Monday, February 26, 2007

Argument of the day

At MoC's fine blog, a fascinating argument is underway regarding the status of pre-war Jewish life in America. On the losing side we have Kishke who appears to have bought into the fantasy that American Judaism was down with a wasting disease until the war refugees arrived in the 40s and early 50s. Needless to say, Kishke is dead wrong. His errors are being ably uncovered by Still Wonderin' who started it with this:
There was a vibrant, flourishing American Jewish community 40 years ago. It was comprised of upstanding, honest, hard-working, respectable, and eminently religiously observant Orthodox Jews. Jews that worked a lot harder to stay religious than the shtetl peasants who were yet to appear.Yet, somehow, a nation of refugees arrived in America after WWII to let American Jewry know that without them, they would amount to nothing. Take your chauvenistic [SIC] claptrap and tell it to someone who agrees with you that American Jewry began in 1946.American Jewry was doing just fine without the brilliant idea of promoting dependancy [SIC] and fantasy as religious precepts.
In reply, Kishke affects ignorance of all the observant and learned American-born men who came out of REITS, Torah V'Das and Chofetz Chayim in the years before the war, some of whom are now Roshhei Yeshivot in their own right (1, 2 ):
The pre-WWII Orthodox American communities no longer exist. The elders passed on and their descendants assimilated. At best they became Reform or Conservative; they certainly did not remain Orthodox. They may be hard-working, but they are not frum. This is fact, and no amount of your angry posturing can change it.
And then the fun really starts.

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