Martyrdom and Mission

German Jewish Rejections of Zionism

Dr. Leora Batnitzky

Despite their different philosophical, theological, and political commitments, Hermann Cohen and Franz Rosenzweig both recoiled at the Zionist quest for Jewish power, arguing that Judaism's and the Jewish people's mission to the nations required an acceptance (though not a valorization) of the inevitability of Jewish suffering and potential martyrdom at the hands of the nations of the world. This session will explore the context and content of Cohen and Rosenzweig's arguments, their respective appropriations of Maimonides and Yehudah Halevi in making their claims, as well as what it means to consider early twentieth century German Jewish arguments after the Holocaust. This class was taught at the Avi Schaeffer Fund Symposium 2014.