Modernity/Contemporary Jewish Life

“TJS S4 Interlude R’ Yitz Greenberg and the God of History”

54:12 The SoundCloud series, The Jewish Story
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“The Holocaust and the Rebirth of Israel” and “A New Era of Jewish History”

CLAL educational lectures, 1990
from the series Turning Points in Jewish History: Living the Covenant

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“Eras of Jewish History”

In our era God is less present than in earlier eras of Jewish history. God’s absence allows for greater human responsibility in the world. After the destruction of the Temple, the rabbis found ways to manifest God’s present in the world through blessings, rituals, and study.

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“Second Era of Jewish History”

Rabbi Greenberg explores the Rabbinic Period, which he labels as the second era of Jewish history. The period began in approximately 70 CE with the destruction of the Second Temple and ended around 500 CE, although Rabbi Greenberg contends that the impact continued through the eighteenth century and the birth of modernism.

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“Third Era of Jewish History”

We are now living in the third era of Jewish history, according to Rabbi Greenberg, who says this is the most extraordinary period of Jewish history.

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“Modernity: The Third Era”

Rabbi Greenberg praises America’s open society and points out unique aspects of modernity. Our time is one of the most unique and important for Judaism and society at large.
Long introduction; Rabbi Greenberg begins speaking about ten minutes in.

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“Third Era: The Challenges”

In this talk at Tel Aviv University, Rabbi Greenberg discusses the challenges facing contemporary Judaism, chief among them being that we are living at the start of the “third cycle” of Jewish history, which presents unique and unprecedented challenges.

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“American Jewry: Critical Issues”

CLAL, Critical Issues Conference
Rabbi Greenberg addresses critical issues facing American Jewry. Among the topics addressed: Will there be a major split in the Jewish community? Rabbi Greenberg believes there will be and explains why.

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“Challenge of Choice/Modernity”

Rabbi Greenberg explores the impacts on Jewish identity and Jewish life of the freedom of modernity. Contemporary society with its openness, choices, and tolerance has led to both religious freedom and assimilation, and to both a wealth of personal/professional opportunities and a loss of cultural identity.

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“Modernity’s Impact: Monotheistic Faith and Cultural Pluralism”

Modernity and urbanization have transformed the relationship of different cultures and religions by tempering the otherness of the “other.” Individuals are now judged as individuals rather than as a member of a particular group. A consequence of this shift has been a weakening of religious faith, practice, and identity. Modernity and the resulting proximity of members of different faiths living side by side marks a willingness to waive the religious foundation that once defined our identities. Cultural pluralism enables diverse communities to appreciate the uniqueness of other faiths while at the same time created a new cultural reality in partnership.

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