Abstract

Judaism is a religion of redemption. This promise of redemption is contradicted by the world we live in which is not governed by social justice nor properly reflective of human dignity. Judaism offers the Exodus from Egypt as the paradigm of human liberation in history and as validator of the promise for the perfection of the world. The covenant between God and Israel is the process whereby this redemption will be achieved; the existence of the Jewish people attests to the plausibility of this ideal. Yet the Holocaust presents a fundamental challenge to this message. The credibility of the promise cannot be restored without a renewal and a reformulation of the covenant. Proper responses include humans taking greater responsibility for the accomplishments of the covenantal goals through the assumption of power, restonng the image of God of all humans, and cultural and religious self-criticism, including removal of all sources of hatred and stereotyping. In an age of Jewish power, we must act more responsibly; the covenant and our historical memory must infuse power with value and direction as a check on our newly acquired power. In so doing, we can resume the task of walking the covenantal way while shedding light upon the path to redemption.

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