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  1. thanbo says:

    Historical correction: the proposed merger between JTS and RIETS was during the boom years, in 1927. And it was Joseph H Cohen, that odd money man who was also an ideologue, who had been betrayed by Kaplan’s devotion to his weird theology, who put his foot down snd said that as long as the Seminary employed Kaplan, there could be no merger. After the Depression, Cohen had died (1936, iirc).

  2. Josh M. says:

    Interesting summary.

    I had not heard that the founding of chassidus (as opposed to its evolution) was similarly a reaction to the haskalah – did such exist in any significant form in mid-18th century Ukraine? My impression had been that it was more a response to perceived deficiencies in the worldview that would eventually be called misnagdus.

    • micha says:

      I am saying that the rise of the Haskalah created the need to consciously embrace an Ism altogether. Including both Chassidus and Hisnagdus. Eastern European Judaism in the 18th cent was culturally driven, not ideologically driven. There was no proto-misgnagdic worldview, outside a few rare hashkafah books.

  3. the claim that haskala undermined traditional movements is a gross over generalization.

    • micha says:

      Good! Then I’m so glad a didn’t say that! What I did say is that the fall of the ghetto wall and the rise of Hashkalah made the status quo ante, a world without active movements, impossible. There were no “traditional movements” to undermine, but an unconscious cultural identity. This is what we Jews do, full-stop.

      The whole thesis of this post is that in Ashkenaz, movements arose in response to this new need to have a reason to be Jewish. Some of those movements provided O answers, and some not. O preserves the more critical elements of the tradition despite being impacted by the haskalah.

  4. I have nothing to add. I am not in a position to judge the validity of attributing Chasidus to the enlightenment, especially since there were a plethora of splinter groups long before then. I am commenting simply to appreciate the sentence
    Orthodoxy isn’t a property these Ashkenazi movements mutually created, it is a property they preserved.

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