The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum
Atlanta's Jewish heritage And Holocaust Museum
During this period [1868-1919], many urban Germans ceased to engage in organized religious observances. For the educated classes, religion was replaced by an adherence to Bildungsreligion, or "cultured religion" that celebrated the values of the German Enlightenment: reason, skepticism, classical liberalism (e.g., representative government, free press, universal manhood suffrage), and high culture. Hence, for freethinking Jews, it was up to the individual to decide how often to go to synagogue, when one should fast, and to what extent Jewish dietary laws should be maintained. Many members of the working class became disillusioned with organized religion, believing it to be irrelevant to their everyday lives. Consequently, such individuals found fraternity and a sense of meaning by joining socialist, communist, or non-ideological trade union movements.