From Civility to Piety: An Agenda for Postmodern Judaism

Civil religion, the outcome of modernity, is not sufficient for life in the postmodern world. A return to premodern ways is not possible. Modernity has to be affirmed, but it should not be embraced. The article calls for a move beyond civil religion, 'from horizontal to vertical transcendence', which is relevant for both Jews and Christians of all branches of Judaism and the church.

From Civility to Piety:

An Agenda for Postmodern Judaism

Long before I came to Toronto, I learned to appreciate the writings of Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut, one of my illustrious predecessors at Holy Blossom Temple, who has become a dear friend. I was particularly impressed by a survey of the history of Reform Judaism I heard him deliver at a convention of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. His paper was subsequently published.1 I refer to it in each of the three books I have produced in the last 10 years.2

Plaut divides the history of Reform Judaism into different phases, each answering a specific question. According to him, the early founders of Reform Judaism sought, first, to answer the question, Ma yomru ha’avot? ‘What do our ancestors, or rather, what does tradition say?’ In this phase, “the past was explored so that it might shed light on the present.”3 This was the time when Reform Judaism, with the help of scholarly insights and rational arguments, wanted to establish its authenticity in the eyes of Jewish history.

The second phase sought to address the question, Ma yomru hagoyim? ‘What does the non-Jewish world say?’ Plaut writes that this was a period in which the demands, the ideologies and the opportunities of the environment were dominant and when, at the same time, a distinct (though unconscious) shift away from the new orthodox East European immigrants was observable. “This was the time when the exponents of Reform Judaism were most anxious to make the “right” impression on the non-Jewish world. They did so partly by imitating it and partly by presenting Judaism in a “favorable” light, in the vain hope of combating ignorance and anti-Semitism. The third phase, which started about the time the Nazis came to power in Germany, was characterized by the question, Ma yomru habanim? ‘Whatwill the children say?’ “Now,” writes Plaut, “no longer was the issue, ‘How do we adjust to the impact of the environment?’ Now it was, ‘How can we save our people and secure a future for our children?’ Israel was one answer, and another was Jewish education, which came fully into its own.” Having sought to justify itself to the Jewish past and the less-than-Jewish present, Reform now tried to address its future, and the precarious future of the Jewish people.

The fourth phase sought to answer the question, Ma yomru chayyay? “What will my own life say?’ From the 1960s onward, we tried to meet the needs of people interested in their own spiritual journey and personal fulfillment and, therefore, less concerned with the first three phases of Reform Judaism. This quest for the therapeutic attracted many rabbis of my generation. They thought they could teach better Torah in the consulting room than in the school or the pulpit.

Of course, when a new phase emerged the previous phases did not disappear from our world; they co-existed. That is why, today, the four most salient characteristics of Reform Judaism have been shaped by the four phases: (1) our struggle with tradition; (2) our involvement with the non-Jewish world, which, of course, also means non-Jewish culture; (3) our emphasis on education and other means of Jewish survival; and (4) our pastoral pre-occupation with the needs of individuals.

You have only to survey the activities and interests of contemporary rabbis to find each of these elements strongly represented: their dialogue with Jewish law; their interest in presenting Judaism to non-Jews; their motivation to teach; and their training in counseling skills.

Although this essay is not only about Reform Judaism, I have chosen to begin it in this way to suggest that Reform is especially hospitable to what is normally known as civil religion, the most potent manifestation of modernity in the Jewish community. Although civil religion affects all religious movements in Judaism, other than the ultra-Orthodox, it is particularly dominant in our own circles. It is, therefore, right and proper that Reform Jews should pay more attention to it than others. By defining our present situation in the context of civil religion, we may better understand Jewish modernity, its tremendous opportunities and its ominous shortcomings. Jewish civil religion has been impressively documented by Jonathan Woocher.4

Woocher identifies seven tenets of “the civil Jewish faith.”5 Together, they form the creed of most contemporary Jews. They are (1) the unity of the Jewish people, (2) mutual responsibility, (3) Jewish survival in a threatening world, (4) the centrality of the State of Israel, (5) the enduring value of Jewish tradition, (6) tzedakah: philanthropy and social justice and (7) Americanness as a virtue.

It is not too difficult to match at least three of Plaut’s four phases with Woocher’s seven tenets. Thus Plaut’s first phase — striving to justify Reform in terms of the Jewish past — is reflected in what Woocher calls “the enduring value of Jewish tradition.” Plaut’s second phase — seeking justification in the eyes of the gentiles — is reflected in the tenets Woocher calls tzedakah and Americanness; and Plaut’s third phase, which stresses survival, is reflected in the rest of Woocher’s list: the unity of the Jewish people; mutual responsibility; survival in a threatening world; and the centrality of the State of Israel.

If Plaut’s fourth phase has no counterpart in Woocher, it is because Jewish civil religion is primarily concerned with the collective. The fourth phase of Reform Judaism, on the other hand, reflects its strong and characteristic emphasis on individualism. The answer to the question, What does my life say? is nowadays being sought not in community, but in “lifestyle,” which is often the antithesis of community, and thus outside the realm of civil religion .6 Individualism is a manifestation of “the culture of narcissism,” whereas civil religion is concerned with the life of the community.7

But apart from its communal, often high-minded nature, Jewish civil religion is too much civil and too little religion to satisfy spiritual needs. Although nothing in it contradicts normative Judaism, there is much in Judaism that it does not address. Above all, civil religion is silent about God. It is strong on identity but weak on holiness. To quote Woocher again:

Theology, except at the most rudimentary formulaic level (where even atheists and agnostics can be accepting of God-language as metaphorical) is inherently divisive in contemporary Jewish life. By remaining silent on the nature or role of God in human life and Jewish destiny, civil Judaism avoids antagonizing any of these Jews.8

This brings Woocher to this conclusion: “Civil Judaism is thus clearly a religion of horizontal transcendence, of covenantal responsibility, stretched across space and time. But its lack of theological content undermines an active affirmation of vertical transcendence.”9 Quoting the historian and sociologist Daniel Elazar, Woocher suggests that civil religion seeks to recreate the Judaism of the Sadducees which “places at the center of its world not Torah, but the Jewish people, and makes the maintenance and expression of Jewish peoplehood its primary religious obligation.”10

This means that our Pharisaic heritage, which has shaped normative Judaism, is being squandered: “American Jewish civil religion departs from the Pharisaic-rabbinic mode not only in its refusal to embrace halachah as a binding norm, but by explicitly shifting the primary locus of Jewish meaning back into the public realm.”11 It legitimatizes, according to Woocher, “a way of being Jewish and a program of Jewish activity within which the role of the synagogue and the rabbinate — the life of study, prayer and ritual observance — are no longer primary.”12

To the extent that the synagogue remains important, it is because it reflects the tenets of civil religion. The Kol Nidre service, for example, has become an excellent opportunity to raise money for Jewish causes from “the captive audience,” rather than an occasion to ask God to forgive the sins of the worshipping congregation. In civil religion, philanthropy comes before theology and solidarity with Israel before fidelity to God.

Much of this is the result of the failure of modernity. However, before I attempt a critique, let me state the obvious: Modernity, particularly in its technological manifestation, is here to stay. We are not likely to return to premodern technology. Even those who say they want to do so, tend to change their minds rapidly when they are sick and need the resources of nuclear medicine or laser surgery. And modernity has been good for humanity in general and the Jews in particular. Only with the new opportunities this century has provided could Jews establish themselves in the world as we have done, despite the Holocaust. Similarly, the existence and security of the State of Israel depend on modern technology. The Jewish population of Israel will never outnumber its enemies, nor will it ever have more money than they have. It is only the Jews’ ability to adapt to modernity in a way the Arabs have not, that has made Jewish sovereignty possible in our time.

Civil religion is a product of this adaptation. We have assimilated to the American way of life, not because we want to deny our Jewishness, but because we want to live and thrive as Jews. This means that civil religion, though insufficient for our spiritual life, is beneficial for our physical well-being and we must affirm it, even when we cannot embrace it. Only fundamentalist extremists seek to reject it, but even they are less than consistent about it.

We, on the other hand, do not wish to go backward, but forward into what I have hinted at as the postmodern world. Though we affirm modernity, we are very critical of it. Let me offer four samples of the kind of criticism of modernity that is being heard today: one each from philosophy, politics, sociology and theology.

  1. Charles Taylor is a leading philosophic writer of our time. In 1991, he gave the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Massey Lectures. Their title says it all: The Malaise of Modernity.13 The three malaises with which he deals are, first, breaking loose from older moral horizons brought about by individualism, second, rationality that makes us calculate the most economic application of means to a given end and regard maximum efficiency as the measure of success and, third, loss of freedom that results from applying the previous two criteria.
  2. Vaclav Havel, the remarkable President of the Czech Republic, opened his speech to the world Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in February, 1992 by declaring that the upheavals in his country and elsewhere mark the end of modernity. As reported in the New York Times, March 1, 1992, he said: “In the deepest sense, the end of Communism has brought a major era in human history to an end. It has brought an end, not just to the 19th and 20th centuries, but to the modern age as a whole.”
  3. Zygmunt Bauman has called his important book Modernity and the Holocaust.14 It is a persuasive illustration of the connection between the mass destruction of Jews and modernist thinking — philosophic, technological, bureaucratic. It points to Taylor’s second malaise of modernity. The Holocaust was the victim of an ideology, Nazism. And all ideologies are evil, which is what Havel was speaking about in Davos.
  4. Eugene Borowitz, the prime exponent of liberal Judaism in our time, calls a chapter in his latest book “Modernity — the Betrayer.” In the first paragraph of that chapter he writes:

Suddenly our society’s accepted, unbounded faith in human accomplishment began to seem ludicrous. Each day’s telecast brought into our homes numbing evidence that, along with its many benefits, modernity has also created new and intense forms of human misery. The disillusionment touches us in ways as local as the threat of drugs, violence or the loss of meaning, and as global as pollution, terrorism or nuclear destruction.15

Borowitz wants to affirm the world of technology and much of the civil religion of American Jewry. But he also wants to go beyond it: hence the subtitle of his book — A Theology for the Postmodern Jew. To do so, he seeks to combine the traditional Jewish idea of covenant with the philosophy of Martin Buber. Buber maintained that reality only takes place when partners in dialogue affirm each other. He argued that this is not only true of human encounters, but also when we encounter God. With the help of Buber, Borowitz seeks to move us beyond civil religion, from horizontal to vertical transcendence, from civility to piety.

Although I speak from the tradition of Reform Judaism, my concerns are with Judaism as a whole. In that vein, I would like to reflect on an important aspect of the writings of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, who was the great contemporary exponent of mainstream Orthodoxy.16

The basis of Borowitz’s postmodern theology is the account of the covenant in the Book of Exodus. The starting point of Soloveitchik’s thought is the twice-told story of creation in the opening chapters of Genesis. Modernity, as manifest in the so-called higher criticism of the Bible, has taught us that the reason we have two creation stories is because the texts, as we now have them in Scripture, have been compiled from earlier, no-longer-extant, documents. As an Orthodox Jew, Soloveitchik, naturally, repudiates the documentary hypothesis. Instead, he insists that both stories are needed to convey the two dimensions of human existence and, therefore, both contain the authentic words of the living God. Whether or not his exegesis is correct, his conclusions are interesting and relevant. They may help us along the path we wish to take, for they offer a view of humanity that speaks to us.

Even if Soloveitchik’s account is defective biblical scholarship, it is brilliant midrash when he points out how Adam, the prototype for all humanity, is depicted differently in the two biblical accounts of creation. In the first, Adam is strong and sovereign:

And God created man (that is Adam) in His image, in the image of God He created Him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and God said to them, “Be fertile and increase, fill the earth and master it; and rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all the living things that creep on earth.” (Genesis 1:27-28)

In the second creation story, Adam is weak and vulnerable, created “from the dust of the earth,” (Genesis 2:7). Here, Adam is anything but self-sufficient; he depends on God’s continuous intervention.

The two stories, according to Soloveitchik, reflect the two dimensions of humanity. The first tells of the self-sufficient master of technology, the hero who made modernity possible; the second describes the fragile human being. Only the two accounts together can tell us who we really are. In the words of a Yiddish proverb, “A person is, simultaneously, stronger than iron and weaker than straw.” To live as human beings in the postmodern age is to understand ourselves in Jewish tradition, according to Soloveitchik, understood the first man.

By contrast, the modern age celebrates only Adam the first and neglects Adam the second. The philosopher Taylor, the politician/playwright Havel, the sociologist Bauman and the theologian Borowitz each say so from his own vantage point. If we are to learn from them, and countless other teachers of our time, we can, at best, only partly affirm modernity. In significant respects we must reject it. Therefore, even when we do not oppose civil religion, we cannot settle for it.

Plaut’s first four stages of Reform Judaism and the seven tenets of Woocher’s civil religion belong to the world of Adam the first. They assume that human beings, equipped with political opportunities and technical skills, are really in control. They forget that this is only one side of humanity and the other, the weak and vulnerable Adam, is being suppressed in the process. That is why, incidentally, Adam the first has such an enormous need for psychotherapy. The consulting rooms are filled with strong and successful men and women who repeatedly ask “What does my life mean to me?” Had Adam the first, to use the psychotherapeutic imagery of Carl-Gustav Jung, been in closer touch with Adam the second — his “shadow” — by being not only civil but also pious, there would be much less need for therapy. The couch can never be a substitute for the pew.

Unlike the flight to premodernity, which seeks to negate Adam the first, the postmodern quest attempts to restore the balance by reaffirming Adam the second, without negating Adam the first. Hence our renewed stress on spirituality and our recognition that piety has to be added to civility, if we are to remain integrated human beings and authentic Jews. It is not a matter of Adam the first — self-reliance and technology — or Adam the second — spirituality and prayer — but both. However, in view of the present imbalance, it is the spirituality and the prayer that need particular emphasis.

Soloveitchik believes that the integration of the two Adams can only be done through halachah, Jewish law.17 I would like to argue otherwise by suggesting that the postmodern era is also the posthalachic era. But unlike the modernist exponents of civil religion, those who seek to move beyond modernity are not anti-halachic. That does not mean, however, that they wish to return to the long premodern, halachic epoch in Jewish history.

Borowitz repeatedly affirms the centrality of Jewish observance, yet finds it impossible to accept the strictures and impositions of Jewish law. He repudiates the premodern notion of a coercive deity and an obedient humanity — the notion that led to the rejection of transcendental religion in the modern world. He argues in favor of a mutually sustaining partnership between God and the people, and sees no place in Jewish life today for a law that commands Jews from “on high” and forces us into obedience governed by the rule of a fundamentally immutable law:

With so many Jews only willing to accept halachah as guidance, I am convinced that we have come to an end of the period when Jewish living could still be disciplined by rabbinic halachah. By contrast, I believe that the relational theory of revelation generates the possibility of creating its own pattern of giving form to Jewish life — its own halachic structure.18

I prefer to make the distinction between halachah, the discipline of a binding Jewish law that is no longer tenable, and mitzvah, the notion of commandment to which every authentic Jew must respond voluntarily. I no longer believe it is possible to retain the halachic structure in the postmodern world. The way in which liberal Jews still try to struggle with Jewish law may be intellectually stimulating, but I doubt if it has practical relevance.

One reason I changed my mind was because I now can observe the American Conservative movement. It has valiantly tried to give meaning to Jewish law in our time. However, when confronted with practical issues, such as the ordination of women — a supreme challenge to halachah — it either has had to break with halachic practice or revert to Orthodox halachah. The result has been very little progress in postmodern halachah and a very serious split within the Conservative movement.

Let me offer two other reasons for my change of mind. First, Jewish law, by its nature, is collectivist. Jewish existence in this postmodern era is, on the other hand, individualist. Even when we believe that Jewish observance is important, we are only likely to accept it on a voluntary, autonomous basis: as an imperative we impose on ourselves and that, probably, only sporadically and inconsistently. And even when Taylor expresses misgivings about modern individualism, he knows that, at best, it can only be tamed, not eradicated.

Even when we seek community, as I believe we must to live authentically as Jews, we will only do so voluntarily. Rabbis and lay leaders have only as much authority as the members of the community grant them. If the clergy and the machers, ‘activists,’ seek to exceed that authority, they will soon be ignored or dismissed. The era of the autocratic rabbi or community leader has long passed.

Even the Jewish state is not governed by halachah. To the extent that political expediency has given the Orthodox rabbinate in Israel authority in matters of Jewish status, it has turned Israel into a medieval society. For the most part, however, the State of Israel follows an amalgam of British, French and Turkish law, not the Talmud and the codes. And it is this legal system that has made Israel the modern democracy of which we are so justifiably proud. Had the halachah governed Israeli society, it is very unlikely that the state would have survived. At best, it would have been a relic ruled by the Neturei Karta, the ultra-Orthodox sect.

Which brings me to the second reason why I think halachah is no longer operative in the postmodern era of Jewish history: Jewish law is no longer the binding force of Jewish life; the State of Israel — the same State that is not governed by halachah — fulfils that function. While halachah has become an ominously divisive force in Jewish life — not only between Orthodoxy and its alternatives, but even more ferociously between various groups within Orthodoxy — the security and prosperity of Israel are the forces that bind most Jews to each other and to Judaism, even in these times of political differences.

Zionism in the postmodern era will cease to be a political movement; it already has the potential of a spiritual force. Its old Adam-the-first slogan “Never again!” sounds increasingly hollow, and the connection between the Holocaust and sovereignty, increasingly superficial. Only to the extent that Zionist theory will be able to integrate Adam the second, will Israel find a formula for co-existence that neither the premodernists — the so-called ultra-Orthodox halachists — nor the modernists — the secularists and the radical “left” of Reform Judaism — have been able to affirm.

The contention that Jewish law is no longer central to normative Jewish life does not mean that observance has ceased to matter to Jews. On the contrary. There is a growing tendency among nonhalachic Jews to seek meaningful ways of living in Jewish time by observing Shabbat and festivals, and by marking significant events in their lives. There is also a growing commitment to the mitzvah of talmud torah, serious Jewish study. Today, many young Jewish families are much more observant and much more knowledgeable than their parents were, even when the parents paid more lip service to halachah.

Nor does it mean that the need to speak to God has ceased. Even those who have rejected the chaotic synagogue services of their childhood, or the sterile alternatives that they may have once preferred — because they were more comprehensible, though not more inspiring — continue to search for forms of worship that speak the language of Jewish tradition and meet the needs of postmodern Jewish men and women. In this respect, like in so many other areas of Jewish life today, the old denominational divisions make little sense.

These men and women realize that since they are only Adam the first, they are incomplete. They have to recognize in themselves Adam the second — the vulnerable, lonely dimension of human existence — and reach out to each other and to God in search of wholeness through holiness. As the reservations about the prowess of Adam the first of civil religion grow, so does the affirmation of Adam the second of piety increase.

Thus, for example, while many Orthodox Jews in North America are grappling with the need to abolish discrimination against women in their synagogues, Reform Jews are putting on kippot and tallitot and creating chavurot. These groups of like-minded Jews, who come together to daven Orthodox-style without the benefit of clergy, are in search of what they term “spirituality” and “religious living.” It is in these groups, not in rallies on behalf of Israel or in Holocaust memorial meetings, that Jewish life is being renewed. It is the common quest, rather than the denominational line of demarcation, that brin hese people closer to God. It is the desire to move from the halachic to the liturgical framework that makes for greater commitment to Judaism.

In trying to understand this phenomenon, I have been greatly helped by the writings of Lawrence Hoffman. One of his books is a popular practical guide for anyone seeking to meet the needs of Adam the second through prayer. It is aptly called The Art of Public Prayer: Not For Clergy Only.19 The book cuts across the accepted boundaries of Jewish denominational divisions, of lay people and professionals, and Jews and gentiles. It tries to address the needs of postmodern people and show how some of these needs can be met through symbolism, observance, liturgy and community.

It is not a coincidence that Hoffman is a professor of liturgy at the Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, the institution that trains Reform rabbis, cantors and educators. Only a movement not committed to the traditional discipline of halachah can address the kind of issues with which Hoffman deals. Yet, I would be less than truthful were I to report a dramatic turning away from civility towards piety in our Reform circles. Yes, there are signs that Adam the second may be given a vote in our deliberations but, so far, Adam the first retains his veto and continues to dominate. Even when we articulate the dangers of that domination, we seem to lack the courage to displace it. Our religious life continues to base itself on institutions, not on intuition.

Sadly, those who do challenge Adam the first with resolve tend to reject him, and move from modernity towards a premodern Judaism. This premodern Judaism, in its most Americanized form —despite its un-American name: Lubavitch — threatens to “proclaim” the Messiah, thus taking us back to the seventeenth century when another false Messiah, Sabbatai Zevi, was proclaimed. It was a very disturbed and unhappy epoch in Jewish history.

Nevertheless, despite the slow progress and the embarrassing setbacks, the trends are unmistakable. And here we no longer have to confine ourselves to the evidence from Jewish sources only. The authors of Megatrends 2000 — far removed from the philosophy of Taylor, the politics of Havel, the sociology of Bauman, or the theology of Borowitz — point in a similar direction.20 They identify trends in the 1990s that are moving away from what I have ventured to call civility towards what I have described as piety. They speak, for example, of a move from the quest for knowledge to the search for values, from the pre-occupation with physical recreation towards spiritual creativity, and from management to true leadership; in other words, from Adam the first to Adam the second.

Such trends are bound to greatly affect every manifestation of Judaism that wishes to describe itself as contemporary. By placing values before knowledge, we will be changing the direction of Jewish education from information about Judaism to commitment to Judaism. By paying less attention to the body of Adam the first and more to the soul of Adam the second, we will be shaping a different kind of Jewish community; a community less concerned with the fitness classes in the Jewish country club and more with the study groups in the synagogue; a community, not only prepared to guard the synagogue from the outside when on security duty, but ready to go inside to pray for God’s protection.

But even more profound will be the impact of what Megatrends 2000 calls the shift from management to leadership. In a penetrating study of the dynamics of synagogue and church, Rabbi Edwin Friedman suggests that true leadership should not be based on what one can make others do, but on what one is oneself.21 The age of civility needs managers of Adam the first type; the age of piety will depend on leaders in Adam the second category. To the extent that we can already identify such leaders in our own midst, we can also measure the progress of our agenda. For all my misgivings about what I see around me — and, alas, within myself — I am not without hope.

Plaut’s division of the history of Reform Judaism into four phases concluded with what he called “a tentative forecast for a fifth.” Having surveyed the past, he dared look into the future by suggesting that “while the resuscitation of an 18th century pietism is surely inappropriate, some turning inward is necessary, and commitment or mitzvah are its twin anchors of expression.” He concluded by asking: “What will phase five have in store for us?” and he continued, “I know what I would like it to be. I would like it to respond to the urgent question of Ma yomru ba-meromim? ‘What do they say on high?’” The effort to describe the movement from civility to piety is an attempt to respond to this question.

In the light of this response, let us look again at Plaut’s first four phases of Reform Judaism and suggest they can be reformulated with an eye on the future. First, when we will seek to answer “What will tradition say?” we need no longer defend ourselves with halachic arguments to affirm our status as the custodians of Israel’s covenant with God. Second, when articulating Judaism for non-Jews, we will not need to engage in apologetics but, instead, seek genuine co-operation based on mutuality and symmetry. Third, when providing Jewish education to ensure Jewish continuity, we will address ourselves to both Adams, thus combining knowledge about, with experience of, what it is to be a Jew. And finally, when exploring the meaning of our own lives, we will try to add to the therapeutic-narcissistic the collective expression of mitzvah.

  1. W. Gunther Plaut, “Reform Judaism: Past, Present and Future,” Journal of Reform Judaism 28:3 (Summer, 1980).
  2. Dow Marmur, Beyond Survival (London: Darton Longman & Todd, 1982), 203f; Walking Toward Elijah (Burlington, Ontario: Welch Publishing Company, 1988), 118f; The Star of Return (New York: Greenwood Press, 1991), xif.
  3. Plaut, 1ff.
  4. Jonathan S. Woocher, Sacred Survival. The Civil Religion of American Jews (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1986).
  5. Ibidagai3ff.
  6. See Robert N. Bellah et al., Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life (New York: Harper & Row, 1985), 71ff.
  7. Christopher Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism (London: Abacus, 1980).
  8. Woocher, 92.
  9. Ibid., 93.
  10. Ibid., 159.
  11. Ibid., 160.
  12. Ibid., 163.
  13. Charles Taylor, The Malaise of Modernity (Concord, Ontario: Anansi Press, 1991).
  14. Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust (Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press, 1989).
  15. Eugene B. Borowitz, Renewing the Covenant: A Theology for the Postmodern Jew (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1991), 20.
  16. See Joseph B. Soloveitchik, The Lonely Man of Faith (New York: Doubleday, 1992).
  17. See Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Halakhic Man (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1983).
  18. Borowitz, 282.
  19. Lawrence A. Hoffman, The Art of Public Prayer: Not for Clergy Only (Washington, D.C.: The Pastoral Press, 1988).
  20. John Naisbitt and Patricia Aburdene, Megatrends 2000 (New York: Avon Books, 1990).
  21. Edwin H. Friedman, Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue (New York: The Guilford Press, 1985), 2ff.

Editorial remarks

Originally delivered as the Inaugural Jubilee Lecture, under the auspices of the

Reform Synagogues of Great Britain, at Manchester University, England, on May 21, 1992, and

subsequently published as a pamphlet by that organization.

© Copyright 1994 by Rabbi Dow Marmur from his book: On Being a Jew: A Reform Perspective,

published by Holy Blossom Temple, 1950 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M5P 3K9, 1994.

Used with kind permission of the author.