Trying to curry favor with rest of the world, assimilated Jews brag about Jewish achievements that benefited others. That is nonsense. Classical Roman authors disparaged Jews for being useless citizens of the world. Despite the idea that “Plato is nothing but Moses speaking Greek,” realistically Jewish input toward the ancient world’s knowledge in next to nil.

In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, only baptized Jews exerted appreciable influence on gentile thought. In our times, the scores of scientists and artists of Jewish origin are not Jews to practical purposes: they do not lead Jewish lives and their grandchildren are usually not Jewish. The wave of Jewish participation in science and art declines as the developing nations increase their share.

Most nations have proved intellectually futile on a grand scale. Latin Americans, Ukrainians, and Swedes have introduced very little knowledge to the world’s pool. Germany, the model of intellectual activity, seethed with it for only about a century. Ancient Rome and modern Britain were intellectually active for two or three centuries, and Ancient Greece for just a bit longer.

Jews enjoyed their religion and themselves while the ancient authors derided them for intellectual emptiness, as having given nothing to the world. And why should we? We owe the world nothing. Our fiduciary obligation is to God, rather than to other nations. We lead the way of life he prescribed. Incidentally, that’s also the most ethical and politically sensible mode of living, and it offers a fine example to the rest of the world. But we’re equally proud of what they see as barbarisms: exterminating the Amalek, the mass murder of Jew-haters in the Persian Empire after Purim, conquering Canaan, bringing the foul-smelling sacrifices in the Temple, and meticulously observing Sabbath.

We need not prove ourselves before the world, but before its maker.