A Quantum Leap: Jews from Afar Off
10 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2012 Last revised: 24 Jan 2012
Date Written: January 21, 2012
On May 25, 2075, during my final year at Cal State Megaversity, I was lucky enough to be granted an opportunity of getting a first hand look at two distinct periods in Jewish history. Our school had recently purchased two more “Quantum Leaper” time machines to add to an already sizable inventory. With this in mind Dr. Shaffer, Professor of Jewish Studies, decided to take advantage of her influence with the College of Post-Einsteinian Science, and acquired the use of several Quantum Leaper time machines for us to use in connection to our final assignment before graduation. Our exam specifically directed us to travel on the Quantum Leaper back into time, selecting two periods in American history from which to examine. From each period our mission was to interview a number of American Jews in order to determine a general portrait regarding the faith, religion, identity, family life, value and their relationships relative to this study for all American Jews living in the chosen period of inquiry. The dates I chose to survey were 1985 and 1955. My goal was to get a hands-on understanding of Jewish values, their similarities and their differences, while also comparing them to the impressions I had already acquired through my historical journey of Judaism.
I began my investigation by first compiling ten questions that would give me the most complete picture of Jewish thought relative to my own historical interest in Judaism. I specifically asked Jews from both time periods the same questions: 1) What is the message implicit in the Torah? 2) What does it mean to be a Jew? 3) What religious traditions do you practice? 4) If you are a good Jew, does that also mean you believe in God? If you don’t have to believe in God to be a good Jew, why not? 5) In the Jewish family, what is the role of the father? The mother? 6) How would you characterize your relationship with non-Jews? 7) Is the history and the legacy of your people important to you, and if so, why? 8) How would you characterize your relationship to God? 9) How do the values of the gentile appear differently from the values of the Jew? 10) As a Jew, what is the most important fact to remember?
Though I would have liked to ask additional questions, I was reluctant to do so as a result of other pressing time considerations. Thus, I had to live with the answers I received from these ten questions.
I was able to interview a total of 30 American Jews: fifteen from each period. Though the rules of statistics require 30 random subjects for each experiment in order to make an intelligent inference about a particular population, I decided that for this assignment a total of 30 would be enough.
One of the more striking results that shaped my impression of Jews and their thoughts came from two of the fifteen subjects I interviewed in 1985. The first was a female. Her answer to the question: “What is the message implicit in the Torah”?
Keywords: Jews, History, gentiles, religion
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