Says Common Fate Not Faith Alone Holds Jews Together

(J. T. A. Mail Service)

Zionism ## in the same way as the Central Union, to exercise criticism against the position of the Jews as it existed at that time, writes Dr. Ludwig Hollaender, Director of the Central Union of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith, in an article appearing in the “C.V.-Zeitung,” the organ of the Union, setting out the attitude of his Union on the question of the place of the Jews in the life of the world.

“We no longer maintain today,” he says, “the principle that it is religion alone which makes the Jews of a country distinctive from their fellow citizens. We observe today, as always, that the decisive point in Judaism is that the Jews are a religious community, but we recognize that common fate and common origin also have great significance. The founders of the Central Union desired to preserve Judaism in the same way as we desire it They believed that by achieving emancipation, equal rights and equal respect, they would assure this.

“The Central Union did not, as it is the habit to contend today, learn from the Jewish Nationalist writers to criticise the Jewish sluggishness in certain Jewish circles. On the contrary, this criticism was started by us. The contradiction between the two tendencies, Zionism and our own, does not lie here. It will have to be sought rather in the conception of the so-called unity of Judaism and Jewry. Here the two conceptions are fundamentally apart. We regard an absolute unity of Jewry throughout the world, not even as a desirable aim, let alone a fact. Even the Middle Ages could not absolutely unify the Jews in the various Ghettoes of the world. Two tendencies came into existence: one in the field of spiritual conviction, demanding Jewish unity, the other of real attachment on the part of human beings to their home and their country. Both are vital.

“The Central Union saw its direction in the attachment to both–faith and home. Our Judaism is a community of people partly bound together by a common fate, partly by common origin, partly bound together religiously by inherited beliefs. It is from these spiritual ties that the will comes to be and to remain a Jew. The leaders of the Central Union always emphasized this–that they see the basis of our activity in the spiritual and not in the national elements of Judaism, that to them Judaism signifies a spiritual unity with definite demands in our conception and our conduct of life. We believe that in this way we are working effectually to maintain Judaism.

“If we and our generation do not succeed in strengthening our recognition of Judaism, neither Zionism nor the Central Union will avail Jewry. It will here to collapse. But if–and there are good signs of this–the old, as well as the coming generation, are clear on this point–that the strengthening of feeling for both faith and homeland is the only ##, then tolerance and equality and respect will follow, and Judaism and Jewry will fulfil their given task.”

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