By Steven E. Aschheim
The essays during this quantity search to confront the various charged assembly issues of ecu - in particular German - and Jewish historical past. All, in a single means or one other, discover the entanglements, the intertwined moments of empathy and enmity, belonging and estrangement, creativity and destructiveness that happened at those junctions.
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Extra resources for At the Edges of Liberalism: Junctions of European, German, and Jewish History
In numerous ways, Jews internalized and deflected these narratives as variously self-defining, self-deprecating, and selfasserting instruments. Aziza Khazzoom has suggestively labeled these strategies and responses as “the great chain of Orientalism,”4 in which respectively “Westernizing” Jewish groups constructed and affirmed their own modern identity by appropriating secular, Enlightenment norms and creating negative mirror opposites, foisting “Oriental” stereotypes and characteristics upon other Jewish groups, putatively lower in the “civilizational” line.
94 In the insightful words of Arie Bruce Saposnik, early Zionism in multiple ways envisaged itself essentially as “a blend of East and West, members of a composite nation originating in the East, but now deeply influenced by the western civilization in which they had resided for so many centuries . . ”95 Yet, clearly, all the Jewish Orientalisms we have been discussing ultimately and paradoxically sprung from predicaments and experiences that originated in Europe and were based upon Western categories.
Our present subjects, however, consist of a group of Central European thinkers who, with one or two exceptions, departed from Europe well before the Nazi onslaught. During the first three decades of the twentieth century, the center of their attention moved to Palestine. As second-generation Zionists, to be sure, they rejected Europe (and Germany in particular) as the site in which their Jewishness, as they conceived it, could be authentically validated. Yet this physical and ideological move beyond the borders of their birth did not mean that they necessarily wanted to, or indeed could, unload the fraught mental baggage they brought with them.