Three German Jews Rediscover Their Judaism

Ohr Kodesh Congregation

Dates: Monday, October 17, 2011
Time: 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Speaker: Dr. Michael Berenbaum

Michael Berenbaum is a writer, lecturer, and teacher consulting in the conceptual development of museums and the development of historical films.

If one looked at German Jewry during the early 20th century, post-World War I and before the rise of Hitler, it would resemble the situation of American Jewry today. Boundaries were being broken, and new identities were being shaped. There was much assimilation and intermarriage, yet there was a marvelous creativity within the Jewish community, almost a Renaissance of German Jewry, most especially among the young. Prof. Berenbaum will speak of the lives of Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, and Gershom Scholem. These different but intersecting journeys back toward Judaism had an incredible impact on Jewish life and secured places for Buber, Rosenzweig, and Scholem as three of the most influential Jews of the 20th century.

Buber began with deep roots in the Jewish community. His grandfather, with whom he lived, was one of the great Jewish scholars of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He drifted away from Judaism in college but returned to it with an early embrace of Zionism, later engaging in Jewish spirituality through his study of Hasidism, ultimately becoming one of the great spiritual teachers of his generation and its leading interpreter of Hasidism to the secular Western world. Rosenzweig returned to Judaism from the brink of Christianity and shaped an institution and a culture that allowed brilliant young Jews to embrace their Judaism and to engage with Jewish history and philosophy. He helped shape Jewish thought and Jewish Studies in Israel and the United States. Scholem grew up in the home of a prosperous German Jewish family. One of his brothers was a communist, the other a capitalist, and he embraced Zionism and became the leading interpreter of Jewish mysticism, which he used to reshape Jewish thought and recover this rich spiritual tradition.

This program is the annual Abraham S. Kay lecture, made possible by the generosity of Jack Kay.

Program is held at and co-sponsored by:


Ohr Kodesh Congregation
8300 Meadowbrook Lane
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
For directions, please click here.

Also co-sponsored by:

Georgetown University
Program for Jewish Civilization

Online Learning for this Event

Three German Jews - Text
Three German Jews - Audio

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