1) Read the following quotation and then answer the question following it.
“I regard anti-Semitism as ineradicable and as one element of
the toxin with which religion has infected us. Perhaps partly for this
reason, I have never been able to see Zionism as a cure for it. American
and British and French Jews have told me with perfect sincerity that
they are always prepared for the day when ‘it happens again and the
Jew-baiters take over. (And I don’t pretend to know what they are
talking about: I have actually seen the rabid phenomenon at work in
modern and sunny Argentina and am unable to forget it.) So then, they
seem to think, they will take refuge in the Law of Return, and in Haifa,
or for all I know in Hebron. Never mind for now that if all of world
Jewry did settle in Palestine, this would actually
necessitate further Israeli expansion, expulsion, and colonization and
that their departure under these apocalyptic conditions would leave the
new brown shirts and backshifts in possession of the French and British
and American nuclear arsenals. This is ghetto thinking, hardly even
fractionally updated to take into account what has changed. The
important but delayed realization will have to come: Israeli Jews are a part of the
diaspora, not a group that has escaped from it. Why else does Israel
daily beseech the often-flourishing Jews of other lands, urging them to
help the most endangered Jews of all: the ones who rule Palestine by
force of arms? Why else, having supposedly escaped from the need to rely
on Gentile goodwill, has Israel come to depend more and more upon it?
On this reckoning, Zionism must constitute one of the greatest potential
nonsequiturs An inference or conclusion that does not follow from the premises or evidence) in human history.”
― Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir (Links to an external site.)
What is the main point that Hitchens makes about anti-Semitism? Do
you agree with him? Why or why not? Is the State of Israel capable of
being the savior of the Jews? Why or why not?
2) World War II was a dramatic turning point in American Jewish
history. Explain how and why American Jewish life was so different in
the period before the war and the period after the war (from 1945 on).
How did these shifts ultimately change the central issues of concern to
American Jews? In discussing these changes and their impact, be sure to
consider all the various dimensions of Jewish life we have discussed:
religious, economic, political, and cultural.
3) Arthur Morse in his famous book, WHILE SIX MILLION DIED,
takes the American government under President Franklin D. Roosevelt to
task for actually obstructing attempts to save the Jews in Europe from
Hitler’s Final Solution. Defenders of President Roosevelt argue that he
believed the only way to save the Jews, in the long run, was to defeat
Germany militarily and short-term solutions such as bombing Auschwitz
wouldn’t stop the carnage. Do you agree with FDR or with Morse?
Explain your answer.
4) In what way did the Leo Frank case serve as a
turning point in American Jewish history? Have American Jews learned
the lesson from Leo Frank? Explain your answer.
5) What do you feel are the 3 most serious challenges facing American Jews today? Explain your answer.

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