On the Longing for Zion

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“One of the key mythical ideas related to Israel is the notion of ‘longing.’ Historically, the Jewish People longed to return to Zion, and wrote lovingly about it in a whole host of Jewish texts. But what does it mean today, to long for a State that actually exists? Longing is a critical idea in Judaism – without it, there may be room to seek our physical survival, but Judaism as a whole is condemned…The point of the Jewish People’s existence is to do something, and longing for redemption is part of the driving force that encourages this.”

Philosopher’s retreat, New-York, September 2003

 

What is the place of “longing” in Jewish life? What are the subject matters for which we long? What role does ”longing for Zion” have in the world in which a Jewish State exists? And can we — North American Jews — long for a (collective) home away from (our personal) home? These questions and other will be the focus of this session.

 

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