Faith: The Jews’ improbable divider

The religious electromagnetism that once connected distant Jewish communities is gone.

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June 13, 2018 14:23
A secular woman cycles in downtown Jerusalem, alongside ultra-Orthodox pedestrians

A secular woman cycles in downtown Jerusalem, alongside ultra-Orthodox pedestrians. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

“OUR NATION is not a nation except in its Torahs,” wrote medieval sage Saadia Gaon, referring to the Pentateuch, Mishna and Talmud.

Just what the concept “nation” meant to the philosopher and exegete who died in 942 CE, ages before the rise of the modern nation, is not fully clear, but what he meant to say was that even while the Jews lacked a common land, government and language, they were united by their common faith.

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