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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/321

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THE JEWS IN EUROPE.

ites have given up many of their traditional prejudices and customs, and come nearer the Christians in manners and ways of thinking.

At the present time, Germany is the bearer and foster-father of the spiritual life of Judaism, as in earlier times (and in the order stated) were Spain, Southern and Northern France, and then Holland. The German Israelites lead those of the rest of the world, because of the language they use; they alone, too, have a religious and theological literature of their own, to which their brethren in other countries resort for instruction in spiritual things. And hence it may be justly asserted that the influence of German ways of thinking is stronger than any other one thing among the Jews to-day, and it extends even to North America.

Among civilized peoples with a distinctive moral and intellectual life, the Jew residing in their midst thinks with the bulk of the nation. The German Jew thinks about all questions of spiritual and social life in an essentially German manner, which was far from being the case in the preceding century; and since our culture and civilization have come out of Christianity and have a Christian coloring, the Jew, however disinclined he may be to Christian views, can not help thinking and acting about many things, whether consciously or unconsciously, in a Christian way. So, for example, in regard to marriage, which is regarded by the Jews no longer from the Old Testament point of view, but from the Christian. And the same may be said of the British and French Israelites; they think and feel as the great nation thinks and feels in whose midst they live.

Altogether too long has the false and detestable view ruled in the world that we are called upon to avenge, generation after generation, the sins and mistakes of the fathers upon their guiltless descendants. It is a view which has covered Europe with a multitude of cruel and shameful deeds, the thought of which causes us to shudder and avert our faces. Woe to us and our posterity if such a law of revenge is ever applied to the descendants of the Germans, Frenchmen, Spaniards, and Englishmen of the middle ages! But there is one thing which the self-styled anti-Semitic agitation of to-day should not forget, viz., that hate and contempt are feelings bitter and of no comfort to him who cherishes them, and painful and exasperating to those against whom they are directed. A sad thing it is when (to use a Scriptural expression),

"Deep calleth unto deep."

Rather let the saying of Sophocles's "Antigone" be and remain our motto:

"My nature leads to sharing love, not hate"