The indispensable online magazine of Jewish life and thought, Mosaic, is featuring a spectacular contribution by our friend, the French journalist and president of the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Institute, Michel Gurfinkiel. Gurfinkiel offers a sweeping, compelling, and, yes, depressing assessment of the present condition and future prospects of European Jewry. It's an essay that deals eloquently and comprehensively with that topic--but also one that sheds light on the broadest and deepest challenges facing Western civilization.
Here's Gurfinkiel's conclusion:
Can it really be that European Jewry was reborn after the Holocaust only in order to die again? Can it be that, even as Jews, you only live twice? History, of course, is unpredictable except in retrospect. But it would be irresponsible in the extreme to brush off the possibility of demise; “unthinkable” is no longer a word in the Jewish vocabulary....
A mitigating view of today’s situation might have it that, at the very least, divine providence did beneficently afford to about two million European Jews a brief golden age, a true rebirth, which in turn brought fresh luster to European civilization as well as encouragement and inspiration to millions of their fellow Jews around the world, most especially in the Jewish state. True enough; but what is no less certain is that the end of European Jewry, a millennia-old civilization and a crowning achievement of the human spirit, will deliver a lasting blow to the collective psyche of the Jewish people. That it will also render a shattering judgment on the so-called European idea, exposed as a deadly travesty for anyone with eyes to see, is cold comfort indeed.
As they say, read the whole thing.