Episode Three: A Leap of Faith

Airs Tuesday, April 1, 8-9 p.m. (Check local listings)

Simon Schama explores the bright, hopeful moment when Enlightenment thinkers and revolutionary armies brought ghetto walls crashing down — allowing Jews to weave their wisdom, creativity and energies into the very fabric of modern life in Europe. One of the most of fruitful branches of this Jewish renaissance was in music, and the stellar careers of Giacomo Meyerbeer and Felix Mendelssohn established the enduring tradition for Jewish musical prodigies. However, the remarkably successful integration of Jewish talent into the mainstream of European culture and commerce stirred up the ghosts of ancient prejudice, decked out in the new clothes of romantic nationalism and the pseudo-science of anti-semitism. The road to the hell of the Holocaust was paved by the diatribes of Richard Wagner, while the trial of Alfred Dreyfus led Theodor Herzl to conclude that without a homeland of their own, Jews would never be free of the millennia-old persecution.

  • lyric9

    This was an utterly wonderful series. Simon Schama has done a great service to the world by having written his books and made this documentary filled with information.
    I’ve watched the entire series twice and found Episode Three to be the one that pulls the entire series together because it makes it plain why the Jewish homeland of Israel had to become a reality.

  • Michael Douglas Skewes

    This is all very good.I find myself surrounded more and more by anti semites which I don’t like. Being a mormon and a relative to joseph smith there are those few simalaritires we share but it seems that ignorence will always prevail and his toy remote itself unless everyone tries ,no, does read true accounts of history and learn from it.

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THE STORY OF THE JEWS IS A SERIES WRITTEN & PRESENTED BY SIMON SCHAMA BBC, THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC.