One People? is the first book-length study of the major problem confronting the Jewish future: the availability or otherwise of a way of mending the schisms between Reform and Orthodox Judaism, between religious and secular Jews in Israel, and between Israel itself and the diaspora-all of which have been deepened by the fierce and continuing controversy over the question of ‘who is a Jew?’
One People? is a study of the background to this and related controversies. It traces the fragmentation of Jewry in the wake of the Enlightenment, the variety of Orthodox responses to these challenges, and the resources of Jewish tradition for handling diversity. Having set out the background to the intractability of the problems, it ends by examining the possibilities within Jewish thought that might make for convergence and reconciliation. The Chief Rabbi employs a variety of disciplines-history, sociology, theology, and halakhic jurisprudence-to clarify a subject in which these dimensions are inextricably interwoven. He also explores key issues such as the underlying philosophy of Jewish law, and the nature of the collision between tradition and modern consciousness.
Written for the general reader as much as the academic one, this is a lucid and thought-provoking presentation of the dilemmas of Jewish Orthodoxy in modernity.
‘Sacks has confronted the questions which most profoundly trouble contemporary Jewish existence. His book redraws the conceptual field in which the arguments will continue even if it is unlikely to end them. This is no small contribution.’ Michael Gillis, Jewish Quarterly ‘A tour de force. Brilliantly documented and skilfully presented . . . essential reading for all who wish to establish the basis for a constructive dialogue between the various religious sections in Jewry.’ Sidney Brichto, Jewish Chronicle ‘His analysis of contemporary orthodoxy . . . is recommended, especially for non-traditional or secular Jews who wish better to understand an observant Jew’s perspective on the diverse Judaisms of modernity.’ A. J. Avery-Peck, Choice