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By Marla Morris (auth.)

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Against the backdrop of antiSemitism, Buber must have felt alienated and isolated as a child. For Jewish children, the issue of school prayer is not to be taken lightly. What Buber experienced as a school child is not that much different from what many Jewish children in public schools in America confront today, especially in the South where school prayer is prevalent. How is a Jewish child supposed to feel when Gentile children break out in prayer? Why is it that the Christian right cannot see the problem here?

Benjamin, of course, turned to cafe life in Paris and other interesting sites like arcades, tattoo parlors, and circuses to study popular culture. Benjamin’s university was the street. Benjamin became an important cultural critic and one of the most interesting cultural studies writers of the twentieth century. But today being an independent scholar—like Benjamin—who is not housed in a university is simply not financially possible, unless one is wealthy. One simply cannot make a living from scholarly treatises; scholars need the university for financial support.

Said nothing when hundreds of Jews were massacred on the eastern front and in Croatia. He had remained silent when hundreds of thousands more were seized in Catholic Slovakia, Poland, France and Belgium, as well as in Protestant countries, in 1942 and 1943. He was supposed to be a moral spokesman for all people. (p. 168) I have dealt in depth with religious anti-Semitism elsewhere (Morris, 2001), but for now it is enough to state the fact that most European Catholics and Protestants were anti-Semitic.

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