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April 06, 1979 - Image 23

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1979-04-06

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Friday, April 6 1919 23

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

`Out of the Ghetto' Background of Jewish Emancipation

By ALLEN A. WARSEN

The relationship between
Jews and their gentile
neighbors in the 18th and
19th Centuries and factors

responsible for cultural
changes _within the Jewish

community are examined
by Prof. Jacob Katz of the

Hebrew Univer-sity of
Jerusalem in his volume
"Out of the Ghetto," subti-
led "The Social Back-
ound of Jewish Emanci-
pation 1770-1870" (Schoc-
ken Books).
The emancipation move-
r-- ment, states Prof. Katz, oc-
curred in all countries of
Western Europe simultane-
ously.
It is difficult to describe
the obstacles encountered
by the proponents of eman-
cipation, including the cen-
turies old theological prej-
udices and the objections of
those who regarded Jews as
transients and their status
temporary, Prof. Katz says.
The medieval status of
Jews extended well into
modern times, as certain
municipalities and var-
ious political jurisdic-
tions- continued to claim
the privilege Of "non
tolerandis Judaeorum."
Furthermore, the right of
residence - for Jews was
based on a-contract between
an officially recognized
Jewish community - and a
political authority.
"Political and juridical
authorities, however, did
not take cognizance of Jews'
as individuals." Con-
sequently, the 'individual
Jew had to be a member of a
recognized community that
represented him,.' collected
his taxes, and controlled his
personal, social and _reli-
gious conduct.
As the governinent be-
came more and more cer=
tralized, -it gradually took
over certain of the commu-
nity's functions, thus
weakening it, and ulti-

mately causing its dissolu-
tion.
Time and again, repre-
sentatives of the Jewish
community petitioned
the authorities for citi-
_zenship.
But citizenship, also re-
ferred to as emancipation,
encountered strong opposi-
tion. Even - the
I "enlightened," the
rationalists, and the deists
opposed it. The philosopher
opposed
'oltaire, for instance, based
'on his objection on "the in-
human tendencies of Jewish
- religion." The philosopher
Johann Gottlieb Fichte op-
gill' _ posed emancipation be-
, cause the Jews repregented
a "mighty and hostilely dis-
posed state that is perma-
nently engaged in war with
all the others."
It should be noted that the
slogan or formula of "state
within a state" was origi-
nally directed against the
Huguenots, who were "a
- tightly organized CQMMU-



nity not devoid of real polit-
ical power." Then it was
employed against the
Jesuits and the Freema-
sons, and finally against the
Jews.
The Jews were not ac-
cused of constituting a state
within a state until about
the latter part of the 18th
Century, because they were
not considered "a part of the
body politic."

While the struggle for

emancipation was going
on, profound cultural
and especially educa-
tional changes were
occurring in the Jewish
community. Moses Men-
delssohn's German trans-
lation of the Bible was in-
troduced into the cur-
riculum; a new commen-
tary, the "Biur," replaced
Rashi; and new
pedagogic methods of
teaching Talmud were
started.

vations. They, however,
consented to the political re-
ters, "introduced students forms won by the moder-
to the language of their nists, including the aboli-
enlightened neighbors, and tion of the body tax (Leib- ,
edged out Yiddish, the lan- zoll), and unrestricted per-
guage hitherto in use." The mission for residence.
Interestingly, the term
"Biur," although it did not
contradict tradition, "con- emancipation is derived
centrated on the biblical from the Latin word "eman-
text and stressed the moral cipatio," meaning freeing of
and aesthetic aspects of the slaves. It became a political
term when the British
Bible."
The traditionalists in- Catholics, who demanded
tensely objected to the inno- equality with the Angli-

Mendelssohn's transla-
tion, printed in Hebrew let-

cans, fought for "Catholic
Emancipation." When the
British Jews, too, demanded
equlaity with the Chris-
tians, their struggle "fol-
lowing the Catholic exam-
ple was dubbed 'Jewish
Emancipation.' "
The British Jews gained
full equality when Parlia-
ment in 1858 and the House
of Lords in 1866 eliminated
the phrase "on the Chris-
tian faith" from their Oath
of Allegiance:

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