish community there is little by way of precedent for an argument that any tradition of Judaism, particularly self-proclaimed Orthodoxy, provided a set of commitments to an open society.

On the issue of the extent to which one can be a committed Jew and be equally in favour of a society based on deliberation, Davis identifies four different responses thus: resist any openness; openness to the outside world but not to Jews; openness to all; and the benefits of an open society for all but Jews. The first approach resists any assertion or claim to commonality with the outside world. This is based on the belief that because Jews are superior, not simply different, there is therefore no need to engage with inferior culture. Therefore, there is something special about Jewish DNA. There is something infinitely more holy and unique about Jewish life than non-Jewish life. This approach to the world starts from the point of superiority. It is an easy step to claim total superiority for a source of knowledge that has divine sanction. It further follows that such divine knowledge must be given its literal meaning, for any other meaning would entail the insertion of human intervention, thereby weakening the very claim on which the entire claim to the divine sanction is based (9).

Davis maintains that the second approach - openness to all but not to all Jews – has become a dominant strain within contemporary South African Jewish life as a result of the adoption by Orthodox rabbinical leadership of a culture of authority within secular South African life. The third approach - open society for all – tends to include the second because one cannot be contemptuous of fellow Jews and simultaneously be committed to a principle of freedom and equality for all. For Davis, this argument is that if a Jew is concerned with the 'Other' then commitment to the second and third alternatives must follow simultaneously. Davis engages in detailed discussion of aspects of Judaic exegesis and interpretation that have been highlighted under a different section of this document.

Without delving into a discussion of traditional Jewish thought, it can be stated, as Davis points out, that the very process of textual interpretation on which a tradition relies is predicated on the position that the self is only being true when its truth is established by a response to the 'Other'. It is the other person who disrupts our complacency and self-sufficiency. Thus there is a Jewish tradition which by definition must concern both self and 'Other'. The special vocation of Jews is to remind the world of the 'Other' which can only be achieved by reference to the Jews' individuality and that of the 'Other'. While in the Greek world society binds an individual to another individual through the intermediary of the state, for Jews the world is founded on the inter-personal. It begins with humans facing humans, and grows into a community of individuals, each of whom is an integral part of the whole. We should mention, in passing, the Jewish position here is identical with that found among African traditional societies and communities.

Davis ends his essay with the statement that the dominant strain within Orthodoxy is a commitment to closure to all but those who commit to the same theological position.

The decade of the 1990s witnessed a closure of the Jewish mind. The Orthodox establishment in South Africa is proud of these developments which have seen a marked rise in adherence to ritual, particularly in Johannesburg. On its own, this commitment may be admired. Indeed a position committed to openness and dialogue could hardly be anything other than supportive, subject to a major qualification. The caveat is that this swing to greater intensity of ritual has come at a serious price - the closure of the Jewish mind, the creation of a massive 'Other' within Jewish ranks, a hatred of difference and a consequent rejection of any possible reconciliation between Muslim and Jew, Palestinian and Israeli of equal importance. This form of Judaism promotes the group at all costs. The individual is then subsumed under the weight of obligations to the group, Judaism then becomes a custom-made product, and the possibility for individual development implodes.

Addressing himself to the issue of Jews and the South African open society, Milton Shain (25) states that the uncharted and corrugated road to the future is an immediate challenge to all South African Jews. The challenges for the immigrant generation might be over, but the 'New South Africa' - the open society' as Dennis Davis calls it - provides a set of new challenges. Shain points out that the premise of Davis' argument is that Judaism is not compatible with the critical spirit of modernity, built on an association of free individuals respecting one another's rights within a framework of mutual protection supplied by the state, and where policies are achieved through the making of responsible rational decisions. Shain maintains that Davis' contribution is clearly informed by a concern for what he sees as a reactionary strain in contemporary South African Jewish orthodoxy. Highlighting contradictions between accepting the principle of freedom and equality for all (as enshrined in the new South African constitution) but denying such tolerance to all Jews, Davis calls for respect for the 'other', including the 'deviant Jew'. There is no superior tradition, contends Davis, but there is a cost to denying contest and rational engagement.

Pitok's introductory remarks are an invitation to members of South African Jewry to take the first step towards entry into the open society. This requires, among other things, that the community and its leadership ought to muster the requisite moral courage to confront lingering or persistent baggage. Pitok believes Jews should emulate the steps taken by the leadership of both the Afrikaner and the broad black community in using the vehicle of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to come to terms with their respective baggage. He states, therefore, that when Afrikaners acknowledged the cruelty of apartheid or the ANC opened the files on how its own operatives tortured some exiles, they gained credibility. Attempts at indulging in self-congratulatory or self-flagellating theatrics are doomed to failure as they divert the attention and energy of community leadership away from getting to grips with open society challenges.

By way of conclusion, the point has to be made that Davis' call for movement out of an introverted, particularistic way of life - based on a return to Orthodoxy and fundamentalism - has unsettled sections of Jewish scholarship that would rather see the community pick the pace of its return back into traditional Jewishness. For non-Jewish observers, it is important to bear in mind that the kinds of shifts and divergences currently taking place within South African Jewry are neither new nor exclusive to South Africa. American Jewry has lived with much more robust debate about risks and threats likely to be visited on the community through periodic lurches from one extreme version of Jewish tradition to another.

Commenting on the dangers posed by this issue, the Jewish philosopher, Marvin Fox (14), commented that one of the greatest dangers to Jewish faith and Jewish thought is the fundamentalist tendency that occasionally manifests itself (in our times, as in others) and that seeks to freeze doctrine at a particular point. Such fundamentalism, which often claims to rest on a literal reading of the texts, is alien to the dominant tendencies of Jewish intellectual history. To paraphrase Fox, the point should be made that Jews can move and function effectively within the open society without losing the very traditions that account for Jewishness. In Fox's words, 'If we have no regard for Jewish tradition, we would no longer justly claim that our views are authentically Jewish. If we had the only rigidly fixed tradition we could not survive as thinking Jews in the world that grows and changes. It is our aim to remain faithful to our tradition while using its commitment to openness of interpretation to bring to the best insights and achievements of the human spirit that we may lose our connection with Jewish tradition and fall into a pure secularism to which we wrongly attach the label 'Jewish' (14).

It is a risk to which we expose ourselves with appropriate concern, but with the conviction that as faithful Jews we have no choice. A Judaism that would demand of us the sacrifice of secular learning or intellectual integrity would betray its own highest principles and could no longer command our loyalty'. In essence, whatever differences of doctrine may exist or surface from time to time, these should not be allowed to derail the leadership of the community from coming together to affirm the rabbinic teaching that 'The seal of the Holy One, blessed be He, is truth'. On this ground, Jewish leaders and scholars must come together to explore from a variety of perspectives the ways in which Judaism and contemporary thought may be joined. Finally, Fox states 'Even those of us who are firm in their adherence to Jewish law and consider it to be fixed and binding recognize that there is a very wide range in the ways in which we may legitimately understand Judaism and interpret its fundamental ideas (14).

13. Jewish Relationships with the Black Majority Population

One of the ironies of the debate on the subject of Jewish relationships with other South African ethnic groups is that very little attention is paid to relationships and/or perceptions between the majority African population and Jews. By and large, relationships or perceptions between the two ethnic groups are relegated to one or two footnote references. Where attempts have been made to confront the issue, the result has been that there is very little or no case to be made of Jewish-African relationships. Some of the scholars have made passing references to the fact that, as the primary victims of apartheid, black South Africans were deprived of the luxury to distinguish between the various 'sub-ethnic' groups that represented their oppressors. With the exception of certain leaders in politics, labour, education or church organizations, the ordinary black South African had no safe handle on the question of who or what is a Jew. If and where distinctions were made, these would have been based on intimate personal relationships. Seeing Jews did not have a monopoly on inter-personal relationships involving black people, the latter entered into personal relationships with whites of all shades and background.

Shain and Mendelsohn (25) contend that while Jews joined their white compatriots in 'othering' the black majority, they in turn were perceived as the classic 'other' white minority. The Jew was constructed over time as the 'other' but was not always a target of hostility. Given that Jews and sections of the broad black population have experienced little or no constructive dialogue between them, it was considered appropriate to borrow points that have emerged from one such dialogue that took place in America between two well-placed thought leaders – one African-American West and one Jewish American Lerner (34).

The dialogue occurred over a period of six years and covered a range of leadership, philosophical, political, religious, and personal issues. Of importance to the current study is the fact that the dialogue touched on many issues that have relevance and application to the South African situation while a few others are patently American and, therefore, of no immediate relevance or use to the people of this country. The paragraphs that follow attempt to summarise as well as paraphrase the more relevant and immediate points. To reiterate, several important points and issues that emerged from the Lerner and West dialogue have been used to motivate or illustrate certain arguments throughout the study.

Important though these may be to American blacks and Jews, the following issues do not appear to be commonly shared between South African black and Jewish communities. Featured below are a number of points that are a direct product of American society and its make-up, history and culture. Briefly stated, American Jews and blacks are identical in terms of some of the issues or historical factors discussed in the following paragraphs.

14. Important Contributors to Development of American Civilization

Lerner and West point out that when historians look back on the emergence, development, and decline of American civilization, they obviously will note the roles played by both Jews and blacks in shaping America's distinctive features, including constitutional democracy and precious liberties, material prosperity, technological ingenuity, ethnic and regional diversity, market driven yet romantic popular culture, relative lack of historical consciousness, and an obsession with progress in the future. The scope and quality of Jewish and African-American achievements and contributions underscore the fact that while all people are, in some significant sense, extraordinary, black Americans and their Jewish compatriots stand out in a glaring manner.

After reviewing a list of achievements and contributions made by both American Jews and their black counterparts, Lerner and West made the observation that the list of towering black and Jewish high achievers is neither an act of providence nor a mere accident. Rather it is the result of tremendous talent, discipline, and energy of two ostracised groups who disproportionately shape the cultural life of the US. Furthermore, Jewish power and influence, though rarely wielded in a monolithic manner in the garment industry, show business, medical and legal professions, journalism, and academia has had a major impact on the shaping of American life. What blacks and Jews have done with their intelligence, imagination, and ingenuity is astounding. Twentieth-century America - that begins only a generation after the emancipation of penniless, illiterate, enslaved African-Americans and the massive influx of poor Eastern European Jewish immigrants - is unimaginable without the creative breakthroughs and monumental contributions of blacks and Jews.

14.1. The Underdog Ethnic Groups

Both Jews and blacks are a pariah people; a people who had to make and remake themselves as outsiders on the margins of American society and culture. Both groups assumed that the status quo was unjust and therefore found strategies to survive and thrive against the odds. Both groups defined themselves as a people deeply shaped by America but never fully a part of America. Both groups appealed to biblical texts and relied on communal bonds to sustain themselves, texts which put a premium on justice, mercy, and solidarity with the downtrodden, and bonds shot through with a deep distrust, suspicion, even paranoia, toward the powerful and privileged. Both groups have been hated and despised peoples who find it difficult, if not impossible, to fully overcome group insecurity and anxiety as well as truly be and love themselves as individuals and as a people. Wearing the masks, enduring petty putdowns, and coping with subtle insults remains an everyday challenge for most blacks and some Jews in America.

14.2. Uniquely Positioned in the World

Both groups are the most modern of modern people in that they have created new and novel ways of life, innovative and improvisational modes of being in the world. Their entree into modernity as degraded 'Others'; dishonoured slaves (blacks) and devalued

Christians (Jews), forced them to hammer out the most un-American yet modern of products of tragicomic dispositions toward reality that put sadness, sorrow, and suffering at the centre of their plights and predicaments. This tragicomic character of the Black and Jewish experiences in modernity coupled with a nagging moral conscience owing to undeniable histories of underdog status and unusual slavery to freedom narratives in authoritative texts, haunts both groups (34).

14.3. The Centrality of Learning

The fundamental centrality of learning in Jewish life is manifested by the fact that as of 1989, of fifty American Nobel Laureates in the medical sciences such as biochemistry and physiology, seventeen were Jews. The scholars point out, however, that the matter of relative Jewish zeal in business and education has and continues to be a delicate one. It does not mean that Jews are innately smarter than others or that they are involved in some secret conspiracy to control the banks and newspapers as is often alleged by antisemitic elements within American society. Instead these realities reflect the dominant Jewish ways of gaining access to resources, status, and power against antisemitic exclusions in other spheres. It also overthrew thousands of years of autonomous institution-building based on self-help and self-development around literary and mathematical skills (34).

Although African-Americans also have a rich history of business enterprise and scientific achievement, their entrepreneurial ethic has been put back by racist attacks especially against black businessmen. Other negative contributory factors include exclusion from significant access to capital and credit, weak communal bonds to sustain business efforts, underfunded black schools and colleges that downplay independent business efforts, and vicious stereotypes that undercut motivation to study math and natural sciences (34).

According to Lerner and West, the fundamental differences between blacks and Jews in America have been the vast impact of slavery and racism on limiting the black quest for self-confidence in literary and scientific matters, and the containment of most black folk in rural and agrarian areas until World War II, where access to literacy was difficult. In stark contrast, American Jews have always been primarily an urban people trying to find safe niches in industrial (and antisemitic) America, who fall back on strong and long traditions of independent institution-building. In this regard, the experiences of blacks and Jews have been qualitatively different in a deeply racist and more mildly antisemitic America.

Although American Jews and blacks share a few important common traits arising out of their common historical experiences, the groups have and continue to experience tensions which, from time to time, have been cause for concern. Those interested in the maintenance of lasting and meaningful Jewish-black relationships in South Africa will do well to take note of the nature and quality of the tensions and how they have impacted on life within the two groups. There are fascinating lessons to be learned from how black and Jewish scholars and leaders have responded to these tensions. The points of learning can be summed up in the following paragraphs.

14.4. Repeated Attempts to Unravel Underlying Relational Problems

Both leadership and scholars in the Jewish and African-American communities have had difficulty trying to pin down the factors or issues that have and continue to frustrate attempts to forge lasting relationships between them. The irony of Jewish-black American relationship is that although the two people have been linked in a kind of symbiotic relation with each other, they continue to be locked 'into an inescapable embrace principally owing to their dominant status of degraded Others, given the racist and Christian character of the American past and present. First, because anti-black and anti-Jewish waves are an omnipresent threat in this country. Second, because their support of progressive politics cast them as potential threats to the status quo in their critical and dissenting roles. And third, because both groups not only have a profound fascination with each other but also because they have much at stake in their own collective identities as a pariah and 'chosen' people, be it in covenant with a God that 'chooses' to side with the underdog or against a nation that 'chooses' to treat them unequally or unkindly (34).

14.5. Mutual Ignorance and Mutual Suspicions

Many American Jews have the perception that it is not easy to involve blacks in a dialogue aimed at healing the rifts between blacks and Jews. Apart from the ministers and community-relations personnel, Jews report that they often find it hard to attract blacks to participate in ongoing dialogues on this topic. Similar to black South Africans in the immediate post-apartheid open society, the feeling with the black-Jewish communities is that there is more interest in healing the relationship among Jews than among blacks (34).

This perception has been explained on grounds that many blacks face immediate economic oppression and are more concerned with changing those circumstances than to reconcile with a group that they see as being economically advantaged, although this won't quite explain the difficulties Jews have in attracting middle-class blacks; that many blacks see Jews as whites and hence don't see any need to work on some special relationship with them; and that in the post-Holocaust years, blacks have seen Jews trying to rob from them their identity as 'the most oppressed group' and may find it more difficult to reconcile with a group to whom they are in most respects so close, a kind of sibling rivalry (34).

14.6. Getting to terms with Open Society Challenges

The American black-Jew dialogue has touched on the Jewish community's anxieties surrounding mounting pressures, from within and without the Jewish community - to embrace the ethos of an open society. These pressures are perceived as a threat to the Jewish community's long-standing preoccupation with survival through the preservation of the particularist way of life. Movement into the open society raises threats and risks about the end-state, i.e. the possible dissolution of the Jewish community through assimilation (34).

The discussion, within the current study of perceptions about the dynamics of the emergent open society within South Africa has highlighted similar concerns among local Jewry. Feelings about the risks involved range from guarded endorsement of the new democratic society (and the predominantly black leadership) in charge, to downright scepticism. Young South African Jews, for example, are said to see no future for Jews within the emergent open society. South African Jews should draw comfort in the fact that their fears and concerns are consistent with the impact of real societal change everywhere. While flight is but one of the options facing them, for those Jews (and indeed whites as well as members of other race-ethnic groups the answer lies first in finding solutions to historical baggage that their community had brought with it from the apartheid era.

The dialogue between Lerner and West has demonstrated that the future, in the open society, is not as bleak as those outside it believe. American Jews have successfully made the transformation from an introverted or particularist communal way of life to one that is more in tune with the needs and challenges of an open society. As Lerner points out, 'as the trauma of our (Jewish) suffering and past oppression began to recede, many Jews were able to recognize that their new safety, particularly in the United States, conferred on us a new responsibility. Not only were we beneficiaries of American abundance (bought by Americans at the cost of genociding American Indians and then enslaving millions of Americans and killing millions more in the process), we were also less likely to become the primary victimised 'Other' in the U.S. precisely because that role was already filled by African-Americans.

That might have made Jews enthusiastically embrace mainstream American racism, to justify to ourselves our own fortune. But given the legacy of Torah and the way it has helped us interpret our own history, we instead began to identify with the struggles of American blacks. If that identification has withered somewhat in the past decades, the fault lies not only with the attractions and allures of the dominant ethos of selfishness, but also with the way Jews have perceived that some blacks seemed to be repudiating our interest, seeing us as indistinguishable from whites, forgetting the commitments and sacrifices Jews had made to the black struggle, and in other ways pushing us away.

Challenges associated with the movement to an open society are presented, within the Jewish community, by the upsurge of a political and cultural conservatism in some sectors of the Jewish world, often disproportionately represented among those who are affiliated with Jewish establishment organizations. The conservative turn was not being followed by most Jews. However, the intellectual foundation of the traditional Jewish attachment to caring for others has been, and could further be, severely eroded not only by the attractions of 'fitting in' to the erstwhile white materialism and its culture of narcissism but also by tendencies within the more religious sectors of the population to interpret Jewish ethical obligations as applying primarily to fellow Jews, and hence to conveniently find a way of retaining all the ritual trappings of Judaism while abandoning its most challenging obligations to recognize God in the 'Other'.

Staying with the dynamics of the American-Jewish community, Lerner argues that even injunctions about caring for 'the stranger' get reinterpreted to mean 'those who have converted to Judaism' or the resident alien who 'agrees to live by Jewish laws'. The God of transformation, the Possibility of Possibility, becomes a contained entity that one worships on Shabbat and at home, but that does not interfere with the fervent and morally unrestricted pursuit of power and wealth in the economic marketplace. Such Judaism, however, stripped of its revolutionary message, is no longer a witness to the possibility of transcendence, and has lost its attraction to many younger Jews. Not ready to abandon their Jewishness, suspecting that there are deep treasures built into the cultural and religious and philosophical heritage of the Jewish people, these younger Jews are deeply troubled by the way the Jewish establishment defines Judaism.

One of the arguments presented by Lerner and West is that if Jewishness is about something more than lox and bagels and gefilte fish, it has to be about bringing a message to the world. And turning back to Torah, we find that message in the task of the Jewish people to become testifiers to the possibility of breaking the chain of violence and cruelty and establishing a world based on justice, love, caring, and recognition of the God within each other. Yet all these flowery words seem empty if Jews ignore that we live in a society where American-Americans are being systematically demeaned, where racism continues to flourish, and where economic oppression yields degradation and daily suffering (34).

It becomes immediately obvious that this reality places an immediate demand on the Jewish people: to challenge those who believe that the suffering cannot or should not be alleviated, to join in the struggles to change all those societal institutions that perpetuate poverty and racism, and to connect with the oppressed in a way that recognizes their fundamental humanity and fundamental similarity with us, our sisterhood and brotherhood with them. To do this in a way that is not condescending, that does not assume that we are 'morally higher' or 'better,' but rather out of a deep recognition of God's presence in each human being, is our challenge (34).

Another of Lerner and West's arguments is that if Judaism cannot recognize the God within those who have previously been treated as 'demeaned Other,' it has no future. This is a moment when we are celebrating the steps taken by the state of Israel to recognize that the Palestinian people have the same right to national self-determination and dignity as the Jews. In the American-Jewish community that same struggle has taken place in the efforts to overthrow patriarchal aspects of Jewish life and Jewish religious practice. Both of these are central struggles, and both are connected to the equally pressing task of overcoming the racism and economic oppression that is the dirty little not-so-secret reality of American life.

While the dynamics within the South African Jewish community are said to be vastly different, in certain ways, from those that have and continue to shape the Jewish American community, members of the former need to come to terms with a vexing situation Lerner describes thus: if Jews can turn their backs on the suffering of blacks, they become like the American majority. They would be no better than anyone else. But in so doing, they would be embracing a worldview that is indistinguishable from the rest of American life. In that case, why bother to stay Jewish, with all the attendant hassles, risks, and separations from others? It is only if Jews can stay connected to our task as witnesses to God's presence and hence as witnesses to the possibility of transformation of the ethos of selfishness to the ethos of caring (what I call 'a Politics of Meaning') that retaining one's Jewishness has a substantive point.

Lerner and West's view is that the Jewish relationship with blacks is not a 'nice feel-good' kind of thing; it speaks to our fundamental identity as a people. If we turn away, as some Jews want to do, and say, 'It's no longer in our interests to be so involved and to make financial sacrifices through supporting candidates who want to redistribute our tax monies to the poor,' we are not just sacrificing the best interests of African-Americans, we are simultaneously undermining the centre of our being as Jews. The very way of thinking that leads some Jews to turn their backs on black suffering is a way of thinking which creates a Jewish world which will be abandoned by future generations of Jews. So healing our relationship to blacks is part of overcoming the distortions in the Jewish world and reclaiming a Judaism that is most deeply authentic with Jewish roots and Jewish destiny and hence most deeply connected to God. The Jew-black relationship has special importance to Jews. The centrality of this issue is a sign of Jewish spiritual health. But healing the relationship is only a part of the task, a first step in the process of healing American society itself so that racism and poverty may, with God's help and with our willingness to make the necessary economic and political changes, be quickly eliminated.

Lerner and West maintain that if Jews and blacks cannot heal the tensions between them, there is little hope of stemming the national flow of energy toward despair, cynicism, and selfishness that produces the climate in which anti-progressive forces replace their legitimate hunger for community with a xenophobic nationalism and fear of immigrants and those with different lifestyles. This diverts their desire for mutual recognition into anger at others who supposedly are getting the recognition they have been denied, and channels their fears about their ability to sustain loving relationships into anger at gays, feminists and liberals who are blamed for undermining family values. Anyone who does not wish to live in a society dominated by the values of narrow religious fundamentalism or ultra-conservative ideology has a stake in helping to repair and heal the tensions between blacks and Jews. What happens between blacks and Jews will have consequences for the entire open society.


It is appropriate that this rather lengthy review of aspects of Jewish life and leadership experience ends with a statement which affirms one of the characteristics of Jewish life most admired by black South Africans. Throughout the consultative phases of the research study many black respondents marveled at the way in which Jewish and Indian communities do not seem to cast off, for good, those members of their respective communities who committed apostasy or crimes against the community or its members. Like traditional societies everywhere, African society insists that a human being must not be cast away ('umuntu akalahlwa' or 'motho ha lahlwi'). It is understandable, therefore, that black thought leaders and managers would like to know how other communities manage to abide by this customary law.

Rabbi Hayim Donin (35) maintains that in Jewish life, return to the faith of Israel is always possible for those who have drifted away or deliberately rebelled. Whether the road along which such a returnee must travel is a long road or a short one, to begin to travel along it is one of the most significant of religious acts. This journey is known as teshuvah; the one who takes it is called a baal-teshuvah. The word teshuvah is often translated as repentance. The root of the word, however, means simply, returning. 'Return 0 Israel unto the Lord your God' is the essence of teshuvah, the key to atonement.

A return to God is not just an acknowledgment of His existence, or simply saying 'I believe in Him. Nor does merely joining a synagogue constitute a return to Him. These are but first steps in that direction. Teshuvah means nothing less than becoming a servant of the Lord, an eved hashem. A servant is one who not only acknowledges that his master exists but one who submits to his rule and jurisdiction, who abides by the commands and requests of the master. Israel's relationship to God is no less. But in yielding to God, we proclaim our freedom from human servitude. 'You shall be my servants, said the Lord, and not servants to my servants (35).

While the behavioral response of a servant is universally recognized, that of a loved betrothed is not as universally appreciated, even by a generation that is exposed to more public lovemaking in any one year than previous generations could witness in a lifetime. For true love is not just the mouthing of expressions, nor does it consist only of declarations of affection. True love involves giving, not taking. Self-gratification at the expense of the loved one is not true love. True love is not expressed by a stubborn refusal to yield one's pleasures and desires, but by a willingness even to sacrifice in order to satisfy the object of one's love. Marriages and all relationships based upon love deteriorate where selfishness predominates. Where one of the parties behaves as though it is only his or her own wants, needs, and pleasures that matter, there, true love evaporates. And religion, which at its highest level is based upon love of God, also deteriorates in the presence of selfishness. When people act as though it is only their own wants and needs, their own likes and conveniences that matter, regardless of what might please the Almighty, love of God also evaporates (35).

From the pragmatic view, there really is not much difference if a relationship to God is built on a basis of deep love or out of an acceptance of the master-servant relationship. Although from a philosophical and spiritual view there is no doubt about the superiority of the former relationship, in practical terms the results are the same. It is only for reasons that go deep into the personal psyche that some people feel more disposed to emphasize one rather than the other of these two very legitimate relationships. From either approach, our relationship to God involves more than prayer. It calls for a personal transformation, a self-reconstruction that involves obeying Him where heretofore He had been disobeyed; satisfying Him where heretofore we thought only of satisfying ourselves (35).

To effect such a transformation requires a double effort. One involves the kind of study from which should emerge understanding in breadth and depth of the entire heritage of Israel. 'It is not more religion that is needed in higher education but more higher education that is needed in religion. The other involves experiences, the experience of living as a Jew, of behaving as a Jew. Knowledge requires understanding, and the greatest understanding derives from personal involvement and not merely from textbook learning. To know from within is surely superior to only observing from without (35).

An intellectual acknowledgment of the importance of being a Jew cannot compare to the intuitive appreciation of its value which comes from doing. Although the intellect must be there to reinforce it, particularly in our day and age, the direct sensation of what ' it really is comes from doing, not just knowing. If an intuitive or emotional appreciation of Jewish values and ideas is by itself no longer strong enough to withstand the light of critical examination in the marketplace of ideas and requires solid intellectual and academic support, the latter by itself will bring no commitment to Jewish living (35).

Donin states: 'Let us face the issue squarely. Survival of Jewry is not in and of itself sufficient to justify loyalty to Judaism or on which to base the will to remain a Jew. If being a Jew has no meaning, then the survival of Jewry as a distinct people or faith is of no consequence. And if one believes deep down that it is of consequence, then it must also have meaning and implications on the personal level. 'Return 0 Israel unto the Lord your God' is the cry of the Hebrew Prophets that has rung out throughout the generations whenever our people have drifted away from Him. Central to our faith is the notion that it is never too late for such a return. Whether one is six or sixty, ten or a hundred, he is called upon to purify his heart and his thoughts and to direct or redirect himself to the Almighty' (35).

Donin adds that 'let no returnee to God (penitent) imagine that he is too distant from the level of the righteous on account of his past sins and transgressions. This is not so. Loved and dear is he before the Creator as though he never sinned. Not only that, but his reward is even greater, for he tasted of transgression and turned away from it, mastering his evil inclination. Our Sages said, in the place that a baal teshuvah stands, even the perfectly righteous cannot stand. In other words, their spiritual level is even greater than those who have never sinned. All the Prophets called for repentance, and the final redemption of Israel will only come about through repentance" (35).

We might also note the conclusion of the wise Koheleth, who after all his searching for the meaning of life and after all his seeking for it, from asceticism to hedonism, concluded that 'after all things being heard, revere the Lord and keep His commandments. For this is the whole of man' If he who saves a life is credited in our tradition with saving a world, it follows that he who destroys a life is guilty of destroying a world. If he who spiritually suffocates a Jewish life, be it his own or that of his own children, is accountable for the spiritual suffocation of a whole Jewish world, it also follows that he who spiritually revives a Jewish life-be it only his own-is as though he spiritually revived a Jewish world.


"Parents Lead the Way back: Total Torah, Total Nation"

1. Does Morality have its Own Vocabulary?

The Pirkei Avos (37) lists and defines a number of words which are usually associated with morality, such as "right," "good," "virtuous," wrong," "evil," "selfish, "ought." Most of' these predicates, however, can be used in a non-moral sense as well. A "good knife" means "one that cuts well," and "He is the right man for the job" may refer to a burglary. Thus the language of morality is not identifiable by the use of certain words but by the context and the use to which these words are being put.

It is evident that most of' the moral predicates are what we call terms of appraisal, which we use to evaluate certain actions or certain individuals. But here again the distinction is too broad and the class into which we would place the language of morality is too large to be helpful. Obviously, there are many appraisal terms in our language, such as "beautiful" and "ugly," "useful" and "false," which are not part of the language of morality. When we say, "That painting is beautiful" or "That theory is true," although we are saying different things, we are undoubtedly making a positive evaluation of both the painting and the theory. But neither of them are moral judgments. Is there any special significance to a positive moral judgment, such as "It is right to help the poor"? Are we doing anything more than merely expressing our approval?

Sonic (37) writers have pointed to the emotive function of moral language. They claim that what distinguishes moral appraisal is its ability to express feelings as well as to produce feelings concerning the act in question. Further analysis results in the insight that moral language is not only appraisal language designed to express emotion but is prescriptive language. That is to say, it is a language which is deliberately used to suggest courses of' action to people. Sometimes our moral judgments are in the form of overt imperatives like "You ought to behave more kindly, while at other times the prescriptive aspect is only implied.

It should, however, be kept in mind that in most usages, evaluative words, including moral ones, will have a descriptive meaning as a secondary aspect.' Thus, if I refer to my breakfast omelette as "a good egg," the hearer has learned something about the egg because we have rather fixed standards for assessing the goodness of eggs which are well known. However, if I say, "That poem is good," it is less clear what information has been conveyed about the poem. This is because there is no accepted criterion of goodness in poems. The same observations hold for moral evaluations. In addition to the emotive, evaluative, and prescriptive meanings, which are primary, there can be a secondary descriptive meaning if, for the language-users involved, there are fixed and accepted moral standards.

Assuming the above to be the general function of moral language, to what type of phenomena do we apply moral judgments? An old distinction tends to associate morality with "practical reason." In contrast to the quest for theoretical knowledge, ethics is expected to tell us how to behave. But clearly there is a considerable amount of behavior in which we are involved in the course of the ordinary day which has nothing to do with morality, where moral issues do not arise, and where moral Judgments are not called for.

2. Determining what is a Moral Issue

Some observations may be made to enable us to narrow the possible location of the moral sphere.

a.. Moral judgments apply only to human beings and their behavior. One does not morally condemn an animal or weigh the ethical qualities of a plant.

b.. The actions of human beings not subject to choice would not be considered subject to moral judgment. A necessary condition for praising or condemning a person morally is his ability to have acted otherwise than he did. An individual compelled either physically or psychologically to perform an act is not a moral agent. In order to be a candidate for moral judgment, an act must somehow reflect the self" or character of the person.

c.. Both of the above conditions are still not sufficient to create a moral situation. It is necessary that we have a situation in which a moral rule or moral principle is relevant. I rise in the morning and decide not to brush my teeth. This behavior satisfies conditions (1) and (2), but not (3) and is therefore a non-moral situation. However, add the factor that there is only a dab of paste left in the tube, and knowing my wife's addiction to the stuff, I decide to leave it for her, and you have a morally praiseworthy deed. For we perceive here the relevance of the moral principal of benevolence.

d.. But we still have not answered the question of how to detect the moral principle or rule from among other rules. Perhaps the best answer we can give is as follows:

e.. A moral rule is one which it is believed ought to govern the conduct of human beings as human beings; a rule which we expect every human being to follow simply because he is a human being.

This is in contrast to all the many other sorts of rules that people may feel themselves called upon to observe because they are members of a certain class or because they have a special role in life. You may be obligated to obey the one-way street sign because you are a car driver. If you are a dinner guest, you are bound by the rules of etiquette. If you are wearing the uniform of the New York Yankees, you are subject to the rules of baseball, not qua human being but qua baseball player. But to say this is to suggest that the uniquely moral aspect of any rule or principle or standard is its claim to universal applicability. For to say that a moral rule governs the conduct of human beings as human beings is to imply that it is a rule which all human beings, regardless of time and place, ought to observe when in similar circumstances.

Another system of social rules with which morality is often confused is the law, which also includes critical standards of behavior designed for purposes of guidance. How do morality and law differ, and what is the relationship between them? This question is particularly significant in the light of our interest in the moral teachings of Judaism. For the prescribed observances of Judaism have usually been conceived as a code of law with the moral rules somehow included therein. Indeed the word Torah itself has frequently, though misleadingly, been translated as "law." It might therefore be helpful to review briefly some of the main distinguishing characteristics of legal rules.

3. Morality and Law

Let us begin by noting some of the obvious similarities between legal and moral rules.

a.. Both are conceived as binding independently of the consent of the individual and are supported by social pressure for conformity.

b.. Both include rules that govern behavior in situations constantly recurring in life.

c.. Compliance is regarded not as a matter of praise, but as a matter of' course. That is to say that in both law and morality there is a standard level to which all are -expected to conform. This is as far as moral duties are concerned. There is, however, in morality a dimension we might call moral ideals, which extol virtues, such as benevolence or patience, whose realization is a matter of degree and where unusual achievement is deserving of praise.

The differences between law and morality may be summarized as follows:

a.. Moral rules are considered of greater importance than legal rules, and their observance is expected even at the cost of hardship and sacrifice. The charge that one is immoral is generally considered more horrendous than the charge that one has performed an illegal act.

b.. Laws can be added to or changed by deliberate enactment. Indeed a legal system includes specific rules of change, which prescribe how one can modify or repeal existing laws. Morals generally enjoy "a certain immunity from deliberate change.

c.. Whether an act is a moral offense depends heavily on its voluntary character, more so than in the case of a legal violation. One must usually be able to show intentionality in a moral act before either praise or blame can be accorded.

d.. Legal rules are enforced by threats of punishment. Moral rules are maintained more by appeals to respect for the values involved or by generating a sense of guilt when they are violated.

e.. A legal system performs certain functions which are not found in moral systems. Law provides for certain acts or instruments which confer powers. For example, if a legal contract is drawn, it assigns rights and imposes obligations upon certain individuals which they did not have before. I t is a moral rule which tells me that I ought not to take what belongs to my neighbor. But it is a legal rule which, by recognizing certain acts as acts of purchase, informs me what it is that belongs to my neighbor.

The relationship between law and morality is an intricate one, and the fact that they overlap and intersect in all sorts of ways has contributed to the complexity. There is no doubt that in almost every society the law has been heavily influenced by the dominant views of morality. Generally, the principles of the conventional morality were seen as emanating from some higher source which transcended society itself.

a.. It was generally assumed that the laws made by man to govern his society should conform to the accepted moral principles.

b.. Sometimes important moral rules themselves would be incorporated into the legal system and given the force and authority of law.

c.. The legal system as a whole might be seen as resting upon a moral value. To the question, "Why ought I to obey the law?" the answer could very well be in terms of morality: "Because you would be ungrateful to enjoy the benefits of this society and reject its obligations."

d.. Basic to the entire legal enterprise is the concept of justice, which is a moral principle. All of the laws are sometimes seen as nothing more than an attempt to regulate the affairs of men in conformity with justice, fairness, and equity. But these are moral principles. So that in effect those who are involved in the law constantly use the concepts of justice to apply the law and to interpret the law. We often appeal to morality to judge the law itself. Indeed laws, as well as legal systems as a whole, are tested by conformity to the moral principles of justice.

What is clear from the above is that it is to be expected that law and morality will be intertwined. We now have at least some idea as to how to distinguish one from the other.

4. Morality and Universalisation

The universal aspect of moral judgment is so deeply imbedded in the structure of morality that some have claimed it to be a part of the very logic of moral language. Consider an individual P who upon seeing Q does a certain act (R) makes the statement S: "That was a most immoral thing to do!" The statement (S) as it stands is a judgment about a particular action (R) performed by a particular individual. Yet the grammar or logic of moral language seems to be such that on the basis of that particular statement alone, we would be justified in inferring that P is committed to the moral principle of which that particular action was an instance. Thus, if P himself, in relevantly similar circumstances, does the same act and claims there is nothing wrong with it, we can accuse him of inconsistency. For, having asserted S, he necessarily commits himself to a universal form of S. If it is acknowledged that it is morally wrong for Q to do R, then it must be wrong for any person in similar circumstances to do R. The structure of moral language seems to have this built-in feature of universality because morality is seen to apply to man qua man.

The observation we made earlier, that the moral predicates are terms of appraisal, words by means of which we express our approval or disapproval of' certain acts, is the source of one of the main approaches to morality. To say that "the table is round" or that "the chair is red" is to report something about the world of fact. What, however, are you doing when you say, "The act is morally wrong," or, "His character is noble"? Are the "wrongness" and the "nobility" part of the factual world in the same sense as the "roundness" and the "redness"? The difficulty in locating the "wrongness" and the "nobility" leads us to the often-made distinction between facts and values. Moral judgments seem to be about values.

The world of fact comes to us unlabeled and ungraded. It is value-neutral. Facts are simply there, neither good nor bad, right nor wrong. Facts are perceived, given names, and catalogued, their existence and properties confirmed by the experience of others. The process of assigning importance or worth or value to certain things seems to be a different process altogether, something rather confusing and something of which both aesthetics and morality seem to be a part. But things in the world seem to have a value only for persons and for different reasons. I can approve of something because it is useful or it gives me pleasure, so that any value judgments, like matters of taste and entertainment, seem to be subjective in nature. That is to say, a statement like "The steak is good" does not predicate some quality, such as "goodness," of the steak, but is to be translated, "I, the speaker, find the steak enjoyable." Something has been predicated of the subject, the person who made the statement. Are we prepared to accept the same analysis of the values referred to by moral judgments? Do these statements as well, in spite of their predicative form, say nothing about the world of fact, about the objective world, but simply register our own or society's likes and dislikes?

5. Morality As Value: The Search For The Good

At this point another distinction is in order. The conviction that the foundation of morality is the search for summum bonum, the supreme good or ultimate value, goes back to Aristotle, who defined it as "an end of action which is desired for its own sake while everything else is desired for the sake of it. The suggestion is that the moral action lies in the pursuit of the intrinsic good rather than in the merely instrumental good. Money, for example, is valued not for its own sake but for what one can buy with it. Many seek success in their profession for the fame it will bring them or the recognition of their peers. Morality, however, is to be associated with the intrinsic good, which is that value which is desired for its own sake only. Precisely what this intrinsic value might be is, of course, to be found in the history of ethics from Aristotle onward. Some, like Aristotle, felt it to be a sort of happiness with stress on intellectual contemplation. The utilitarians saw it as the maximization of pleasure for the greatest number of people. Others spoke of self-fulfillment.

Those ethical theories which associate the unique moral phenomenon with a perception of the intrinsic good and define the "right" in terms of the good, so that the right moral choice in any situation is that which leads to the good, are sometimes called teleological theories. In these systems the goodness or badness, rightness or wrongness of an act is judged by its consequences.

What remains in question is the nature of this intrinsic good. Did this also start as a subjective feeling, which because of its social importance was moved to the apex of the value structure, and in order to endow it with authority was given a grammar which suggests obligation and universality? Many thinkers today would answer in the affirmative. There was, at least one influential philosopher in recent times who argued that the ultimate good is an objective, non-analyzable, and non-natural quality which can be intuited by anyone who cares to consider the question. He said, "By far the most valuable things which we can know or imagine and are worth having purely for their own sakes, are certain states of consciousness which may be roughly described as the pleasures of human intercourse and the enjoyment of' beautiful objects."' He argued that even where there were no human beings actually present, an ideal observer would have to acknowledge that a world which contained beautiful objects was somehow better than one which did not. It does seem difficult to make out a convincing case for the objectivity of' intrinsic value, particularly when these evaluations seem to be conferred on the object by considerations of human interest and satisfaction and seem empty without them. What is the relationship of the human being to value? Does he create it or merely discover it?

An important difference should be noted among those moral theories which emphasize the summum bonum and the value factor. Theories such as utililtarianism and the writings of Hume, for example, are purely empirical in approach. Hume stated that "to have the sense of virtue is nothing but to feel a satisfaction of a certain kind.... The very feeling constitutes our praise. Bentham claimed that pleasure and absence of pain constitute the only intrinsic good because as a matter of fact that is the only end that people value for its own sake. If, at a later stage, Mill felt it necessary to distinguish between higher- and lower-quality pleasure, he did so only on the stated basis that those who were acquainted with both would opt for the higher pleasure. All was rooted in the sensations and subjective reactions of people.

As early as Aristotle, however, some writers were not prepared simply to consult the vox populi or to leave the determination of value to simple sensory perception. We do not feel our way to the summun bonum; we reason our way. This point, of course, would have to be granted by all theories, at least to the extent that it takes reason to distinguish between instrumental goods and intrinsic goods. Aristotle, however, went further and, while acknowledging that human happiness was the summum bonum, denied that it was a mere matter of subjective feeling on the part of the individual. Feelings can mislead. Thus, a person could feel fine and conclude that he is in excellent health, yet a medical examination might show otherwise. Aristotle and others who followed him could not deny that if a person feels contented and happy, he really is contented and happy. However, "being satisfied or contented or happy must always involve being satisfied or contented or happy in something or with something or by something.

Few people would agree that an individual who has an activated electrode hooked to the pleasure center of his brain and thus is in a constant state of ecstasy has reached the summum bonum. Reason, therefore, must guide us to that set of pleasure-giving activities which are characteristically human. Aristotle, of course, believed that reason can detect a natural end or function for man which fully satisfies man's natural aspirations, tendencies, or potentialities. Self-conscious striving toward fulfillment of that natural end will provide man with a truly happy life." More recently F. H. Bradley conceived an ethical h terms of an even more fully developed notion of self-realization. Several considerations seem to commend such a rational reconstruction of our concept of the supreme good. One is the fact that what is good for any living thing does seem to depend on the nature of that thing. Birds thrive in the air and drown in water; fish prosper in water and die in the air. You must know the species to determine its good. But what is the nature of man? Can we determine, as Aristotle and Bradley thought we could, man's natural end or function which would disclose the supreme human good?

Another argument which leads away from a purely empirical grounding of the good is the tendency of reason to set up criteria of what the supreme good should look like. Thus Aristotle stipulated that whatever is proposed as the supreme good must be "final and self-sufficient"; i.e., must be such that the addition to it of lesser goods does not make the person happier than before. The supreme good must also be such as to assure a certain permanence to this experience of happiness. Armed with such criteria, one can then review the values offered by the empirical approach with a result that finds them wanting. Thus Bradley attacks the notion that pleasure can be the supreme good by pointing out that pleasure as an experience is "an infinite perishing series"; each pleasurable sensation comes and goes; and when it goes, we are no longer satisfied. Says Bradley, "We are told: get all pleasures and you will have got happiness but ... a series which has no beginning and no end can not be summed; there is no all.... what is the sum of pleasure and when are we at the end?

Undoubtedly questions of this sort lead to the distinction between what appears to be good and the truly good, between the desired and the desirable. We shall see later that much of this road has been traveled by religious ethics.

6. Morality as Duty: The Search for the Right

In contrast to those who identify the central phenomenon of morality with the intrinsic good, there is an equally venerable group which argues that morality is uniquely grounded in our consciousness of a sense of duty and obligation, so that the primary moral predicate is the word "right." For these philosophers, the crucial fact is said to be obedience to rules rather than the satisfaction of desires. The goal of life is to be judged not in terms of the kind of satisfactions the individual has realized but in the extent to which his conduct has displayed a fulfillment of the demands and obligations to which he as a human being is subject. The chief good of life is thus a matter of doing what is right. If we examine our moral experience, we are told, we will discover some special ought-quality which seems to attach itself to situations like promise-keeping or helping someone in need or refraining from an act of injustice. Since the experience of "rising to do one's duty" often sets one against one's own natural inclination and self-interest, it is easier to perceive moral experience as an "objective" reality than as a "subjective" desire. The moral ought seems to come from some principle or standard which in some sense seems to be "outside" the orbit of self'-interest. Once we accept "duty" and "the right" as basic and "good" as derivative, the value of moral virtue considered as one who always performs his obligations does seem to be incommensurable with the values of' the other, non-moral goods.

However, here, too, as in the case of "good," one must be careful to distinguish the moral use of "ought" and "right" from the non-moral. The comment to a friend during a meal, "You are not doing the right thing, is probably referring to his weight-watcher's diet rather than to any moral principle. Similarly, the judgment "You ought to go to the convention" or "You ought to stop smoking" must be understood in terms of an unexpressed hypothetical: "if you wish to secure that teaching appointment" or "if you wish to safeguard your health."

This has sometimes been called the prudential in contrast to the moral use of out "ought." These prescriptive statements simply point out a certain means-ends relationship and depend for their force upon the acceptance of the particular end involved. Thus, if I am not interested in my health, it does not follow at all that I ought to stop smoking.

It was for these reasons that Kant spoke of the truly moral act as being seen as a categorical imperative; i.e., where the principle behind the act is accepted on its own merits and not as a rule for gaining some desired end. When one apprehends an obligation or duty as binding simply because one is a rational human being and is prepared to perform the duty for duty's sake, then one has entered the moral sphere.

Moralities which focus on the concept of "right" as being central to the moral enterprise are prone to be backward-looking rather than forward-looking. Rather than concentrate on what lies ahead, on the consequences of the act, these theories look more to the past, to the set of relationships in which the act is embedded. On this view the moral duty to keep a promise is grounded in the fact that I gave my word, on the nature of the act itself, rather than in any projection of what a policy of keeping rather than not keeping promises would bring about. Theories of this type, in contrast to the teleological theories described above, are sometimes called deontological moralities.

Duties are usually expressed in the form of rules or laws or commands. Rules and laws are characterized by their generality, which once again brings to our attention that feature of moral judgment which we earlier called its universality. Kant made this component a central part of his theory, utilizing it as the criterion of the moral act. As he put it: "Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."" Any action, the principle behind which fulfills the requirement of universality, is sanctioned as a moral law. Kant saw this as a requirement of reason which would obligate all rational beings. Through the form of universality, a person restricts his inclination to do as he pleases and makes his actions conform to a universal law. As I am about to break my promise, I must ask myself: "Could I in all consistency will that all others in my circumstances should act likewise?" Clearly I could not, since if everyone broke his promise, no one would accept a promise, in which case I could no longer benefit from my nasty practice. But to consider a practice right for myself but wrong for all others, without being a significant difference in the circumstances, does seem to involve one in some sort of inconsistency. This would appear to be the rather tenuous connection between acting on a universal principle and the process of' reason.

7. The Source of the Ultimate Moral Principle

However, there still remains the question of the source of the ought, the ground of the obligatoriness, the force of the imperative. If one speaks of law, one may ask, "Who is the legislator?" If one speaks of command, "Who is commanding and by what authority?" Kant believed the answer was to be found in man's nature as a rational being. Others taught that the moral duty can be immediately apprehended as a self evident intuition where the sense of obligatoriness is a part of the apprehension itself.

It is interesting to note that in both the teleological and the deontological camps, whether the "good" or-the "right" is seen as primary, we ultimately arrive at a position which states that the uniquely moral quality is an immediate and irreducible datum of our experience. One of the important considerations which pushes in the direction of such a development has to do with the logic of moral language. An insight first found in Hume points out that no "ought" statement can be derived from a series of premises which contain only "is" statements. Is statements are factual, informative assertions which describe states of affairs in the natural world. "Ought" statements are sentences of our moral language which are normative, telling us what we ought or ought not to do. Thus consider the following deduction:

(1). Premise: Cigarette smoking leads to early death.

(2). Conclusion: People ought not to smoke.

As it stands, the conclusion does not follow logically from the premise. The reason why (2) is usually considered as properly entailed by (1) is that there is an additional tacit though unexpressed premise which it is assumed most people would generally agree to; namely, (1a) Rational beings ought to do nothing that would shorten their lives. Once this is made explicit, the deduction looks as follows:

Premise (l): Rational beings ought to strive to preserve their lives.

Premise (2): Cigarette smoking leads to early death.

Conclusion: Rational beings ought not to smoke.

The deduction as now stated is valid, but this is because there is now an, "ought" statement in the premises. This simple insight has profound implications for ethical theory and holds even where the "is" statements are of a metaphysical nature. Consider the following deduction:

Premise (1): God exists.

Premise (2): God has commanded us to respect our parents.

Conclusion: We ought to respect our parents.

Now, even if (1) and (2) be accepted as true, (3) does not follow from those premises. This might come as a surprise to those who always assumed that religious belief' offers a strong basis for moral observance. If- that is the connection between religious beliefs and the moral conclusion, then the deduction might read as follows:

Premise (1): God exists.

Premise (2): God is omnipotent and punishes sinners.

Premise (3): God has commanded us to respect our parents.

Premise (4): Rational beings ought to avoid unnecessary pain.

Conclusion (5): Rational beings ought to respect their parents.

In this form, the deduction is valid, but the conclusion is no longer a moral rule but one based on prudential motives. These considerations help pinpoint an important problem that will require our attention in our analysis of- the morality of Judaism. We shall have to explain the relationship between the will of God and moral principle and the grounds of' the moral ought. What brought Hume to his understanding of the impossibility of drawing a moral conclusion from purely descriptive statements was not only logical considerations but also the roles he assigned to reason and emotions in man's decision making process. He believed that both reason and emotion, or sentiment, play an essential role in moral judgment, but that the roles are quite different. Reason is completely confined to matters of fact.

The knowledge that reason yields cannot lead us to approve or disapprove of any particular end or value. This, according to Hume, is a matter of attraction or repulsion, and as such is a matter of' sentiment and depends upon our emotional makeup. Reason, therefore, cannot help us in our choice of ends as distinct from means. On this view, our cognition of the world of fact provided by reason, no matter how extensive, can offer no clue as to ultimate moral choices. The ought cannot be grounded in the is alone.

From this view that moral propositions are not deducible from non-moral ones, other thinkers went on to proclaim that moral properties are not definable in terms of non-moral ones. Thus G.E. Moore developed a wholesale refutation of any ethical theory which defines the good in terms of any natural quality. He accused such naturalistic theories of committing the "naturalistic fallacy." Since Moore believed that goodness is simple in nature and unanalysable in terms of anything else, it followed that goodness could not be explained by any account of' the contents of the universe. Others have attempted to expose the naturalistic fallacy by resorting to what is sometimes called the technique of the "open question." This is based on the assumption that in a correct definition (A means B), to assert that X is A is to preclude any doubt that X is B. Thus, f-or example, if the correct definition of atheist" is "a person who denies the existence of God," it would be senseless for someone to say, "I know what Leonid Brezhnev is an atheist, but does he deny the existence of God?" If' the definition is correct, it is no longer an open question.

Yet if we consider any of the naturalistic theories in ethics, such as the one which states that "Good means productive of the greatest happiness," it still seems perfectly sensible to ask, "I know this action will produce the greatest happiness, but is it good?" In terms of our ordinary discourse and our understanding of these words, the question seems perfectly sensible. The fact, therefore, that this remains an open question implies, according to Moore, that the definition of good in terms of "greatest happiness," or, by extrapolation, in terms of any natural quality, is an arbitrary one in defiance of the plain meaning of our language.

I t would appear from our brief survey that all of the main types of moral theories lace significant philosophic challenges. Naturalistic theories like utilitarianism must reply to the Hume-Moore challenge and explain the source of the "ought." Intuitionist theories that assert that both intrinsic value and the "ought" are aspects of reality itself' will be hard put to explain the diversity of moral opinion. After all, if values or obligations can be immediately apprehended by the mind, one would expect more general agreement in moral matters. Metaphysical theories are touched by both the challenges mentioned above plus some special problems of their own. The general attitude of relativism and skepticism which exists today in regard to matters of ethics rests upon these two foundation-stones: (1) the seemingly obvious relativity of all known moral norms and standards of value (as a matter of fact); (2) the obvious neutrality to ethics of all actual facts and occurrences within the real world (as a matter of- principle).

8. Types of Moral Theories and the Logic Employed

For the purposes of this study, it will be helpful to see moral theories as divided into the following three major groupings:

a.. There are naturalistic theories which attempt to explain the moral life on the basis of natural facts and nothing else. In one formulation of this type, moral rules are simply generalizations of what men have found commonly to be satisfying to their basic desires. Another version might attempt to explain the "ought" in terms of the principles of Freudian psychology.

b.. What might be called "autonomous" theories are those that reject the idea that moral experience is grounded in anything outside of itself. They insist that morality belongs to the fundamental nature of' reality or to the fundamental nature of the self. They believe morality to be an expression of the ultimately rational and the ultimately real.

c.. Religious theories of morality are those in which the meaning and authority of the ethical experience are related to something beyond nature and rooted somehow in God. What remains to be explained is the exact nature of the relationship. Does religious theory of necessity exclude the first two approaches? As we examine the moral teachings of Judaism, it will be our task to determine whether indeed the morality of Judaism is a religious theory in the sense that it differs completely from types (a) and (b) above.

Beyond these special problems of a logical nature, there is a broad area in most moral systems which has been called their vertical lineage, whereby moral conclusions are derived from some general premises and the progression is governed by the canons of traditional logic. Thus, for example, a morality may have as its supreme principle, "Act always for the general happiness," and from that principle, in conjunction with certain factual assertions, deduce particular moral rules. The logical progression would look like this:

P1 One must always act for the general happiness.

P2 Monogamy leads to general happiness.

Conclusion:. Monogamy is a system which ought to be supported.

The major philosophic difficulty in justifying moral systems is generally associated with the major premise or the supreme moral principle. As we have seen, we run into trouble if we attempt to derive them from factual statements or claim that they are irreducible data of our experience or intuitions of some kind. The factual or descriptive assertions that are involved in moral judgments or systems as a whole require justification in the same manner as all scientific statements. Very often disagreement in moral questions can be traced to their factual components, in which case the dispute can be resolved.

Where the disagreement centers about the moral principle and is rooted in a disagreement in attitude, the only reasons that could be advanced for or against are not rational but rather support the argument psychologically and seek to persuade rather than to prove. However, assuming the premises in the above deduction to be true, the conclusion follows by ordinary deductive logic and does not require any special ethical reasoning or moral faculty. Similarly, in moral disagreements an appeal to consistency is always in place, as in the following exchange:

a.. It is always wrong to break a promise.

b.. You speak without thinking. There are many cases of that sort which you regard without the least disapproval.

It may therefore be concluded that reasoning in matters of-morality does not generally require any special logic but utilizes principles of' deductive inference, as when particular cases are subsumed under general rules and in practical issues of moral choice. Inductive inference is employed to determine the most likely consequence of an action.

9. The Effect of General Beliefs on one's Moral Views

A final consideration of a general nature before we bring this chapter to a close: An examination of' diverse moral theories reveals that embedded within their inner structures are assumptions about the world and about human nature which are themselves not moral principles but which are operative within the moral theory. A recent writer has referred to these elements of any moral theory as its existential perspective ("existential" meaning a way of viewing existence), or stage setting. He defines the existential perspective of an ethical theory as "its view of 'the world and its properties, man's nature and condition in so far as these enter into its understanding of moral processes and moral judgment. In attempting to understand any ethical theory, it is suggested that we seek to determine in what ways, if any, the following elements are present and operative in its functioning:

a.. a particular view of the world and its constituents a particular theory or model of' its processes and mechanisms

b.. a particular view of the nature of man and his dominant aims a particular reference to unavoidables in life and action (birth, maturation, reproduction, aging, death)

c.. a particular theory of man's faculties-intellectual, emotional, practical-and their relations and an image of the self

d.. a particular image of community -its nature, bonds, extent

e.. a particular consequent view of the degree of knowability of the world, human life, community, and their processes a particular view of determinateness and indeterminateness in their patterning

f.. a particular expectation of dominant dangers (e.g., illness, human aggression, etc.)

g.. a particular assessment of control-possibilities, including (where it exists) any estimate of morality itself' as a control-instrument

As an illustration of the wide range of influence which elements of' this stage-setting can have upon an ethical theory, let us for a moment consider the utilitarianism of' Bentham and Mill. As a naturalistic theory, its stage-setting is very much our temporal world of men, with individual human beings being seen as the unit of' moral agency. Causality is taken for granted in the operation of man and nature. It is further optimistically assumed that men can reason and calculate and successfully plan and generalize and apply the lessons of their experience. It is expected that once men fully realize that certain lines of conduct mean increased pleasure, they can be counted on to follow them.

The tie-in of' these existential perspectives with the structure of utilitarian ethics is quite plain. The understanding of man's basic striving - i.e. pleasure - is directly incorporated into the definitions of ethical terms. The assumed rational abilities of men and the steadiness and dependability of the environment make it possible to ascribe an inductive methodology to ethics. That is to say, experience will teach us what is productive of the greatest pleasure, and our intelligence will not only enable us to trace out the expected consequence of various policies but will motivate us to choose the "good" so perceived.


The term "Jewish law" in this document does not refer to modern Israeli law. "Jewish law" in this thesis refers to the Jewish people's three-thousand-year-old legal system, which is based on G-d's revelation at Mount Sinai. That system is today found in many different source texts, a large number of which are referred to in the thesis. It is important to understand the relative weight and authority that is attributed to each in order to fully appreciate the import of what is being conveyed. In this section an attempt will be made to explain in broad outline the historical and legal significance of the sources of Jewish law as contained in its major texts. The discussion is by no means comprehensive and is aimed only at providing the reader with an elementary guide to the Jewish law sources referred in the thesis.

Jewish law, known as the "Torah", meaning teaching or instruction, and revealed by G-d at Mount Sinai consists of two forms: written and oral. The former, known as the "Written Torah", is contained in the Bible's "Five Books of Moses", known as the "Chumash", the original Hebrew of which is believed to be the exact word of G-d as dictated to Moses. The latter, known as the "Oral Torah", is today contained in a text called the Talmud. The Oral Torah adds details to, elaborates upon and provides an authoritative interpretation of the Written Torah. The two other parts of the Hebrew Bible, "Prophets" and "Scriptures", are regarded as Divinely inspired but not Divinely dictated, and are not of the same status as the Chumash.

The tangible product of the Oral Torah in the form of the Talmud was the culmination of a process that stretched over hundreds of years. From its Divine origins at Mount Sinai the Oral Torah was transmitted orally from one generation of scholars to the next until its basic contents was committed to writing in a work known as the "Mishna". The Mishna was completed in 188 AD and was edited and compiled by Rabbi Yehudah the Prince in conjunction with the greatest Jewish law scholars of the time. It was written down because of the fear that the Oral Torah would be forgotten due to the Roman occupation and oppression of the times. The Oral Torah was also incorporated into other forms called "Braitot" (meaning "outside") and "Toseftot" (meaning "additions"). The Mishna is regarded as the most authoritative work of this period and in cases of conflict is binding.

The Mishna consists of six major sections, each one called a "Seder" (meaning "order") and numerous sub-sections, each one called a "Masechet" (meaning "tractate"). The Mishna is written in Hebrew and reflects the basic content of the Oral Torah as received by Moses at Sinai. The loyal transmission of the Oral Torah is set out in the Mishna itself:* "Moses received the Torah from Sinai and transmitted it to Joshua; Joshua to the Elders; the Elders to the Prophets; and the Prophets transmitted it to the Men of the Great Assembly."

The Mishna contains the essence of the Oral Torah. The scholars of the Mishna are known as "Tannayim" ("Tanna" in singular). The Mishna's style is terse and very brief, reflecting the bare essentials of the Oral Torah. When it was written it was accompanied by an elaborate oral tradition, which expanded on the tersely phrased text. Due to further persecution it became necessary to record the full oral tradition in an expanded text, called the "Gemara", which accompanies the Mishna. The Gemara was written in the vernacular, Aramaic, and is a record of the oral tradition surrounding the Mishna. The Rabbis of the Gemara are known as Amorayim and are bound by the views of the Tanayim, the Rabbis of the Mishna. On the other hand, Amorayim do have the authority to decide a point of dispute between Tanayim.

The Mishna and the Gemara together are known as the Talmud. There are two versions of the Talmud: the Jerusalem Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud, which were compiled and edited in the two major centres of Jewish learning of the times: Israel and Babylon. The Gemara is structured around the Mishna and in the case of the Babylonian Talmud 37 of the 63 tractates of the Mishna have accompanying Gemara. The Talmudic references in this thesis are given as follows: "Talmud: Tractate Name: page number". The page numbers refer to the standard and universally used Vilna edition of the Babylonian Talmud which has been reprinted many times with the same formatting. If there is no Gemara only Mishna in the Talmudic source, then very often the reference will not refer to page numbers but rather chapter and Mishna numbers.

The Babylonian Talmud, which is the more authoritative of the two, was published in 505AD, although the process of its compilation and editing began earlier under the direction of Rav Ashi (352-427AD) and Ravina. Their work was completed by Rav Ashi's son, Mar bar Rav Ashi, and Meremar. Any reference in this thesis to the Talmud refers to the Babylonian Talmud, unless otherwise specified. Page references to the Babylonian Talmud are uniform throughout the Jewish world and all editions use the same page format and numbering.

The Talmud, as the authoritative expression of the Oral Torah, is one of the most important binding sources of Jewish law. Any statement of Jewish law subsequent to the Talmud must be based on the Talmud. The Talmud contains different types and sources of Jewish law:

i. Logic

ii Scriptural Derivation

iii Rabbinic Legislation

iv Custom

v Judicial Decisions

i. Logic

A law which is derived from pure human logic is regarded as being of Divine origin and carries the full weight of Divine law. In fact, the Talmud often states that if a law can be logically deduced then it is even unnecessary for it to be referred to in the Written Law. There are a number of examples of so-called 'logic laws' in the Talmud.* One such example is the rule that the onus of proof is on the claimant.* All 'logic laws' must be self evident as determined and finally accepted by the Great Sanhedrin or by the Talmud. When thus accepted, pure human logic is elevated to the level of Divine law, thereby placing man adjacent to G-d in the creation of law.

ii. Scriptural Derivation

The Oral Torah not only consists of many explanations and legal principles but also contains rules for deriving laws from the Pentateuch.* Sometimes the Oral Law gives the cases in which these rules could be applied. But in many cases it does not stipulate the cases in which these rules are to be applied.* Once again man enters the picture to take over where G-d left off. By using these rules the Rabbis are able to derive new laws by expanding and interpreting the Written Law. The law derived by the Great Sanhedrin or the Talmudic Rabbis from the application of the rules, is deemed to be Divine law.* Man's contribution to the legal system is comparable to G-d's own word. This lofty status is only accorded to law derived by the Great Sanhedrin or the Talmudic Rabbis. In certain instances, interpretation based on these rules can even override a literal reading of the Pentateuch. For example, the Talmud, using the given rules, interprets the 'lex talionis' – 'an eye for an eye' – to mean monetary compensation and not physical mutilation. The phraseology of 'an eye for an eye' and 'a tooth for a tooth', indicates, rather, that compensation must be equitable.* "It is a law appropriate only for free peoples, in which the poorest inhabitant has the same rights as his most aristocratic assailant …. it deems the tooth of the poorest peasant as valuable as that of the nobleman…"*

iii. Rabbinic Legislation

Jewish law can be divided into two major categories: "DeOraita" (meaning "of the Torah") and "DeRabanan" (meaning "of the Rabbis"). The latter assumes great importance both quantitatively and qualitatively. Quantitatively (i.e. in terms of the amount of legislation enacted), Rabbinic legislation equals and perhaps even surpasses Divine law. Qualitatively, Rabbinic legislation is considered as if it is decreed by G-d because G-d Himself commanded that the Rabbis be obeyed:* "… follow the teaching which they instruct you. Do not stray to the right or left from the word that they declare to you." Thus a person who transgresses a Rabbinic decree is in contravention of Divine law which demands obedience to Rabbinic enactments. The context of the above quotation indicates that it is only the highest court of the land (the Great Sanhedrin) that has the authority to enact legislation which will become a source of Divine law. Although it is considered to be of the same status as Divine law, Rabbinic legislation is clearly identified as such in order that it not be confused with actual G-d-given law. Rabbinic legislation mandates certain actions and prohibits others but may never abrogate or change Divine law as contained in the Written or Oral Law.

Nevertheless, a Rabbinic decree may partially suspend G-d-given laws which mandate a certain action if such suspension will prevent the transgression of other Divine prohibitions. For example it is a Divine injunction to sound a Shofar (a hollowed out ram's horn) on New Year's Day.* When New Year's Day occurred on the Seventh day of the week – the Sabbath – problems arose in that people were carrying the Shofar through public thoroughfares thereby violating the Sabbath laws, which prohibit the carrying of any article in public areas. In order to prevent Sabbath violations the Great Sanhedrin prohibited the sounding of the Shofar when a New Year's Day occurred on the Sabbath.* Their jurisdiction to infringe on Divine law is limited to cases where such infringement is passive (in the above case not sounding the Shofar) and partial (in the above case, only a New Year's Day which coincides with the Sabbath is affected).

The details of the legislative capacity of the Great Sanhedrin are numerous. For the purposes of this thesis it is sufficient to note that man, albeit with certain restraints, partners G-d in the legislative act. In fact, man-made legislation is not only tolerated in Jewish law but even encouraged.*

iv. Custom

That custom is an important part of the Jewish legal system is evidenced by the fact that a significant body of learning deals extensively with the details of how, when and where a custom finds application in Jewish law.*

Different categories of customs are distinguished by Jewish legal authorities: local and universal; commercial and religious and others. Commercial customs in fact affect Jewish civil law,* where agreement can modify or alter the law as far as it affects the parties to that agreement. A perusal of Jewish law will demonstrate that custom as a source of law in the Jewish legal system is highly developed and refined.

v . Judicial Decisions

The judiciary and its decisions are a vital part of Jewish law as is indicated by the fact that the Great Sanhedrin stood at the head of a sophisticated judicial system. All questions of law are referred to the Great Sanhedrin for final adjudication if necessary, and its decisions are binding on all other courts.* Judicial decisions of the Great Sanhedrin are an important source of law since uniformity of practice is maintained by the binding decisions of the majority opinion of the Great Sanhedrin.

A further factor which demonstrates the importance of judicial decisions in Jewish law is that a large portion of the Talmud consists of cases and the corresponding judicial decisions. In fact the judicial decisions of the Great Sanhedrin and those of the Talmud form the backbone of Jewish law. But the development of Jewish law based on judicial decisions did not end after the close of the Talmudic period. An entire body of learning arose using the Talmud as its basis.

All of Jewish law is thus based on the Written Torah, in the form of the Chumash and the Oral Torah in the form of the Talmud. Subsequent works of Jewish law base themselves entirely on the Chumash and the Talmud. The post-Talmudic period of Jewish law is divided into four eras:

Ø. Savoraim: The period of the Savoraim lasted for about 90 years after the completion of the Talmud. They made "some additions to the Talmud and placed it in its final form."*

Ø. Geonim: Next was the era of the Geonim, which lasted until 1038AD. The Geonim headed up the centres of learning in Babylon and their Jewish law decisions "were based on traditions of the Talmud, and were almost universally accepted."*

Ø. Rishonim: The next 500 hundred years was the period of the Rishonim, literally translated as the "firsts". During this period many commentaries on and codifications of the Talmud were written.

Ø. Achronim: From about the sixteenth century until modern times is the period of the Achronim, literally translated as the "lasts".

It is important to identify the era of a particular source because the earlier the era the more authoritative the source. Jewish law is based on the revelation at Mount Sinai and therefore the closer the source is to that revelation the more authoritative it is.

There are three main types of post-Talmudic legal works: commentaries, codes and responsa. Commentaries to the Chumash and the Talmud are too numerous to mention. Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (France, 1040-1105),* known as Rashi, was one of the earliest of the Rishonim and consequently, is one of the most authoritative commentators of both the Chumash and the Talmud.

The period of the Rishonim produced a large body of work in the field of extracting, analysing and codifying of the Talmudic law. The Talmud served as the foundation for everything, with the emphasis on interpreting and applying the rules and principles of the Talmud. Very often two or more opinions on an issue are recorded in the Talmud without a clear ruling deciding between them. The Rishonim, such as Rabbi Yitzchak Alfasi (1013 – 1103, Algeria and Spain), known as the Rif, ruled on many of the Talmudic points of dispute. Another of the famous Rishonim, who also decided on questions of Talmudic law, was Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel (1250 – 1327, Germany and Spain), known as the Rosh. Perhaps the most famous of all was Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (1135 – 1204, Spain and Egypt), known as the Rambam or Maimonides. In his Yad HaChazakah, or Mishne Torah as it is otherwise known, the Rambam ruled on all points of Jewish law. The Rambam is one of the most influential of the post-Talmudic Jewish law jurists. This thesis often refers to his works, in particular his Mishne Torah. The Mishne Torah is divided in accordance with subject matter and a reference to it in the thesis appears as follows: "Rambam: title of section: chapter: paragraph".

Another major codification of Jewish law published during the time of the Rishonim is the "Arba'ah Turim", which means "Four Rows" because it was made up of four parts. The author was Rabbi Yaakov ben Asher Baal HaTurim (1275 – 1340, Germany and Spain), who based his rulings on those of his illustrious father the Rosh. To this day it remains a very influential book and The Code of Jewish Law is based on its structure and chapter divisions.

One of the major post-Talmudic turning points of Jewish law came in the early sixteenth century with the publication of the Shulchan Aruch (literally "the set table") or, as it is commonly referred to in English, The Code of Jewish Law, co-authored by two great scholars: Rabbi Yosef Caro (1488 – 1575, Spain and Israel) and Rabbi Moshe Isserles (1530-1572, Poland), known as the Ramah. Rabbi Caro was the originator of the project. Until 1565 when it was published post-Talmudic Jewish law lacked unity because different authorities had different opinions of how Talmudic law should be interpreted and applied.

Rabbi Caro's guiding principle in deciding between the various opinions was to consider mainly the three most influential of the Rishonim, which were mentioned above: the Rif, the Rambam and the Rosh. In matters of dispute the majority of the three of them determined the ruling of Rabbi Caro. Rabbi Isserles augmented Rabbi Caro's work with notes whenever he differed from Rabbi Caro's ruling. Rabbi Isserles took into account some of the most famous French and German Rishonim, including Rashi and the Rosh, whereas Rabbi Caro had focused mainly on the Spanish and North African authorities. Rabbi Isserles's additions made the final product widely acceptable to Jewish communities across the world. Due to the collaboration of two of the most highly respected authorities of the times, the Shulchan Aruch became accepted as the authoritative codification of Jewish law. In this thesis the Shulchan Aruch is referred to as The Code of Jewish Law. Since its publication numerous commentaries on it have been written.

Some of the more famous members of the French and German Rishonim were Rabbi Meir ben Shmuel (1060-1130, France), Rabbi Shmuel ben Meir (1085-1174, France) and Rabbi Yaakov ben Meir known as Rabbeinu Tam (1100-1171, France). The last mentioned scholars were together with a few others of the period and region known as the Tosfot and a compilation of their Talmudic commentaries appears on almost each page of the Vilna edition of the Babylonian Talmud. References in this thesis to Tosfot thus contain a reference to the relevant page of the Talmud plus the first words of the relevant paragraph.

The other important type of post-Talmudic work is the responsa literature, which is the Jewish law equivalent of case law. Questions of Jewish law were brought to the Rabbis of each era. The responses to these questions form an important source of Jewish law. So much so that one of the most important commentaries on The Code of Jewish Law, Pitchei Teshuva, consists solely of a summary of the responsa literature relevant to the section of The Code of Jewish Law to which it refers. It has been estimated that there are about 300 000 responsa,* in spite of the fact that many thousands more were lost through the ages due to wanderings and persecutions. In a responsum questions of Jewish law are put to Jewish legal authorities who rule on each case according to the binding law of the Talmud and the Codes.

Over the centuries this case law as it appears in the responsa has become a vital source of Jewish law. This development closely resembles that of Roman law and English law where jurists and judges respectively expanded the legal system by drawing subtle distinctions, thereby discovering new legal principles within the flexible framework of a so-called open system, which lends itself to such creativity. It is this dimension of the law which greatly assists Jewish jurists in meeting the challenges of a constantly changing world. One of the most famous responsa works of the twentieth century and one which is frequently referred to in this thesis is the "Igrot Moshe" – "The Letters of Moshe" – written by one of the leading Rabbinic scholars of the twentieth century times, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein. Rabbi Feinstein lived most of his life in the United States and applied Jewish law to modern situations, dealing with issues ranging from artificial insemination to the nature of a company to the death penalty in a modern constitutional state.


Abot (or Pikke Abot). "The Sayings of the Fathers." One of the tractates of the Mishnah. Collection of religious and ethical aphorisms attributed to various Sages.

Aggadah (Or Raggadah). Lit. "narrative." Material in the Talmud and the Midrashim of a nonlegal character. Encompasses traditions, legends, folklore, popular wisdom, ethical admonitions, and historical data.

Apocrypha. Greek, "hidden." Large and varied body of Jewish literature originating between 400 B.C.E. and 200 C.E. Reflects the viewpoints of various dissident sects who diverged from the dominant Pharisees.

Codes. Medieval manuals of Jewish law, encompassing rituals, ethics, civil and criminal jurisprudence, religious practices and observances, marriage, divorce, and inheritance. See also Kashrut; Mishneh Torah; Shulhan Arukh.

Gemara. Aramaic, "study." The discussions and study of the Mishnah in the academics of Palestine and Babylonia. Later written and attached to relevant sections of the Mishnah, thus creating the Palestinian and Babylonian Talmuds, of which the latter is more extensive.

Halakhah. Lit. "the going," "the way." The entire corpus of Jewish law, from its biblical origins to the present. Also the accepted decision when there is a difference of opinion among scholars. The word is sometimes written with or without an "h" at the end i.e. Halakha or Halakhah. Some authors write it with or without the capital "H", thus: "Halakha/h" or "halakha/h".

Jubilees, Book Of. Part of the Apocrypha; retellings of the narratives in Genesis.

Kashrut. The dietary laws contained in the Halakhah.

Ketudim. Sacred writings; the third section of the Bible.

Midrash. Lit. "searching out the scriptures." Detailed study of the biblical text, primarily of the five books of the Torah. The Midrash Aggadah explores the narrative sections of the Bible; the Midrash Halakhah the legal passages. Originally oral, this material was collected into books called Midrashim.

Mishnah. Lit. "repetition," "study." A compilation by Rabbi Judah the Patriarch (C. 200 C.E.) of legal discussions attributed to rabbinic Sages from the fourth century B.C.E. to the second century C.E. The first compendium of Jewish law. References to tractates in the Mishnah are preceded by the letter M; e.g., M. Sanhedrin 4:2 refers to Mishnah Sanhedrin

Mishneh Torah. "The Double Torah," also called Yad Hahazakah, "The Mighty Hand," by Maimonides (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, 1135-1204), divided into fourteen books. One of the three principal Codes.

Rashi. Acronym for Rabbi Shelomo Yizhaki (1040-1 105), author of commentaries on the Torah and the Talmud.

Responsa. Lit. "answers." Questions that could not be resolved by recourse to the text of the Talmud or to the Codes were addressed to reputable scholars. Though the Responsa generally deal with the Halakhah, they also explore philosophic, theological, and historical issues.

Shulhan Arukh. "The Prepared Table," by Rabbi Joseph Karo (1488-1575). One of 'the three principal Codes; the authoritative guide to Hahlakhic practice for traditional Judaism.

Sifra. Midrash on the Book of Leviticus.

Sifre. Midrash on the books of Numbers and Deuteronomy.

Talmud. Lit. "study." The massive collection of law and lore produced by rabbinic Judaism. The Babylonian Talmud consists of the Mishnah (400 B.C.E - 200 C.E.) and the Gemara of the Babylonia (200-500 C.F.). The Palestinian Talmud consists of the Mishnah (400 B.C.E. - 200 C.E.) and the Gemara of Palestine (200-400 C.E.). All editions of the Babylonian Talmud follow the pagination of the first complete edition, printed by Daniel Bomberg in Venice in 1520-23. Its tractates are preceded by the letter B; e.g., B. Menahot 26b refers to the Babylonian Talmud, tractate Menahot, page 26, side 2. P. Pesahim 4:2 refers to the Palestinian Talmud, tractate Pesahim, chapter 4, section 2.

Torah. Lit. "directive, instruction," "teaching," "guidance," "law." The most fundamental and inclusive term in Judaism. Originally applied to brief instruction manuals for priests; then successively broadened to include the first five books of the Bible, the Oral and the Written Torah, the entire corpus of law and lore of the Rabbis (culminating in the Mishnah), the Gemara, all treatises and commentaries produced after the completion of the Talmud, and the entire Aggadah.

Tosefta. "Supplement." Collection of rabbinic material not included by Rabbi Judah in the Mishnah. Follows the order of the Mishnah. Compiled by Rabbi Hoshaya and Rabbi Hiyya (third century C.F.). Citations to tractates in the Tosefta are preceded by the letter T; e.g., T. Yoma 2:5 refers to Tosefta Yoma chapter 2, section 5.

Wisdom. The enlightenment taught by the Sages of the ancient Near East; embodied in the biblical books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes and in Ben Sira, "The Wisdom of Solomon," in the Apocrypha.


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29.. Muslims in the Post-Apartheid Era (Anon, sourced from Jewish Board of Deputies Archives)

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32.. Response to Proposed NJCRAC Position Paper on Apartheid (Anon, sourced from Jewish Board of Deputies Archives)

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