German Jews assimilated the cultural values of Germany but were not themselves assimilated into German society, Mendes-Flohr contends. Yet, by virtue of their adoption of values sponsored by enlightened German discourse, they were no longer unambiguously Jewish. The author discusses how their identity and cultural loyalty became fractured and how German Jews -- dike other Jews and indeed like all denizens of the modern world -- were obliged to confront the challenges of living with plural identities and cultural affiliations.
Paul Mendes-Flohr is professor of Jewish thought and an associate of the Franz Rosenzweig Center for German-Jewish Literature and Cultural History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of A Land of Two Peoples, From Mysticism to Dialogue, and Divided Passions and coauthor with Jehuda Reinharz of The Jew in the Modern World.