Menu JTA Search

Reconstructionist Leader Rejects ‘death of God’ Notion for Jews

Rabbi Ira Eisenstein, president of the Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, criticized tonight recent statements advocating Jewish equivalents of a “Death of God” theology in which the existence of a living God is dispensed with. Speaking at a Foundation dinner honoring his 60th birthday, Rabbi Eisenetein scored particularly remarks at a conference on radical theology by Rabbi Richard L. Rubenstein, of the University of Pittsburgh, in which the latter declared that “after Auschwitz I find I must reject a transcendent God entirely.”

When the “Death of God” theologians say that “our concern is not with the next world but totally with this one,” Rabbi Eisenstein declared, “they are properly rejecting the other-worldliness which, for generations, distracted men from attempting to improve this world and to abolish poverty, inequality and war. But this requires not paganism which was entirely dependent upon appeasing the gods, but dedication and faith in the potentialities of the human spirit.”

Some 500 persons attended the dinner, which was also addressed by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, founder of the Reconstructionist movement; Norman Podhoretz, editor of Commentary magazine; and Rabbi Emanuel S. Goldsmith, executive vice-president of the Foundation. Abraham Goodman, New York industrialist and Jewish leader, was chairman of the event.

NEXT STORY