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7 Converts to Judaism Apostasy and Jewish identity Converts to Judaism T he Jewish ethos sees the Jew as unique, by virtue of his being the offspring of the chosen group of people who left Egypt, stood at Mount Sinai, received God’s Torah, and entered into an eternal covenant with God. This ethos constituted the foundation of the Jew’s identity during the Middle Ages. The concept is expressed in the personality of the Jew and is transmitted in a direct and unmediated way to his descendants. Thus, only a Jew, himself the descendant of Jews, can recite the

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe
‘Are you still my brother?’

In this study, the various aspects of the way the Jews regarded themselves in the context of the lapse into another religion will be researched fully for the first time. We will attempt to understand whether they regarded the issue of conversion with self-confidence or with suspicion, whether their attitude was based on a clear theological position or on doubt and the coping with the problem as part of the process of socialization will be fully analysed. In this way, we will better understand how the Jews saw their own identity whilst living as a minority among the Christian majority, whose own self-confidence was constantly becoming stronger from the 10th to the 14th century until they eventually ousted the Jews completely from the places they lived in, England, France and large parts of Germany. This aspect of Jewish self-identification, written by a person who converted to Christianity, can help clarify a number of

Judaism. The view that remains holds that the position of those who hesitate whether or not to return to Judaism must not be weakened, coupled with the consideration that, from a propaganda viewpoint, it was important to leave a spark of hope in the hearts of those who remained Jews so that they not see the conversion of Jews to Christianity as a success of Christian theology, because those Jews would also sooner or later return to the fold. The halakhic writings relate to numerous questions presented for discussion to those authorities, either sitting as Rabbinic

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe

’s perceived relentless and violent anti-Judaism, than by any intrinsic lack of literary or cultural value. The variety of new readings generated by this poem which once existed, as Ralph Hanna notes, ‘on the suppressed margins of critical attention, unaccompanied by commentary’,3 testifies to its increasing importance in medieval studies. Yet even as a community of readers work to recuperate Jerusalem from its marginal placement, with few exceptions they continue to read the narrative as thoroughly anti-Judaic.4 My argument concerning the poem is predicated on a

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
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The literature of pietists (Ashkenazic hasidim)

Hasidism, together with the construction of its self-consciousness and identity, is seen as the opposite to that of the apostates. The world is divided into three types of people: ‘the ordinary person,’ ‘the wicked one,’ and ‘the pietist.’ The hasid is a person capable of confronting tests and standing up to them; hence, he also withstands the temptation involved in conversion to Christianity. The ‘ordinary person’ may be tempted, and one may assume that he will not withstand the trial. It is for his sake that one needs to prepare means of atonement and return to Judaism

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe

and tropes in his critique of capitalism. This view is pronounced among scholars of modern antisemitism and draws sustenance above all from the second of Marx's two 1843 essays ‘On the Jewish Question’, where he appears to link Judaism with the cult of money, and to associate human emancipation with emancipation from Judaism. His writings have been situated in a tradition Julius Carlebach calls ‘the radical critique of Judaism’ – a tradition that prefigured

in Antisemitism and the left
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them from the countries in which they had lived: England, France, and significant parts of Germany.2 The attitude within Jewish society regarding the movement of individuals from Judaism to Christianity, whether as a result of violent necessity (i.e., coercion), or of their own free will, as well as that of Christians into the Jewish religion, is one of the central and most significant issues for understanding the Jewish group during the Middle Ages, and serves as an exciting test case for examining the attitude and behavior of a society under duress.3 From its

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe
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The change in mentality

8 Conclusions: The change in mentality Apostasy and Jewish identity Conclusions: The change in mentality J ewish self-definition in medieval Europe was based upon classical Jewish values: first, the eternal covenant between God and the Jewish people as the chosen people; second, an explicit Jewish identity deriving from the world of commandments unique to Judaism. As the Jewish group lived within Christian society, the essence of whose theological view was that Christians and Christianity had supplanted Jews and Judaism as God’s chosen people and religion

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe
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. Shmuel ben Avraham of Speyer.11 These authors represent a different perception from that of R. Yitzhak ben Moshe regarding the attitude towards women who had been forced to convert. They do not deny the effort made by Christians to convert Jews, and perhaps in particular Jewish women, but they are also aware of the fact that in their day the Christian struggle had assumed a new face. The Christians are (primarily) interested in persuading women to convert to Christianity as a sign of its clear victory over Judaism; hence they intensify their efforts at convincing Jews

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe
From universalisation to relativism

There was much in Serbian and Croatian nationalism that relied on the Zionist contribution to the history of ideas. For nineteenth-century Zionists, the presence of anti-Semitism confirmed for some that the only way the Jewish people would be free of persecution was through their own Redemption in a territorially bounded nation-state. Zionists modernised cyclical teleology and used it to create their own state, free from the horrors of centuries of discriminatory legislation, pogrom, and massacre. Perhaps the most important aspect of Zionism, however, was something over which they had little control. The Holocaust, which occurred between 1941 and 1945, saw almost six million Jews systematically killed by the German Nazi regime — arguably the greatest Fall in the history of Judaism. Some viewed the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 as the greatest recompense and Redemption since the restoration of the Kingdom some 2,000 years before. An important concept throughout this work is the idea of performing, or acting out, a genocide.

in Balkan holocausts?