From the website Jewcy, a letter by Jack Wertheimer that offers a view completely opposed to what I posted from the UK site Jewdas last week. No rootless cosmopolitan yeshiva here, but a dismissal of "cosmopolitan pluralism" as mere adolescent frivolity. American Jews can be cosmopolitan, Wertheimer explains, because they marry so late that the "real" work of raising a family and worrying about a bounded (as opposed to imaginary and expansive) future isn't theirs. A quote:
Don’t be so quick to assume that the easy pluralism and globalism you take for granted is forever, any more than is the post-nationalist era proclaimed by the Tony Judt’s of the Jewish world. And don’t assume your non-Jewish peers are as indifferent to group allegiances as they might claim. Your Jewish spiritual ancestors with their flights of internationalist fancy learned this lesson too late.Dire stuff. Easy stuff to write, too, especially with a sneer. I'm not saying there is no truth to it -- there obviously is -- but surely the harder work is to bring about a future that doesn't repeat or allow to be re-enacted this lachrymose past. A very hard question: to what extent do we learn history in order to escape it? Do we allow history to teach us to brace ourselves for dire times to come? How do we bring about a future that doesn't allow a writer to proclaim that to be a cosmopolitan is to sign the warrant for your death warrant, or that of your children, your people?
Wertheimer is a well published scholar of contemporary Judaism. If you read through the comments that follow his piece, you'll see that his argument that Jews need to take care of Jews first is not finding a receptive audience on the website at which it was published.
Why am I thinking about this? I've just been reading William of Newburgh on the massacre of the Jews of York in 1190.