Jewish Emancipation and Reform Judaism

4 April 2015
A discussion of Reform Judaism’s perspective on the Jewish state.

This paper discusses the development of Reform Judaism’s position on the concept of a Jewish homeland. The role of the Diaspora, Jewish Emancipation and the Enlightenment in Europe is examined. These terms are defined and the concepts explored.
“The Jewish Emancipation was an effort to integrate Jews dispersed in ancient times from Israel to other nations during the Diaspora into the countries where they now lived, countries that were growing more afraid of having a large Jewish contingent with different political loyalties. Reform Judaism developed out of the same liberalization of policies and practice. At the time, this shift meant the abandonment of nationalistic ideas, but later, Reform Judaism as well would embrace the creation of a Jewish state and be dedicated to preserving that state.
The story of the Diaspora is a key element in the history of the Jewish people and in the focus of their aspirations and purposes in the world. The word “Diaspora” is derived from the Greek for “a scattering” or “to scatter about.” The word has come to signify the body of Jews today living not in Israel but scattered outside the boundaries of Israel.”
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