Greenberg Speaks Of Struggle

The only way to improve the human experience is through love, equality and freedom, Rabbi Irving Greenberg told an audience of about 150 at the Boylston Hall auditorium last night.

In a speech entitled "Life Against Death: Judaism after the Holocaust and the Rebirth of Israel," Greenberg depicted the Jewish faith as representative of humanity's quest for equality.

"Our struggle is something the whole world can learn from," Greenberg said.

Greenberg is the president and cofounder of the Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. He has also written a book titled The Jewish Way, published by Simon and Schuster in 1988.

In the past, Greenberg has refused to discuss the presence of a God in the aftermath of the Holocaust. Last night, however, he discussed the change in his pluralist mentality.


"You should not measure the world by a superficial surface," Greenberg said. "But if you look deeply...the presence of order sug- gests a precise given force."

The rabbi said that the "given force" might beGod. "There is an infinite source of goodness andlife called God," said Greenberg. "Humans aredeveloped to such a high form that they are likeGod."

Greenberg suggested infinite power,consciousness and the capacity for relationshipsas primary characteristics of God. He also saidthat these qualities are found in humans.

"We create love in the face of death, despair,risk and pain," Greenberg said.

The image of God has three essential qualitieswhich, Greenberg suggested, are intrinsic tohumanity: equality, a unique image and infinitevalue.

Greenberg said humanity needs to recognize itsvalues, by overcoming war, hunger and the evilsthat plague humanity.

"The task of humanity is to transform the worldjointly until the world becomes a paradise," saidGreenberg.

The first step to building humanity, said therabbi, is equality.

Greenberg touted Jews as leaders of the attemptto improve humanity. "The Jewish ideal is to belike other people, only more so," Greenberg said.

"Jewish people have a chance to be a light onto other nations. Life is stronger than death andlove is stronger than hatred," Greenberg said. "Weonly have to hope trust and have a mission toaccomplish."

Greenberg wove anecdotes into his speech. Inone story, the rabbi talked about a ceremony inwhich Napoleon called forth the three greatestfighters in his army--a German, a Pole and aJew--and granted them each a wish.

According to Greenberg, the German asked forthe unification of all German states. The Poleasked for the creation of a Polish state. But theJew asked for a schmaltz herring.

When asked about his decision, the Jew said,"I'll get my schmaltz herring. See what they get."

"You can perfect the world one schmaltz herringat a time," Green-berg wryly surmised