The Jewish Activism Reading Group
Our fourth session takes place Tuesday, January 21st at 18:30 at the JVB Salon.
The Revolution of the Everyday:
Revolution and Activism in Martin Buber's
Yemima Hadad, a doctoral candidate at the School of Jewish Theology at the University of Potsdam and research fellow at the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes, will lead the discussion, held in English.
Many of the leading figures in the November Revolution of 1918 were German-Jewish socialists: Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht, Kurt Eisner, and Gustav Landauer. Although he did not take an active role, Martin Buber (1878-1965) admired the bravery of the Jewish revolutionaries, whom he eulogized after their tragic murders by reactionary government forces. Nonetheless, later in his life, he offered a critique of revolution, touching upon his theological concerns. In
this session, we will study Martin Buber’s critique of the modern revolution and view it in the context of activism, prophecy, and tikkun olam (repair of the world).
Suggested reading for the fourth session of the Jewish Activism Reading Group:
Martin Buber, “Die Revolution und Wir,” (Der Jude, Eine Monatsschrift, Dritter Jahrgang 1918 / 1919, Heft 8/9, S. 345-47;http://sammlungen.ub.uni-frankfurt.de/cm/periodical/titleinfo/3103696)
Please e-mail Olivia at to register. And keep an eye out for our fifth installment coming this March!
21.12.20, 18:30 - 20:30
Turmstraße 10, 10559 Berlin
The Jewish Activism Reading Group, a project of the Jewish Activism Summer School, aims to educate Jews and others in the past, present and future of (Jewish) activism, also known as tikkun ha-olam (repair of the world) and to provide participants with skills, tools and tactical models for effective change-making and awareness of current thinking regarding activism.
The prooftexts urging us to understand that activism is necessary are many:
Said Hillel the elder: “If not now, when?! If I am not for myself, who will be for me?! If I am for myself alone, what am I?!” (Pirke Avot, 1:14)
“If the misery of our poor be caused not by laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” (Charles Darwin)
“Shimon, [Rabban Gamliel’s] son, says, ‘Study [of Torah] is not what is essential, but acting [based on Torah]’” (Pirke Avot 1:17)
“Rabbi Tarfon taught: ‘It is not your responsibility to finish the work, but neither are you free to desist from it’” (Pirke Avot, 2:16)
“Rabbi Yochanan son of Zakkai taught: ‘If you have a sapling in your hand and someone tells you the Messiah has arrived, first plant the sapling and then go out to welcome the Messiah’” (Avot d’Rabbi Natan)
“Philanthropy is no doubt commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice that make philanthropy necessary” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
“When I feed the poor, they call me a saint,” Hélder Câmara, the Brazilian archbishop, once said. “But when I ask why so many people are poor, they call me a communist.”