|The Story of Einstein's Last Lecture in Berlin as it appeared in the Jewish Spectator, 1979.|
Friday, April 29, 2011
Berlin and Rabbinic Studies
Two and a half centuries ago, a hunchback Talmud Scholar, Moses Mendelssohn, made his way from his native town of Dessau to follow his teacher in Berlin. The young Mendelssohn soon became one of the foremost philosopher’s of his day, the inspiration for the opening of German society to Jews, and the opening of Jews to German thought. His teachings were the foundation of what became the Jewish Enlightenment, the Haskalah.
Berlin would continue to be the magnet for the great figures of modern Jewish history and the German “Kulturkreise”, Sphere of Cultural Influence, would give rise to a marvelous symbiosis between Judaism and modernity. Looking backwards from the post-Holocaust future, this is almost impossible to imagine.
In the 20th century, in the aftermath of World War II, the movement of seminal Jewish figures to Berlin would continue. It would serve as the meeting ground between the world of classic Jewish tradition and modernity.