Leading U.S. Orthodox Groups Denounce Toynbee’s Views on Intermarriage

Two leading American Jewish Orthodox organizations–the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Rabbinical Council of America– today issued a joint statement denouncing Prof. Arnold Toynbee, the British historian, “for his recent advocacy of intermarriage as a cure for the ills of anti-Semitism, “

“The Jewish prohibition against intermarriage is the basic guarantee of Jewish survival in the world and the only guarantor of the survival of that Judaism which Jews are perpetuating for the benefit of all mankind,” the statement said. The Rabbinical Council of America is an Orthodox rabbinic body in the United States representing 800 rabbis. The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations represents 3, 000 synagogues in the United States and Canada.

The statement maintained that intermarriage will destroy and undermine the structure of Judaism which has survived long periods of hard ship and persecution. “Professor Toynbee is unaware of the fundamental character of Judaism, ” the statement claimed. “Nor is he even aware of the implications of venomous anti-Semitism in all its ugly forms. He has distorted the course of Jewish history. A historian of his stature should have approached problems of the Jewish past with a greater degree of objectivity, detachment and knowledge.”

The two Orthodox organizations further held that “there is no perceptible cast-barrier between Jews and non-Jews in our American society. Marital separation between Christians and Jews is not responsible for any signs of animosity and ill-will toward Jewry in the United States, America is dedicated to the principles of unity within the framework of ethnic diversity, differences of habits, and religious uniqueness. Intermarriages on the continent of Europe did not prevent the outbreak of virulent anti-Semitism, as conclusively shown by the current Eichmann trial in Israel. “

They refuted Professor Toynbee’s assertion that “intermarriage will make available to the whole world the rich treasures of Judaism, ” These spiritual resources have been accepted by all faiths as an integral part of the religious foundations of modern civilization, they pointed out. “They are already a major part of the spiritual possession of the whole human race, ” the statement emphasized. “Professor Toynbee is short-sighted, inconsistent and narrowly partisan when he addresses himself to the subjects of Judaism, Zionism, and their historical development. “

They pointed out that “Jews have made extraordinary contributions to the enrichment of mankind in every phase of civilized living despite strict bans on intermarriage. There is nothing incompatible between adherence to religious values and the rendition of services to help humanity on all levels. ” They strongly advised Prof. Toynbee to study the sources of Jewish history, religion and sociology before pretending to be an authoritative expert on Jewish problems.

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