Existentialism's Meaning for Judaism:
A Contemporary Midrash
WHY has existentialism had so little impact upon the leaders of American Jewry? The educators and social workers move in another philosophic universe entirely. The laity is barely conscious of its existence-as it is barely conscious of philosophy in general-though it occasionally manages to recognize some such name as Franz Rosenzweig. The rabbinate has heard this or read that about the Jewish existentialists, but tends to see them as a menace deserving only of excoriation and denunciation. What has happened to that immutable principle of modern Jewish life, that the Christian fashion after a little while becomes the Jewish ideal? Surely nothing has excited and invigorated contemporary Christian thought, Catholic as well as Protestant, as much as existentialism. It has been the major excitement in academic and religious circles for over a decade, and even before World War II its influence had been felt in a number of intellectual-religious circles in America.
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