Endthoughts: A Liberal Defense of Judgmentalism

By Steven M. Cohen

CLAL: the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, September 6, 1996

Steven Cohen responds to David Adler's critique (Sh'ma vol.26/no.511) that his earlier article on intermarriage and Jewish continuity (December 1994 issue of Moment) was racist and judgmental. The Jewish people's historical emphasis on group solidarity, as expressed through marrying Jews and making friends with Jews, is not racist, but tribalist, and applies entirely to the private sphere. Judgment is part and parcel of a long rabbinic tradition that enjoins us not only to judge, but to reproach and reprove. We may disagree about what makes a Jew strong or good (or weak or bad). But such distinctions exist and we ought to articulate our judgment as to who or what exemplifies those characteristics. American Judaism must not lose its transcendental power, its claim to authenticity, its majestic links to the past and the future, and its ability to provide nurturing, meaningful communities. It must find a stance that is somewhat strict, somewhat demanding, and somewhat at variance with the current Zeitgeist, a task that definitely demands both judgment and judgmentalism.

Topic: Continuity, Intermarriage, Racism, Marriage, Jewish Continuity, Identity Formation, Assimilation

Name of Publication: Sh'ma: A Journal of Jewish Ideas

Editor: Cardin, Nina Beth

Volume/Issue: Vol.27/no.516

Page Number(s): 6-8

Genre: Report

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Cohen, Steven M. Endthoughts: A Liberal Defense of Judgmentalism. Sh'ma: A Journal of Jewish Ideas. CLAL: the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. 6 September 1996: 6-8. http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=197


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