Devaluing the Diaspora

Hillel Halkin's scorn for American Jewry.

The cover of the Pew Research Center's report on American Jewry.
The cover of the Pew Research Center's report on American Jewry.
Response
Nov. 6 2013
About the author

Allan Arkush is the senior contributing editor of the Jewish Review of Books and professor of Judaic studies and history at Binghamton University.


I didn’t need the experience of the last 36 years to be convinced that Hillel Halkin’s analysis in his 1977 book, Letters to an American Jewish Friend, was correct. I read the book almost immediately after it appeared and have been in substantial agreement with Halkin ever since, even though (for reasons he would apparently consider legitimate, if also lamentable), I didn’t follow him in emigrating from the United States to Israel. But that doesn’t prevent me from being a little irked when, prompted by his new essay in Mosaic, I turned back to re-read what he had to say then about the slowly vanishing Jewry of the Diaspora.

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More about: Diaspora, Hillel Halkin, Israel, Jewish identity, Letters to an American Jewish Friend