“It may be that a specific person, many people, and even the greater part of the nation will try to escape from its inner essence, to deny it, or to exchange it – entirely or partially – for other purposes and values.
Yet every such attempt at escape and denial, even if it actually succeeds, is a failure from the inner viewpoint.
It is a denial not only of the past, of the heritage, or the national duty, however confused it may be, but an escape from the person’s essential nature.
The changes that are made by everyone are merely masks, disguises, imitations – the exchange of the essential me for other identities.
This escape may be successful externally, but it is really a kind of suicide, a denial of the main essence, an escape from the true self.”
From “What Is Our Role in the World?” p. 152, in We Jews: Who Are We and What Should We Do? by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz