Jewish Identity in a Free Society:
On Current Efforts to Enforce “Total Commitment”
Few of us are duplicates of our grandfathers, in either thought, feeling, speech, or appearance. Very often we even differ from our fathers, too, in most of these respects. We are, to a large extent, new people—as everything in America, and in many other parts of the world, tends, for better or worse, to be new.
To be new means to lack a given identity, to be, in the deepest sense, anonymous. We can “make a name for ourselves.” But until we have done so we are “nobody,” atoms of that featureless mass which certain journalists condescendingly term “the little people.” Quite a different matter from being born labeled with the name of a ready-made entity, like the ancient family or the aristocrat’s estate.
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