Page 135 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

Basic HTML Version

BEN-HORIN / HORACE MEYER KALLEN
129
can turn Judaism by proxy into Judaism by practice.”38The vision
of the Jewish homeland and the effort to embody the vision in fact
are “indispensable to [the Jewish group’s] solidarity and sur­
vival.”39
Another condition of survival is education. For
Jews are not born. Jewish values . . . are not carried by the
genes . . . . [E]ducation embodies both the means and ends
of Jewish survival, and is the only institution able to incar­
nate in Jewish form the vital courage which the times re­
quire.40
EDUCATIONAL IMPERATIVES
But Jewish education must abandon “the old authoritarian
modes of indoctrination and repetition.” An Americanized Jew­
ish education is needed which adopts “all which is achieved in the
scientifically verified arts of teaching, the scientifically under­
stood processes of learning, with their techniques of free inquiry,
impartial examination of alternatives, constant reconstruction of
the wisdom of old books by the experiences of new life.”41 From
the institutions of the Jewish community the school should draw
and to them it should bring back “a religious devotion to the full
realization of equal liberty in every dimension of the national life,
initiating this devotion in the Jewish being and carrying it thence
to the entire people, to all the world.”42
Except to those who know Kallen only as the implacable foe of
supernaturalism, it should come as no surprise to find that at a
luminous moment he once again achieved reconciliation, in his
way, with his father’s tradition, and this time his heart was en­
gaged. I refer to the celebration in Provincetown on Cape Cod
honoring him on reaching his 85th birthday on August 11, 1967.
At the height of the event students, professors, artists, scientists,
authors from far and wide, rose to applaud him as a cake was
brought in. A bit bewildered, Kallen cast a glance at a friend
38
Ibid.,
p. 77.
39
Ibid.,
p. 250.
40 Kallen,
“Of Them Which Say”,
pp. 226 f.
41
Ibid.,
p. 227.
42
Ibid.,
p. 229.