The person who had the deepest insight into the nature of democratic society was Alexis de Tocqueville. (...)
"Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood (...)"
Tocqueville wrote these words in the 1830s, and there is a risk that this is what some European societies are becoming like today: all state, no society; all government, little or no community. Tocqueville was not a religious writer. He makes no reference to the Hebrew Bible. But the fear he has is precisely what the book of Exodus documents. When a central power – even when this is God Himself – does everything on behalf of the people, they remain in a state of arrested development. They complain instead of acting. They give way easily to despair. When the leader, in this case Moses, is missing, they do foolish things, none more so than making a golden calf.
There is only one solution: to make the people co-architects of their own destiny, to get them to build something together, to shape them into a team and show them that they are not helpless, that they are responsible and capable of collaborative action. Genesis begins with God creating the universe as a home for human beings. Exodus ends with human beings creating the Mishkan, as a ‘home’ for God.
Hence the basic principle of Judaism, that we are called on to become co-creators with God. And hence too the corollary: that leaders do not do the work on behalf of the people. They teach people how to do the work themselves. It is not what God does for us but what we do for God that allows us to reach dignity and responsibility-
Where: Conference "Exploring Urban Jewish Space in a European Context" at TAU
When: 6 - 8 January
Exhibition: Jewish Life in Medieval Erfurt
Sarah Laubenstein (UNESCO-World Heritage Coordinator, Erfurt)
09:00-11:00 Jewish Communities in Ashkenaz in the Middle Ages
Chair: Ephraim Shoham-Steiner (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheva)
Maria Stürzebecher (UNESCO-World Heritage Coordinator, Erfurt)
The Unique Cultural Heritage of the First Medieval Jewish Community of Erfurt (before
Karin Sczech (Thüringisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie, Weimar)
Searching for Traces of the Second Medieval Jewish Community of Erfurt (after 1354)
Katrin Kessler (Technische Universität, Braunschweig)
The Location of the Jewish Ritual Bath in Germany – from the Middle Ages to Modern
- I am a volunteer in Jerusalem, Israel
In the past...
- I was a Student of Jewish Studies and History.
- I was volunteering several times in Israel with handicapped children and at the Yad Vashem Archives
- I was involved as Webmaster and IT assistant as well as member of the Student council at the HfJS Heidelberg
I am interested in...
- Israel and Judaism (Rational Judaism)
- Political Philosophy (Liberalism)
- Social Media and IT
I am here for...
- keeping in touch with family, friends and acquaintances
- getting to know new, interesting and inspiring people
- informing and assisting, learning from others
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