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The Jews

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The Jews

Enlightenment: Signals end of middle ages and beginning of modernity- main concept is the rights of the individual- regardless of class, family, and religion- everyone is created equally under God- emphasis on rationalism- rational approach to politics and religion- began to have a more secular thinking using logic- allowed Jews to stand alongside Christians and have the same rights-

court Jews: were select Jewish individuals who had close business ties with kings- enjoyed rights and privileges as Christians- still most Jews lived in ghettos

Ghetto: internal and external- internal- Jews wanted to live closer together because of kosher and shabbat- tradition- external- Christians built walls to separate- hence ghetto Christians did not want Jews to live with them-

Haskalah: the Jewish Enlightenment, was a movement among European Jews in the late 18th century that advocated adopting enlightenment values, pressing for better integration into European society, and increasing education in secular studies, Hebrew, and Jewish history. the first Jewish political movements and the struggle for Jewish emancipation. The term is sometimes used to describe modern critical study of Jewish religious books, such as the Mishnah and Talmud, when used to differentiate these modern modes of study from the methods used by Orthodox Jews. Language played a key role in the haskalah movement, as Mendelssohn and others called for a revival in Hebrew and a reduction in the use of Yiddish. Haskalah resulted in an increased rate of assimilation, as Jews known as maskilim became estranged from their traditional religious beliefs. Haskalah produced such groups as the Reform movement, which deviated from traditional Judaism with denial of Divine source of Torah and relaxation of Jewish law.

The Jew: by Lessing: saves a life of a baron and did not want an award; proves Jew's enlightenment, response was negative because the truth about Jews was not recognized; people thought it was unrealistic because Jews were not that wise

Nathan the Wise- by Lessing- based on Mendelssohn's life- Set in Jerusalem during the Third Crusade, it describes how the wise Jewish merchant Nathan, the enlightened sultan Saladin and the (initially anonymous) Templar bridge their gaps between Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The centerpiece of the work is the ring parable, narrated by Nathan when asked by Saladin which religion is true: An heirloom ring with the magical ability to render its owner pleasant in the eyes of God and mankind had been passed from father to the son he loved most. When it came to a father of three sons whom he loved equally, he promised it (in "pious weakness") to each of them. Looking for a way to keep his promise, he had two replicas made, which were indistinguishable from the original, and gave on his deathbed a ring to each of them. The brothers quarrelled over who owned the real ring. A wise judge admonished them that it was up to them to live such that their ring's powers proved true. Nathan compares this to religion, saying that each of us lives by the religion we have learned from those we respect.

Moses Mendelssohn: father of haskalah; first modern Jew, not court Jew; not working with the king; born in the ghetto; how is he so wise? He translated the Hebrew bible into German- attributable the renaissance of European Jews, Haskalah, the Jewish enlightenment. When he went to Berlin, he encountered court jews and thus he taught himself German and French and came into contact with Latin ideas. Became Christian manager to business owner- he wanted to assimilate but keep tradition- felt it was important for Jews to learn about non Jewish topics- most Jews did not want change because they could stick together and keep kosher- felt it was possible to assimilate and keep jewish identity- To others, like Rabbi Dessaw he was a step into the beginning of assimilation and loss of identity for Jews and the dilution of traditional Judaism.

French Revolution:

Jews in France: there was a ghetto wall built; but Napoleon comes into power and knocks down these walls; give rights to individuals, not groups/ 1790- Jewish group is granted emancipation because the French national assembly/ weren't speaking yiddish but french; granted equality- border of Germany Jews were not emancipated- eastern Europe jews were stuck in ghettos- but a year later in 1791- Jews in France made equal citizens

Declaration of Rights of Man: declaration of independence based on that; fundamental documents of the French Revolution, defining a set of individual rights and collective rights of the people. The Declaration was adopted August 26, 1789, by the National Constituent Assembly, as the first step toward writing a constitution. It sets forth fundamental rights not only of French citizens but acknowledges these rights to all men

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