The educated American Jew sees no reason for maintaining his Jewish interests or affiliations, since he sees in the Jewish religion, race or literature no ties to bind him. This is the opinion expressed by Don Gordon in an article, “The American Jew Revolts,” in the October issue of The Thinker, a monthly magazine devoted to popularizing philosophy.
Criticizing Ludwig Lewisohn for the latter’s intense Jewish consciousness, Mr. Gordon says:
“If we are to believe Ludwig Lewisohn, the Jew is only happy when he is most completely Jewish. It is for him to cultivate his Jewishness. This is the peak of the reactionary attitude. In this country today it is unsound as a doctrine and impractical as a program. It would be more difficult for the average Jew of American birth to become a Jew than to become an Afghan. He would have to make a deliberate effort to find out what a genuine Jew is. He must search the past to discover wherein his Jewishness is to lie. He knows not the tongue nor the customs nor the dress nor the thought nor the faith of the Jew. He is Jewish only in his bloodstream. In all else he is American.
“Even today in this country, no doubt, the mass of Jewry is reactionary, thoughtless, bound by habit and incapable of mobility. If some of us feel that we are beyond the reactionary stage, are we then to be held back by this inert mass? If sentimentality is responsible for Jewish consciousness in America today, must we therefore be sentimental? Are we to pretend, as those about us pretend, that there is some vast and inescapable power that draws us to each other as Jews and that will not permit us to live our lives apart from a rankling Jewish consciousness?”