Page 78 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

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Clearly it has to do with the loss of the self-confidence that
characterized secularistic modernity at mid-century.
As the year 2000 approaches, western civilization as a whole
seems quite unsure of itself, of its determining values and of
its human direction. The search for a ground of value drives
people into the most diverse faiths and saving therapies. For
some people only the new and radically different can be val­
uable, for others it seems that only what has lasted for ages
can be an adequate antidote to the permissiveness and nihilism
around us. Jews, having been emancipated by western civiliza­
tion, believed passionately in its spiritual significance. How
could they not now be deeply affected by discovering it to be
only another false Messiah? So many Jews today turn to their
tradition to see what it might teach them about living in a world
where evil and good too often come as a pair, and transforming
the one and exemplifying the other is the true task of matu­
ration. In such a human situation we may expect that some
Jewish thinkers will be moved to speak of Judaism as an in­
tegrated whole and by their books seek to teach this generation
their Torah.