Divided We Stand: A Journey with Judge Israel Finestein QC
by Colin Lang
Introduction by Todd M. Endelman
Using the ideas of the celebrated Anglo-Jewish historian the late Judge Israel Finestein QC as the intellectual framework for this original work, the author explores the history of division which has formed and fractured the modern Anglo-Jewish world. Lang invites the reader to consider Anglo-Jewish history in terms of Jewish identity, purpose and survival.
This book focuses on the Anglo-Jewish experience from the Emancipation at the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present day. It looks at the impact of the Reform, Liberal and Masorti secessions, and asks ‘whither orthodoxy?’ It recounts the impossible search for pluralism in the face of unbridgeable religious divisions, and considers the stresses imposed on communal institutions, and on a leadership obsessed with unity.
The author examines the divisive impacts of Zionism and the great immigration, which between them transformed the Jewish world. He looks at other areas of Jewish life affected by competing interests such as the governance of the community, the rise to prominence of women in the secular but not yet the religious world, the importance of the provinces, and the role of the secular Jew.
What emerges is a convergence of totally separate, self-contained (often antagonistic) communities, with Israel at the centre both inspiring Jewish life in the Diaspora, and, at the same time threatening the cohesion of the Jewish world. The author concludes that, despite a history of fragmentation and ceaseless argument, what the Jews have in common far outweighs what divides them. And in some cases, as in Anglo-Jewry, the lack of unity and a greater pluralism has enabled the community to thrive.
July 2017 320 pages, 1 illustration
Hardback: 978 1 910383 50 6 £40.00
Ebook: 978 1 910383 51 3 £40.00
“The late Israel Finestein was an outstanding lawyer, historian and lay leader of the British Jewish community. This book of essays by his nephew, Colin Lang, in part an evocation, in part a continuation of his teachings, is a fitting tribute to a man whose wisdom enlightened a generation.” Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks