A new book by Alan Wolfe makes the argument that the Jewish Diaspora, a form of “exile” is actually a shared blessing. In a New York Times review, Michael Roth examines Wolfe’s thesis that the diaspora and Israel should thrive in productive tension with one another.
“The longing for the Promised Land may be an important theme in the Torah, but fundamental religious practice and cultural identity have mostly been formed far from Jerusalem,” Roth writes. “For millenniums Jews have lived in exile; “next year in Jerusalem” is an acknowledgment of loss and hope — not a travel plan.”
“While Israel’s existence is now part of the experience of Jews wherever they live, it shows no signs of bringing the Diaspora to an end.”