Revolutionism & the Jews:2 - Appropriating the Religious Tradition
ON TELEGRAPH AVENUE near the Berkeley-Oakland border, an easy walk from one of the cradles of hippie culture and still closer to the national headquarters of the Black Panther party, there is a billboard on which is written in six-foot-high letters this and nothing else: MAN, MYTH, AND MAGIC. This alliterative enigma is in fact the announcement of a new publication, but it could also serve as the motto for the “counter-culture” flamboyantly evident a mile away, and visible elsewhere across the country wherever the young and the dissident gather. The still growing infatuation with ritual, mysticism, and the occult is sometimes dissociated from political activity, in other cases-witness the attempted levitation of the Pentagon-curiously intertwined with political protest. Among Jews the new vogue of exotic traditions has had the peculiar effect of giving an unexpected cachet to Judaism-not, of course, the organizational Judaism of the “complacent” suburbanite in his million-dollar temple, but the unquiet faith of an inscrutable Kabbalah, of an ecstatic Hasidism, of the Prophets with their impulse of intransigent social criticism.
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