Page 138 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
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 o f the various modern ways o f interpreting
it — and within this continuous dialectic process to find the
personal and conceptual integrity of what it means to be a mod­
ern Jew.” For Borowitz, the challenges of measuring this dia­
lectic and explicating its applications in the lives o f Jews were
to become the central foci of his activities and writings over
the next two decades.
LATER WORKS
Borowitz’s insistence that Jewish thought be linked to Jewish
action can be seen in the flurry of activities in which he engaged
and in the spate o f books he produced shortly after the ap­
pearance of
The Masks Jews Wear.
In that book, Borowitz had
argued that American Jewish life was fundamentally more re­
ligious and spiritual than most American Jews would openly
acknowledge. Beneath the veneer of an ostensibly secular life,
the Jewish community, Borowitz maintained, still remained at­
tuned to the hum o f divine imperatives. His sociological-
religious frame of analysis in that book blossomed five years
later in 1978 into
Reform Judaism Today,
his three-volume com­
mentary on the 1976 Reform Movement’s San Francisco Cen­
tenary Perspective.
Borowitz had served as Chair of the Central Conference of
American Rabbis’Committee that wrote this successor statement
to the 1885 Pittsburgh Platform and the 1937 Columbus Plat­
form, and it was fitting that he offer the exegesis upon it. The
most striking feature of his commentary, from one perspective,
is the degree to which Borowitz located the Reform Movement
at the center of American Jewish life. Borowitz not only dem­
onstrated how the contemporary Reform Movement’s position
on the doctrines of God, Torah, and Israel had abandoned the
sectarian postures of a classical American Reform Judaism. He
also argued that Reform Judaism and its liberal attitudes to­
wards an observance of the tradition had come to inform almost
all precincts of American Jewish life, inasmuch as most Amer­
ican Jews were now self-consciously self-determining. The prob­
lem of Jewish thought that still had to be addressed more fully