I don’t want this one to slip away unnoticed, even though it is off the main Hartman website homepage for now: David Hartman’s new column on the rise of extremism in the Jewish world. The essay is adapted from one of his recent lectures in the Pomrenze Lecture Series: Challenges Facing Modern Jewry in Israel and the Diaspora. In that talk, the fourth in the six-lecture series, Rabbi Hartman discussed the thinking of Mordecai Kaplan, the 20th century American rabbi and philosopher who founded the Reconstructionist Movement, the first U.S.-founded Jewish movement.
Rabbi Hartman marveled at the change in the Jewish world, and how the Conservative Movement has struggled even as Orthodoxy – and its stricter and stricter off-shoots – continue to gain in popularity: “It seems that the more extreme, the more right wing, the more you have a sense of being a holy Jew.”
Rabbi Hartman laments the rise in non-rational thinking, the triumph of the devout and energetic over the thoughtful and intellectual: “The less intelligible things are these days, the more attractive they have become.”
Read his entire essay, including his sharply worded condemnation of the “irrational,” by clicking here. There is also a video version of the talk embedded with that article.