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Pledges of Jewish AllegianceConversion, Law, and Policymaking in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Orthodox Responsa$
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David Ellenson and Daniel Gordis

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804778053

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804778053.001.0001

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Europe and the United States in the Modern Period

Europe and the United States in the Modern Period

(p.90) Four Europe and the United States in the Modern Period
Pledges of Jewish Allegiance
Stanford University Press

The Nazis killed one-third of the world's Jews during the Holocaust, and leaders of world Orthodoxy had the daunting task of helping the survivors recover from such a trauma. Their goal was to enhance Jewish unity and increase the number of Jews around the world. Some of these leaders reached out to Jews everywhere (and to non-Jews who wished to join their ranks), while others sought to protect the integrity and standards of whatever was left of the traditional Jewish world. This chapter examines the post-Holocaust responses of Orthodox rabbis in Europe and the United States with regards to helping Jews recover from the destruction they suffered at the hands of the Nazis. It explores how Orthodox rabbinical authorities interpreted Jewish law in matters such as conversion and intermarriage, from the flexibility of Yehiel Yaakov Weinberg to the so-called religious extremism of Mordecai Yaakov Breisch. It also discusses the theory proposed by sociologist Charles Liebman to explain the rise of a new, more stringent, Orthodox rabbinate in the mid- to late twentieth century.

Keywords:   Jews, Holocaust, rabbis, Europe, United States, Jewish law, Charles Liebman, religious extremism, conversion, intermarriage

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