The Non-Jewish Individual Essay

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The Non-Jewish Individual Jewish history is a study of a people in exile. Since the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, the experience of the Jewish individual in relation to non-Jewish society has often been that of an outsider looking in. In addition, the distinct Jewish culture, religion, and philosophy identifiably marked the Jews as a separate people. Although this demarcation exposed the Jews to many negative ideological trends, Isaac Deutscher’s “The Non-Jewish Jew” argues that this marginalization enabled the great thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries to revolutionize the European continent. As the title suggests, the non-Jewish Jews were individuals that abandoned Judaism. Deutscher argues that the historical exclusion…show more content…
However, the two works relate because they both explore the experience of the outsider within modern society. “A Report to an Academy” follows a captured ape who decides to learn the conventions of his captors in order to gain his freedom. During the story, the ape transforms to become nearly human. The ape, after learning the language and customs of his captors was then able to criticize and think freely. However in doing so he also abandoned his cultural heritage, much like the Jews who abandoned Judaism. Like the ape, the Jews were forced to adopt the customs of their new civilizations to survive. The incorporation of the language, culture, and ideologies of the new civilizations by the Jews formed their respective experience. Likewise, the transition from ape to a near human is symbolic of the Jews and their relationship to society. The ape, reporting to an academy, becomes like the non-Jewish Jew observing the world around them and thus their stories are connected. Although there is not an explicit correlation between Kafka and Deutscher’s work, when read together, the parable of the ape exposes a series of flaws in Deutscher’s argument. Primarily, Deutscher’s supposition that the non-Jewish Jew is an independent critical figure dependent upon his marginalization fails to acknowledge the depth of their relationship with society. Deutscher asserts “Each of them was in society and

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