The Present Crisis in Jewish Life

By Charles S. Liebman

Charles S. Liebman, 1999

There are two aspects to the crises in American Jewish life. They are related but by no means identical. We are all familiar with one aspect. It is the crises of a diminishing Jewish community resulting from diminished Jewish identity. Increasing numbers of Jews, even if they call themselves Jewish, are largely indifferent to Jewish matters, have no hesitation in intermarrying or in seeing their children intermarry, and are resigned if not satisfied with the fact that their children or grandchildren are raised as non-Jews or part Jews. The phrase "I am half-Jewish" is heard increasingly. It can only be uttered by someone who is quite ignorant of what it means to be a Jew. But I am more concerned with the crises, or better yet the challenge to Judaism. What we have experienced in the last thirty years in the United States, along with and probably as a result of the diminution of Jewish commitment, is an effort to redefine what it means to be a Jew and to redefine Judaism to make it compatible with whatever it is that Jews like to practice and with whatever style of life Jews feel comfortable. In many respects this is a more serious crises because it is more invidious and less readily identifiable.

Topic: Continuity, Intermarriage, Jewish Identification, Israel Attachment, Unity, Jewish Continuity, Religious Denominations, Assimilation

Name of Publication: The Collected Speeches of Charles S. Liebman

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Genre: Speech

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Author

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Bibliographic Information:
Liebman, Charles S. The Present Crisis in Jewish Life. The Collected Speeches of Charles S. Liebman. Charles S. Liebman. 1999:


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