Questions About Jews’ Loyalty from the 19th Century to the 21st: Response to the Sklare Lecture
- 74 Downloads
Prof. Morton Weinfeld’s exceedingly thought-provoking Sklare lecture begins with Napoleon convening a group of Jewish notables in 1806 and inquiring whether they are really loyal to France, and ends (almost) with Mort himself asking a group of Jewish Canadian leaders whether, should Israel and Canada compete for the Olympic gold medal in soccer, they would root for Canada or for Israel, and why. Two questions about Jews’ loyalty to their country of residence—the first at one of the most momentous occasions in the history of Western European Jews’ fight for emancipation, the second a casual ice-breaker intended to relax the respondents at the beginning of their interviews. The Jews of Canada are not fighting for emancipation, they are speaking from positions of comfort in a society that has wholeheartedly accepted them.
But the casual question turned out to be anything but casual, in the minds of most of those asked. Many suffered consternation and discomfort; they refused to declare a...