Cultural Paper on Assimilation and the Liberal Jewish diaspora in London
A liberal Jew is an individual who is progressive through their bringing together of Judaism and modernity (Wagner 1). Liberal Judaism is viewed as the progressive change of the past to the future concerning the Jews cultural beliefs. In this case, Liberal Jews apply Judaism by following its religious and cultural traditions and incorporating them into the modern world thinking and morality framework. Liberal Judaism is viewed as a movement that is aimed at reinterpreting Jewish texts and reflecting them on modernity through their suitability to the contemporary conditions. On the other hand, assimilation is used about the change of a group’s identification to merge with that of another group. In this case, assimilation of Jews leads to a loss of their cultural identity to form a new image that enables them to blend in their new environment.
The paper will focus on the assimilation and the liberal Jewish diaspora in London. In this case, it will focus on the sociocultural process that influences the sense of association between the British and Jews. Assimilation has proven that it can occur in developed societies such as London. However, the process is influenced by factors such as the economic strength of the book, cultural superiority, political advantages and the changes witnessed in the overall religious outlook and customs of the assimilated group. The paper will focus on these factors to determine how they have influenced the assimilation of Jews in London.
Assimilation is reflected on regarding the numbers, commitment, and identity. In this case, the paper will focus on the number of Jews in London and their commitment to the community as a means of establishing the effectiveness of assimilation in the region. Additionally, the paper will focus on their trends outside the community with the aim of gaining information on the influence of assimilation in the region. The paper will also focus on anti-Semitism in British culture and its difference from previous waves. Such information is important since it will reflect on anti-Semitism incidents in the region and their influence on assimilation. Finally, the paper will focus on the Liberal Jewish diaspora in London by focusing on the Jews views on assimilation and liberal Judaism.
The Jewish community is composed of a unique combination of kinship and consent (Graham and Waterman 3). Evidently, being born a Jew automatically places an individual in a special position. The situation has forced members of the community to come together with the aim of enhancing self-protection. Consequently, the Jews seek self-protection by living in communities regardless of the fact that there are other options such as assimilation. Modern times have witnessed efforts from Jews who have broken away from Judaism.
The preservation of Jewish life has always been reflected as a matter of familial solidarity. Additionally, it is viewed as a product of their will to live and work as a community. The community is defined by the people who are born Jews and those who have embraced Judaism. Judaism is used about the community’s act of seeking salvation through the construction of God’s policy. Evidently, the community makes it a priority to fulfill its purpose based on how they conduct their lives and daily activities.
The British civilization has influenced the Jews in several ways that have brought a significant decline in their all-embracing ways of life (Graham and Waterman 14). However, British influence has not changed the concept of being Jewish and what it entails in regards to their behavior. Being a Jew in London is associated with being a Protestant or being a Catholic. In this case, it is evident that the concepts that were used about Jews in the past have changed significantly.
The Jewish community in London is constructed on a platform that has brought a near end to the norms that were practiced in the past. As a result, the challenges that the Jews in London are different as compared to the past based on the influence of assimilation. Assimilation of the Jews is successful in the region based on the fact that the Britons have created an environment where they do not need to fear. In this case, the lifestyle of Jews in the region has evolved in a way that it is not strictly Orthodox. The transformation has played a significant role in influencing the community’s continuity in the region. Forces of anti-Semitism have evolved in Britain leading to the success in the assimilation of Jews.
Assimilation in the 19th century evolved through the attempts that were made to eliminate the nationalistic elements of the Jewish elements. The move was aimed at relieving the Jews who were in a depression state based on the feeling of being an exile and alien. However, the Jewish Identity was preserved. Additionally, assimilation during this time was not a unified process based on the problems and complications that existed.
According to Leslie Wagner, the revolution of technology, science, religion and politics led to a radical change in the world of Jews until the 20th Century. The changes resulted in the transformation of the community from a ghettoized corporation to a nation that held substantial power over its members. According to the text, modernity attributed to a crisis for Judaism through the de-emphasis of its religious aspects of life in Britain. Moreover, the establishment of secular sciences and politics into the forefront of Jews and human concern influenced Judaism. Modernity attributed to a breakdown of Jewish life through adjustments that were made on the foundations of religious faith. The collapse played a significant role in making the Jewish corporate structure reasonable. Evidently, a majority of Jews stopped observing the law and implement it for the accomplishment of human fulfillment.
The text by Wagner shows that the Jews in Britain gained access to a wider range of opportunities from the modern world through the assimilation process. Additionally, the revision of their corporate structure influenced their ability to utilize their skills that they had developed in their struggle for survival. It is recorded that the European society failed to recognize the Jews regardless of their adjustment. The failure to be recognized was influenced by anti-Semitism. As a result, the Jews began abandoning the region in search of better life. The process was voluntary until the start of World War II that made it necessary for them to leave.
Consequently, the modern epoch that seemed promising was brought to an abrupt end by the World War events and the Holocaust. However, the few Jews that remained in the region acted in a bid to restore their self-conscious existence. They sought to build a new Jewish community in the new world. The text indicates that they sought to increase their numbers and make peace with their heritage and apply it as a way of life.
Wagner states that it was difficult to estimate the number of Jews in Britain after World War II based on the rapid decline that was experienced in the 2nd half of the 20th century (Wagner 1). Evidently, the number of Jews reduced significantly based on the age structure of the community where deaths among the members of the community were higher than births. Additionally, assimilation is also recorded as a major contribution to the decline in the community. Moreover, some individuals of Jewish decent failed to recognize themselves as Jews. A significant percentage of the population returned to Israel also influenced the decline.
The author states that it is difficult to estimate the number of Jews based on the influence of assimilation. In this case, people in the region who were elf-identified as Jews had transformed to the extent that their Jewish nature was unknown (Wagner 1). Assimilation in London as one of the major areas where Jews preferred to live led to the establishment of different denominations that all fell under Judaism. As a result, the creation of different denominations brought an end to the criteria for acceptance to become a Jew. Moreover, the definition of the term Jew changed to reflect on various meanings.
The assimilation and Jewish liberal community changes that have occurred over the last 20 years in London has witnessed a loss of a member who is of original Jewish decent. On the other hand, it also led to an increase in members based on the influence of the denominations that were established under Judaism. Denominational changes between the year 2005 and 2010 reflect the decline in British Jews. The increase in Jews was attributed to the change in criteria for membership that led to the acceptance of individuals of patrilineal descent (Wagner 1). Evidently, the community continues to attract more members regardless of the sharp decline over the past few decades.
According to Naidia Woolf, assimilation among the Jews living in London is not an extraordinary event. It is a common occurrence that has affected every generation dating back to the mid-17th century. She accounts that the events that have occurred in the past three centuries have led to the development of assimilation. Additionally, she states that assimilation has led to thousands of English Jews renouncing their origins and merging with the larger society. Assimilation in Britain is progressed through Jews conversions and intermarriages. These activities reflect on the development of assimilation based on the fact that they were unheard of in earlier decades. The integration of the ethnic group into the mainstream was influenced by the Jews in substantial sacrifices about their system of values. The Jewish diaspora in London is found to be composed of individuals who have preserved their unique Jewish life, behavior, and faith. It is also comprised of people who have lost their interest in maintaining a connection with their culture and the history of their ancestors.
Woolf states that the reasons that led to the assimilation of Jews in England since their resettlement after World War II are complex. Evidently, English Jews were subjected to pervasive and subtle discrimination in the society that reflected on their lack of acceptance by the larger culture. They were considered foreigners and were not understood or welcomed. Such scenarios were evident during the World War II period. Woolf gives a first-hand account of the treatment her mother and sister were subjected to. She states that were treated as foreigners and were spied on. Moreover, she states that she was considered to belong to lower class families when she joined the school based on her culture. Jews during this time were considered to be responsible for fascism. They were criticized and discriminated against based on anti-Semitic insults.
Evidently, English Jews needed assimilation since it was important to fit into the cultural and social norms of the Britons (Woolf 1). Woolf indicates that the anti-Semitism during the first half of the 20th century was influenced by the Britons close relationship with the Germans. Her story reflects on the life of Jews during that period. In this case, it is evident that Jews lived and worked in communities even before the World War II. Additionally, they kept to themselves by minimizing interactions with their neighbors (Woolf 1). All their friends are also found to have belonged to the Jewish community.
It is feared that British Jewry might die due to the high rate of assimilation. Evidently, English Jews have in the past decade engaged in a lot of intermarriages leading to the concern of the serious decline. Young Jews in Britain are found to marry outside their religion. As a result, the intermarriages have brought an end to the community spirit that the Jews once held. It is indicated that the odds of Jews meeting, interacting and marrying each other are low (Woolf 1).
Britain is viewed as one of the major regions that house Jews in diaspora (Temko 1). Additionally, it is recorded in the region that has experienced one of the highest rates of assimilation due to the significant in the Jews population due to cultural changes that have evolved over the years. According to the text, it is predicted that Israel will become home to the largest Jewish community in 2020 based on the Orthodox beliefs of having big families.
Jews diaspora in London has engaged in intermarriages with non-Jews. Additionally, a significant percentage of the communities have converted to Judaism. Temko notes that the assimilation in the modern era has occurred rapidly especially about economic and educational opportunities that have opened. Such openness to the world is found to have played a major role in influencing the complete assimilation of Jews. Temko states that Jewish identity in this day and age is fostered through the power of their religious tradition that has remained the same through the centuries. Additionally, the Jewish identity is encouraged by the growing weariness among young Jews in London who have opted to remain Jews (Temko 1). The community and their culture are disappearing based on the influence of secular apostasy. However, he notes that their increasing association with Israel constantly affirms their Jewish character. Temko states that all hope is not lost as these elements are growing among the middle-aged group in the community who have opted to remain Jewish by practicing their cultures and traditions.
According to Graham and Waterman, it is evident that assimilation in Britain will continue. As a result, it will lead to a further decline in the number of people who will define themselves as Jews in the region. However, the authors indicate that there is hope in changing the fate of Jews in diaspora. In this case, the hope revolves around changing the roles of synagogues in the region and increasing Jewish-school enrollment to enhance Jewish studies and experiences. Such measures are recorded to be essential since they may attribute to a significant decline in the decrease in the number of members in the community.
The authors note that the vitality and viability of Jewish life in Britain will continue for many years regardless of the recorded declines. However, they indicate that it requires the community’s contribution in showing that the lifestyle does not have to be strictly orthodox. Such measures from the community can enhance Jewish continuity in the region (Graham and Waterman 38). The changes that have occurred in English Jews over the years have resulted in a gradual shift in their Identity that divides them from the rest and brings them closer to British social and cultural norms.
The British civilization has influenced the Jews in several ways that have brought a significant decline in their all-embracing ways of life. Jews in Britain gained access to a wider range of opportunities from the modern world through the assimilation process that was in the form of colonization. As a result, the Jewish community in London is constructed on a platform that has brought a near end to the norms that were practiced in the past. The assimilation and Jewish liberal community changes that have occurred over the last 20 years in London has witnessed a loss of a member who are of original Jewish decent. For instance, it is evident that assimilation has led to thousands of English Jews renouncing their origins and merging with the larger society.
Assimilation among the Jews living in London is not an extraordinary event. In the early 19th century, the revolution of technology, science, religion and politics led to a radical change in the world of Jews until the 20th Century. Additionally, assimilation in the 19th century evolved through the attempts that were made to eliminate the nationalistic elements of the Jewish elements. During the earlier phased on the 20th century, English Jews were subjected to pervasive and subtle discrimination in the society that reflected on their lack of acceptance by the larger culture. As a result, English Jews needed assimilation since it was important to ensure that they would fit into the cultural and social norms of the Britons. The reasons that led to the assimilation of Jews in England since their resettlement after World War II are complex. Evidently, they were criticized and discriminated against based on anti-Semitic insults.
It is feared that British Jewry might die due to the high rate of assimilation. Clearly, the Jews diaspora in London has engaged in intermarriages with non-Jews. Moreover, the availability of opportunities for education and careers has influenced their culture significantly. Such openness to the world is found to have played a significant role in influencing the complete assimilation of some Jews. Consequently, it is evident that assimilation in Britain will continue. However, the high decline is manageable through changing the roles of synagogues in the region and increasing Jewish-school enrollment to enhance Jewish studies and experiences. In this case, the people will learn more about their culture and tradition leading to the preservation of the community especially among university students who are recorded to engage in early marriages with non-Jews.
Graham, Schmool, and Waterman, Smith. Jews in Britain: A Snapshot from the 2001 Census. London: Institute for Jewish Policy Research, 2007.
Temko, Ned. “Britain’s Jews fall in number but grow in self-confidence.” The Guardian, 15 Sep 2013, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/15/jews-new-sense-of-identity. Accessed 20 Nov 2016.
Wagner, Leslie. “The Challenges Facing British Jewry.” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 6 Feb 2011, http://jcpa.org/article/the-challenges-facing-british-jewry/. Accessed 20 Nov 2016.
Woolf, Naidia. “Where Do We Go From Here?.” Jewish Magazine, Feb 2011, http://www.jewishmag.com/151mag/intermarriage_england/intermarriage_england.htm. Accessed 20 Nov 2016.