Israel and Jewish Identity

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5 Responses

  1. Tuvia says:

    I think Jewish continuity turns into guilt for many. For those who view it positively – they scarcely need worrying about.

    If you believe Torah is divine – there is no question. So many Jews today will not consider Torah divine – so there is no real good answer.

    Kiruv is a still pretty new idea – and it is evolving. Aish used to spend a lot of effort on proving the divinity of Torah. I don’t know how much they do that now – most of the proofs seem deeply flawed, and thanks to the internet, people can really explore these proofs in detail.

    The other angle they took at Aish is trying to show that an Orthodox life was a better quality life.

    All of this works for some young people. I just don’t believe the majority of young Jews today will agree with the idea that Orthodoxy is actually better.

    I heard somewhere that about three thousand people a year did t’chuvah (maybe this is for the US only?) These folks become Orthodox and probably have larger families. If others at Aish develop a Jewish identity but have 1.3 children – that won’t work as a replacement number.

    I suppose the question in this day and age – when intermarried couples feel comfortable, when identifying as a Jew (ethnically) seems kind of old-fashioned – is still: why be Jewish?

    I think the Jewish community has to furnish an answer that is not about G-d, the Holocaust, or guilt if it wants to retain the majority of Jews today.

    Tuvia

  2. Dovid says:

    Very insightful and thought-provoking post, yasher koach.

    Rav Amital zt”l often noted that the American Conservative and Reform movements should be given credit for maintaining Jewish identity among their constituents. Ein hachi nami, Reform was founded to bring Jews away from traditional Judaism. But now, the function they serve is to maintain at least a semblance of Jewish identity, which, as Rabbi Rosenblum noted, is a very important achievement. Obviously this does not make them legitimate voices of Torah by any means, but we must give credit where credit is due.

  3. lacosta says:

    i remember the principal in an MO high school during 73 war echoing, that were RBSO to take down the medina it would have devastating impact on the 90% of non-frum jews left in the world and therefore he didnt believe it could happen…

    now, today, we live in a world where presumably a large percent of under 40 yr old jews are either disconnected from Israel or are pro-palestine ; in addition , the haredi community purports to be non- or anti- zionist [ they would unquestionably mourn the loss of life; but would shed no tear over the demise of a halachically assur entity]. so today, i am not so sure that principal could express the same opinion….

  4. meyer apfeldorf says:

    yaasher kochacha, translate it into yiddish …

  5. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Tuvia: I think the Jewish community has to furnish an answer that is not about G-d, the Holocaust, or guilt if it wants to retain the majority of Jews today.

    Ori: I agree about the Holocaust and guilt. Neither sadness, nor anger, nor guilt are appealing. But if the answer is not about G-d, then what is it about? Community? Our gentile neighbors are happy to have us as part of their communities these days.

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