In the late 1800s as the effects of Napoleon’s armies were felt across Europe, and the boundaries set in place by the non-Jewish population fell, Jews suddenly had a choice. Would Jews react to this newly found freedom by embracing it, or rejecting it. Would we chose to move to Israel, or work to make our own countries better places for all? How can we be good countrymen to our non-Jewish neighbors and good Jews? To explore these issues that were relevant at the founding of the Reform movement, Zionist movement, Jewish Socialist movements, and the Orthodox movement in Judaism, we had different student groups represent these different movements and try to convince others that they should vote for their cause. In the end, the class voted for a universalist /Reform Jewish perspective.
We then discussed a choice that was left out of the above discussion which many of our ancestors made: to move to North America, and how the different waves of Jewish immigration to these shores has shaped Holy Blossom Temple’s Judaism of today.