Sholem Asch, 1880-1957

Sholem Asch, was a Yiddish Jewish novelist in the first half of the 20th century. He seems to have taken a liking to Christianity and even wrote books about not only Jesus, but St. Paul and St. Mary as well. He said, “For me it [Judaism and Christianity] is one culture and one civilization, on which all our peace, our security and our freedom are dependent.” He was criticized sharply for this by Jews in Europe (not surprisingly, given that he wrote in the 1930s and 1940s), but American Jews defended him. For his part, Asch said he was always a Jew trying to understand the Jewish spirit. His book One Destiny, a irenic book addressed to Christians, opens quite movingly:

In the young manhood of our people when it was imbued with lusty shepherd strength, our fathers, rocking in the humps of their camels across the desert, saw the stars in the sky. The stars became transparent windows, and they saw the Almighty of all the universe, and they fell on their faces before Him, stretched out their hands to Him and cried, “Thou art our God!”

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