Describe and explain the important role ethical monotheism has in Jewish family life and how this belief system not only influences the way Jewish parents raise their children, but in fact influences the way other families and other cultures raise theirs.
One of the concerns experienced by Jews around the world is a growing fear that in a quest to rewrite history, that the actual story surrounding the Jewish Holocaust will be forgotten with fewer and fewer surviving family members alive to share their stories. Spend a few moments now to access and explore the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website. Based upon the information you have gathered from the website and your study of Judaism this week, highlight at least 3 important concepts you have discovered that are being implemented to keep the story of the Holocaust alive and why the religious study of Judaism is so important for learning how to overcome prejudices?
Respond (100 words+)
Professor and fellow classmates,
In high school, we had to read If This Is a Man by Primo Levi, and to this day, I remember the book so vividly in my mind. It is a difficult book to read but I recommend it to anyone that may be interested. It’s a memoir in which Levi is finding the human in every individual who traverses its pages, whether a prisoner or a guard. Levi, a 23-year old chemist, was arrested in December 1943 and transported to Auschwitz in February 1944. There he remained until the camp was liberated on 27 February 1945. In his memoir, he speaks of his experiences and relationships in the camp, shinning a light on the atrocities of the Holocaust. One way to educate people and to keep the story of the Holocaust alive is through books and in continuing to support historical museum such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) or the European Holocaust Memorial in Germany. On the USHMM, there is a page dedicated to survivor’s reflections and testimonies, which help educate and share the horrific things that happened to those taken prisoners at the camps. The testimonies explore what the survivors experienced during the Holocaust, and the impact it had on them. One particular initiative is Echoes of Memory, which provides survivors who volunteer at the Museum with a powerful outlet to share their experiences and memories in their own words (USHMM, 2020). Such program will help the new generations gain insight directly from those that personally lived it. A similar initiative is Behind Every Name a Story: it consists of essays describing the survivor’s experiences during the Holocaust, which can be directly written by survivors themselves of by family members. Another way to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive is to listen to survivors sharing their stories in person or by interview. The ID Cards system also work to educate and allow others to learn more about the experiences of men, women, and children whose lives were impacted by the Holocaust. The USSHMM website has an interactive platform providing details on what happened to the survivors. Yet another way to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive it to teach its history in school (which can be done using library resources, witness testimony, etc). I remember in high school, a survivor came to our school to share his experiences and how it is important to share this knowledge with future generations. The study of religious Judaism is important for learning how to overcome prejudices in many ways. First, it can help in reminding us that the consequences of acting based on biases and extreme feelings (e.g. hatred, racism, anti-Semitism, etc) often will results in devastating consequences. Second, the study of religious Judaism can shine a light on how other people attempted to rise against prejudices like racism, ethnic bigotry, and more (History, 2009). This can also highlight the issue of racism and human cruelty of today (LGBT, racial disparities, and more), and teach other that the cruelties of our past cannot happen again.
History. 2009. The Holocaust. In History. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/the-holocaust
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. 2020. Holocaust Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/id-card/…
Respond (100 words+)
In ethical monotheism, there are two main beliefs. The first is that there is one God who determines moral and ethical behavior for all of humanity (Prager). The second belief is that God demands people to behave ethically. This means that everyone is subject to the same judgment by God and that no one, no matter what social status or title, is above the ethical rules established by God. Ethical monotheism was first revealed in the Hebrew Bible (Prager). The Ten Commandments are the foundation of God’s ethical structure. They are also the rules for the Jewish way of life. The Torah teaches ethical and moral behavior, but it is the responsibility of Jewish parents to teach their children what is right and wrong. Parents must teach their children to honor them. God made male and female in the image of Adam and Eve, therefore both parents, mother and father, are to be honored equally (Neusner 87). Jewish parents also teach their children how to treat others.
Ethical monotheism influences how many families raise their children, not just Jewish families. Christianity also teaches that God determines ethical behavior and expects people to exhibit it. Even people that do not associate with a specific religious teach their children the same ethical rules define in Judaism. As someone who grew up in a non-religious family, I was raised similarly to Jewish and Christian children. My parents taught me that it is bad to murder, lie, steal, cheat, and disrespect my elders. One of the most important things I was taught was to treat others the way I want to be treated which is derived from “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18). There are many places in the world where people of different religions to live peacefully amongst each other. This allows people to adopt others’ parenting styles.
Neusner, Jacob. Judaism: the Basics, Routledge, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/apus/detail.action?docID=274478.
Prager, Denis. “Issues in Jewish Ethics: Ethical Monotheism.” Jewish Virtual Library, www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/ethical-monotheism.