GOLEM 01 vom 12-99
Are we fools? Most Israelis
would say that we are. Not only because the word "Golem" means, in Hebrew,
fool or dummy – but also that we claim that the Jews of Europe have a future,
rather than just a past. European Jewry lives, despite all the Israeli and
American predictions to the contrary – it is heterogenic and in the future it
will be solid component of the European concert of peoples.
This magazine, "Golem" aims, 10 years
after the fall of the "Iron Curtain", at a Europe that is not defined by the
borders of the European Union. Our point of departure is the many-faceted
heritage upon which Judaism all over Europe can look back, without blurring
the different developments in Western and Eastern Europe or the different
traditions of Ashkenazi and Sepharadi Jews. The better we listen to each
other, the clearer the common questions become, despite all the national
differences: what does Jewish identity in Europe consist of 60 years after
the Holocaust, and how inclusive and tolerant will deal with the question
"who is a Jew"? Can we demand tolerance from the outside world, without also
practising it internally?
Judaism has never been simple or clear; being Jewish today in Europe means
many things, and with this magazine, we attempt to do justice to this vivid
diversity. For example, in this issue we cover a controversy currently
raging in Poland. Shoshana Ronen, an Israeli living in Poland for the past
seven years, provoked strong reactions to her polemic against the return of
Polish Jews to Orthodoxy, which was published in Poland's largest daily
newspaper, "Gazia Wyborcza". Konstanty Gebert, editor-in-chief of the
Polish-Jewish magazine "Midrasz", responds to Shoshana Ronen by pointing out
what we can learn from Israeli intolerance. The fact that Ronen denies the
Orthodox Jewish way of life any right to exist shows how wide the gap
between secular and orthodox Jews has now become. This is a development that
we in Europe could well avoid, with tolerance and openness towards all ways
of Jewish life.
The relationship between European
Judaism and Israel, as well as with North America, is now very dynamic:
Europe is no longer just the executor of a great heritage, but is blossoming
into a self-confident, but critical, partner.
In her essay "The Third Pillar?
Toward a European Jewish Identity" the historian Diana Pinto sketches the
contours of a revitalised European Judaism shortly before the dawn of the
21st century. A specific European-Jewish identity has enough substance
nowadays to assert itself as the third column of Judaism next to Israel and
North America. When we speak about substance, we of course also mean the
vivid Jewish culture that not only consists of religion, but also of
literature, philosophy, language and art.
We do not want to have endless
discussions about what "Jewish art" might be. In this magazine, we present
authors, writers, poets and artists, whose work deals with Jewish issues.
The illustrations in "Golem" come from the exhibition "The Jewish Central
Labyrinth" which the group Meshulash Berlin organised in the framework of
the Jewish Cultural Festival in November 1999.
Is our European-Jewish magazine
"Golem" therefore a foolhardy act? The original meaning in Hebrew of "Golem"
is something rising, something developing. It is in this sense of the word
that we want the title for our magazine to be understood: as a living
contribution to developing European-Jewish identity. Judge it for yourself!
/ Diskussion / Leserbriefe]
[Jüdische Gemeinden in Europa]