PAGE 27
HOME | GUIDE | BACK | NEXT


A Renewal of Jewish Life


Lionel Rothschild...



Samson Raphael Hirsch...



Jacques Offenbach...



"Something new!"...



Gabriel Riesser...



Ferdinand Lasalle...



The progroms in Russia in 1881...


DURING THE 19TH CENTURY, the Jewish population in the world increases fourfold - from about 2.5 million to over 10 million. Jews more and more adopt the language and culture of the societies they have lived in for centuries. In countries where they enjoy full equality, Jews quickly become integrated into society. In countries where only partial freedoms are granted, the process takes longer.

Jews can now be found in most professions and economic activities, and for the first time enter universities and the academic professions. Natural sciences, medicine, law, engineering, journalism - the new professions brought about by progress in technology, by rapid changes in society and the economy are more accessible for Jews than older occupations still dominated by vested interests and traditional prejudice.

Jewish culture also adapts to the changing circumstances. Religious reform movements bring the ideas of enlightenment and liberalism to bear on Jewish law and synagogue services. Orthodox Judaism also reforms itself to accommodate the new role of Jews as citizens in an open society. Jewish writers, painters and composers step into the cultural traditions of the Christian societies and now practice their art without much reference to their Jewish origins.

In countries where the Jews - and the non-Jewish population as well - lack the basic freedoms, and where Jewish integration is more strongly opposed by anti-Semitism, many join the Socialist movement. A different response to the lack of emancipation is even more widely practiced: emigration.

In the second half of the 19th century, Jewish nationalism formulates another answer to the unfulfilled hopes of Jews in many countries of Central and Eastern Europe: a revival of Jewish culture and identity, and a return to nationhood in the land of the forefathers.


home next back