Identities, Pluralism and Israel-Diaspora Relations: A Pragmatic Perspective on the Jewish Public Square


Publication Date: January 1999

Publisher: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Author(s): Manfred Gerstenfeld

Research Area: Culture and religion

Keywords: Diaspora Relations; Jewish Engagement; Jewish Continuity; Jewish identification

Type: Other


The author examines communal issues relating to Jewish identity, both in Israel and in the Diaspora, reviewing the issue in substantial breadth and advocating a philosophy of pragmatism. He advocates differentiated policies for definitional questions of Jewishness in Israel and the Diaspora. In the diaspora, the author contends, the continued development of "sociological" Jews alongside traditional halachic (Jewish legal) definitions of Judaism seems inevitable. A flexible policy that is open to competing and conflicting definitions of Jewishness will serve the Jewish community well in an imperfect situation, the author argues, because in order to stand up to enemies of the Jewish people, not only quality but also numbers count.