Jewish Assimilation

3166 Words13 Pages
Has assimilation been bad for Judaism?

Samuel Heilman made it clear that materialistic gain has led to the fall of
Jewish culture. Have Jews turned their religious lives solely to conform to the
Catholic American society? Heilman gives the argument that since Jews have moved up the socio-economic ladder, they actually lost focus on what it means to be a Jew. One must first answer the question of what is being Jewish? Is it simply something inherited? Does it mean living ones life solely regarding what the Torah tells one to do? Is the answer much more complicated than following rules, which were built for a time that was completely different? The Jewish religion has lasted thousands of years, which were filled with intolerance and murder, why is Samuel Heilman blaming the free Jews of today for being different than their predecessors? One must look at events, which Jews have had to endure, to fully comprehend the nature of why they have changed so vastly. Jews came to the United States to escape persecution and gain economic security, why are their grandchildren complaining of the state of Judaism, 100 years later?
Since the beginning of time Jews have endured anti-Semitic regimes, which killed Jews merely for being Jewish. A clear illustration would be the past 150 years, which later involved a mass migration of Jewish people, to the United
States. Jews began
Gergely 2 leaving Europe because laws did not allow them to have common freedoms, which we take for granted presently. Jews subsequently came to the United to escape persecution. Jews came from countries as different as
Russia and Germany with two common bonds. Religion and having endured some form of persecution. Experiencing the pains of persecution, prepared Jews for any possible experience awaiting them in the United States.
Most Jews arrived in Ellis Island without a penny in their pocket. Jews settled in a part of New York that was called The Lower East Side. Jews chose the Lower East Side, because it was the only place one could arrive and not have to immediately assimilate into American society. These Jews began their economic endeavors with the only profession they knew, commerce. Trade was their main form of economic gain, the only profession that was allowed in
Europe. In America, Jews had to follow the American govt., instead of the
Kahilla. Not being singled out meant that Jews had to pu...

... middle of paper ...

...past. Jews have responded by living in the United States peacefully and together with people of other religions. Cultural assimilation does not mean the end of Judaism. It means
Jews will now be able to spread their word of God, without prejudice. Presently, there are less restrictions on Judaic practice, than in the past. This will ultimately lead to the distribution of the Jewish practice; not it's demise

Gergely 12
American Council For Judaism: A Statement of Policy.
Feb. 1944
Diner, Hasia R. A Time For Gathering: Striving for The Sacred. The
Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore and London. 1992.
Heilman, Samuel C. Portrait of American Jews:The Last Half of the 20th
Century. University of Washington Press. Seattle and London. 1995.
Howe, Irving. A Margin of Hope: In the Movement. Harcourt Brace Jovanich,
Publishers. San Diego, New York, London. 1982
Prell, Ellen. Fighting to Become Americans: The Jewish American Princess.
Beacon Press. Boston. 1999.
Revel, Bernard. Builder of American Orthodoxy; The American Yeshiva. Publication
Society of America. Philadelphia. 1972.
Sachar, Howard M. A History Of The Jews In America. Vintage Books. NY. 1992.
Get Access