Jews and the Left Reconsidered

Jews and the Left Reconsidered – Lecture by Jack Jacobs
Louis and Helen Padnos Visiting Professor in Judaic Studies
November 13, 2016

10:00 AM, Temple Emanuel,
1715 East Fulton, Grand Rapids, MI

Jews played highly visible roles over an extended period of time, in the leadership of leftist movements and, in the first half of the twentieth century, were also evident in the rank-and-file of specific left- wing political parties. At the present point in time, however, left-wing ideas no longer hold the same degree of attraction for Jews as they did seventy- five years ago. The intent of this talk will be both to explore why there were so many Jews sympathetic to left-wing causes in the past, and the reasons underlying changes in Jewish political opinion. The relationship of Jews to the left, Jacobs argues, was historically contingent, and cannot be explained, as others would have it, either by the purported characteristics of Jews or by the impact of Jewish religious ideas.