Page 57 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 32

Basic HTML Version

BOROWITZ / THE CAREER OF JEWISH EXISTENTIALISM
49
situation have created. I once took that to be the task of my
generation and then, by default, my own. But in the face of
the changing fortunes of philosophical schemes and the con­
tinuing problem of how to face intellectual options, it becomes
far more important to enlarge the enterprise. We need to guide
Jews in the difficult art of maintaining an intense loyalty to
Jewish tradition, that is, of living by a deeply Jewish faith, while
freely assessing the virtues of the various modern ways of inter­
preting it—and within this continuous dialectic process to find
the personal and conceptual integrity which is, in the end, what
it means to be a modern Jew. The most important Jewish duty
any of us could undertake would be to live that sort of life and
thus create a model for others in the community to see and learn
from and surpass. The thinker’s lesser job is to give this way of
living the comprehensibility of sensitive, thoughtful language—
at least, so I now understand my task. To complete such a state­
ment of modern Jewishness—I do not know whether I am capa­
ble of carrying out so ambitious a project. But I am emboldened
by the honor here bestowed upon me and encouraged by the
many blessings God has given me day by day, and especially,
this one. So I propose to see what I can manage to do about this
in the years ahead.