At a Havdallah service on Saturday night, Dr. Heschel will lead a discussion on “Where Do (We) Jews Live? In Exile or in Diaspora?” Although Jews were never formally exiled from the land of Israel, but maintained a presence there through the centuries, even while most Jews lived in diaspora, the idea that Jews were in exile has persisted in Jewish self-consciousness.
Our liturgy tells us that “because of our sins we were exiled from our land” and we claim that Zionism promises us an exit from exile and a return to our homeland. Yet through the centuries, rabbis have debated whether Jewish life outside Israel was acceptable and whether we should return to the land and under what conditions. Many rabbis have understood exile not only as a political situation, but as an internal, existential condition. Modern Jewish thinkers have proposed that Judaism is a portable homeland, and that the Talmud is a substitute for the land, while Zionism is based on a negation of the diaspora and the restoration of Jewish political sovereignty. We will examine the various facets of exilic understanding in rabbinic, medieval and modern Jewish thought and proposals for overcoming exile even while continuing life in diaspora.
Of course, there will be something to eat. Please let us know you will be joining us by clicking “Go.”+ More... - Less...
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