The Jewish people have gone through three major catastrophes, out of which new forms of Judaism have emerged.
Out of the first catastrophe, the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BC, emerged Ezra and Nehemiah who established the Great Assembly (Sanhedrin) to take the place of the absent prophets. The Sanhedrin developed a religion based around the Oral Law.
From the second catastrophe, the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD, came the familiar synagogue-centric Judaism that took the place of the former, irrecoverable Temple-centric religion. The third catastrophe, the Holocaust, presents Jews once again with the challenge of building a new Jewish world upon the ashes of the former.
The most pressing challenge is recovering a faith that was severely damaged by what has been perceived as God’s silence during the fateful years of the Holocaust. The other hurdle is the need to “update” Judaism in a way that it maintains its intrinsic values in a modern world loaded with new technologies and ideologies, many of which are seen as standing in direct opposition to the Jewish religion.
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