“Jewish unity exists as an idea. Why then should it not exist as a fact?”
“Recent history – the Holocaust, and the sense of involvement that most Jewish throughout the world feel in the fate of Israel – has convinced us that the Jewish destiny is indivisible. We are implicated in the fate of one another. That is the substantive content of our current sense of unity. But it is a unity imposed, as it were, from outside. Neither anti-Semitism nor anti-Zionism, we believe, makes distinctions between Jews. Hence our collective vigilance, activity, and concern. But from within, in terms of its own self-understanding, the Jewish people evinces no answering solidarity. External crisis unites Jews; internal belief divides.”
“If unity is to be a value it cannot be one that is sustained by the hostility of others alone.”
“Jewish unity is a cause that is not advanced by the advocacy of one point of view over another. It demands the difficult but not impossible exercise of thinking non-adjectivally as a Jew: not as a member of this or that group, but as a member of an indivisible people.”
“The problem that threatens to render all contemporary Jewish thought systematically divisive is not the absence, but paradoxically, the presence, of a shared language. Jews use the same words but mean profoundly different things by them... Jews are, to use Bernard Shaw’s phrase, divided by a common language.”
“Almost all Jewish groups in Israel and the diaspora express a commitment to Jewish survival, peoplehood, and unity. But the interpretation of those concepts different systematically from group to group.”
“For some Orthodoxy thinkers, the division of the Jewish people into Orthodoxy and others, deeply tragic though it is, does not sanction the pursuit of unity at the cost of other values. Creating unity in the short term, if it involved abandoning covenantal imperatives that traditionally constituted Jewish peoplehood, would be both impossible and undesirable: impossible because it would mean abandoning values that are non-negotiable, undesirable because pluralism might result in greater disunity in the long term.”
“Unity is undeniably a Jewish value, but not necessarily and in all circumstances a supreme and overriding one.”
“Today’s Jewry is both uncompromisingly divided and unprecedentedly united: divided by religious difference, but united by a powerful sense – reinforced by the Holocaust and the State of Israel – of a shared history, fate, and responsibility.”
“This is the paradox. In their own land, the place where every other nation is to some degree united, Jews were split beyond repair. In dispersion, where every other nation has assimilated and disappeared, they remained distinctive and, in essentials at least, united. There is something surpassingly strange about Jewish peoplehood.”