A Letter to David Daiches:
Change and Tradition in American Judaism
DEAR DAVID DAICHES:
Had your article in the February been only an exposition and defense of agnosticism, it would have awakened in me echoes of Thomas Huxley and Bertrand Russell, but I would not have felt myself personally involved. Your article, however, because it is your “personal view” of American Judaism, has started up in me reverberations from some of the deepest layers of my mind; I find myself profoundly and inextricably involved. For you and I have had pretty much the same upbringing, experiences, and education. My father, too, as you know, was a distinguished Orthodox rabbi who enjoyed the respect and confidence of both Jew and Christian; my education, too, was in several cultures, sacred and profane; my career, too, has brought me in my vocation as teacher to an American university campus. However, while I accept some of the incidental things you say in your article, if your fundamental assertions are right, then I have been misliving my life; then I have gained from my background, experiences, and education only a bushel of tares while you possess the wheat. I feel myself, therefore, personally challenged.
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