This website has one primary purpose – to help stop and hopefully reverse the attrition of Jews from the American Jewish community. Many others are trying to do this too; some are trying to make Jewish prayer services more interesting and others are focused on improving Jewish education.
Those are laudable efforts that I agree with. However, those efforts only reach those who are actively in the Jewish community at the present time. So many of our numbers are not in the Jewish community, never go to prayer services and never attend Jewish educational classes. In other words, current efforts are like preaching to the choir and not connecting at all to everyone else.
So how do we reach them?
My hope is to reach them through the books I am and will be writing. Perhaps this website will also help. I hope so. I start from one basic assumption: If you have a product and it is not selling, you either have to change the buyers or you have to change the product. Read more »
The government of Israel has taken steps to open the Wailing Wall to women and Conservative and Reform Jews. This is expected to be in full effect in two to three years. Some construction has to be done to make a place where these groups can meet and pray at the Wall.
Prior to this, only Orthodox men were allowed to pray at the Wall.
This is a real breakthrough in ending the monopoly of the Orthodox on everything religious in Israel. And it came despite the current government having Orthodox groups in its narrow coalition. Other reforms have been rolled back by this government, but apparently it couldn’t resist the efforts of non-Orthodox groups to change the access rules. Particularly active was Women of the Wall, a group that kept going to the Wall to pray and kept getting arrested for their efforts. Much thanks goes to Natan Scharansky who has been working on a compromise for the past three years.
The Orthodox still have a monopoly on marriage, divorce, defining who is a Jew, and other domestic civil matters. We live in hope that one day their monopoly on these areas will be changed as well.
The rabbinical seminary of American Judaism’s smallest mainstream denomination will become the first major rabbinical school in the United States to admit and ordain rabbinical students who have non-Jewish spouses and partners.
The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, which made its announcement September 30, has been debating the issue for years. Some leaders of Reconstructionist congregations had said they might leave the movement over the change.
“The issue of Jews intermarrying is no longer something we want to police,” said Rabbi Deborah Waxman, RRC’s president, in a press release. Read more »
Although it is usually not my purpose here to get involved in current political issues, I read a commentary in the “Chicago Jewish News” by its editor Joseph Aaron, that I think people should see. The Jewish community is divided on whether the Iran agreement is the best achievable deal or the “historically bad deal” proclaimed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu.
Despite the divide, for which I’ve seen figures giving each side the majority, most of the articles and comments I’ve seen have been against the agreement. This is an exerpt from a commentary (July 31, 2015) that is for the agreement. I personally have mixed feelings about the agreement. Part of me is in favor and part of me hopes it will be rejected. I’ll give my reasoning after the article. In any case, I think it is important for Jews and others to hear an argument for the agreement to balance out the discussions. Read more »
In a letter to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, a woman used the term “Orthodox Judaism”.
In his response, the Rebbe wrote:
“I must point out to you the splitting Judaism into orthodox, conservative, and reform is a purely artificial division, for all Jews share one and the same Torah given by the One and same G-d. While there are more observant Jews and less observant ones, to tack on a label does not change the reality that we are all one.”
I totally agree. Would that the other “Orthodox” movements feel the same as the Rebbe and the Lubavitchers. We Jews are a small group, and its a shonda for us to fight with each other like we often do. We can disagree about things, and practice differently, but we are all God’s Jews and in the same family, descendants of Abraham and Sarah, and we should act like it.
By Steven L. Pease in aish.com, June 13, 2015
As a non-Jew, I’m fascinated that a people which constitute less than 1% of the world’s population has made such enormous contributions to humanity.
Jews have been part of my life in kindergarten, at Harvard Business School, and throughout my professional career. It was from those experiences that I developed the notion that Jews are the world’s most disproportionate high achievers.
A decade ago I began intensive research to test out the hypothesis. Now, after writing The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement, speaking on the subject, being interviewed on radio and TV, and soliciting criticisms and arguments to disprove the statement, I have come to believe it is simply true.
As a non-Jew, I am fascinated by the fact that a people which constitute 2/10ths of 1 percent of the world’s population and 2 percent of the U.S. population, has made such enormous contributions to the betterment of humanity. Read more »
Raising a child Jewish is not a problem for Orthodox parents because everything they do and model has Jewish content to it.
But what if you are a secular Jew, and more especially, what if you are a secular Jew married to a non-Jew? How do you establish a feeling of Jewishness in your children?
I. Start with God
What distinguished Judaism in the beginning, what has always distinguished Judaism from other religions, is a belief in a one God, a moral God, Who has made man in His own image, and wants a world full of righteousness and kindness and compassion.
We teach that God is invisible, that He is everywhere, and that He sees all and knows all and is available to us through prayer and conversation. We can talk to God, and sometimes He talks to us. How He talks to us varies from person to person. If you look for Him and listen for Him, you will discover how He talks to you. Read more »
More Jews Leaving Faith Than Joining Tribe
In 20 years, there will be more Muslims in North America than Jews, according to a new Pew Research Center report. The report, which was released April 2, 2015, also found that more American Jews are leaving Judaism than non-Jews are joining the Jewish people.
According to “The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050,” Muslims will overtake Christians in the last quarter of the 21st century as the globe’s largest religious group. In the United States, Muslims will comprise 2.1 percent of the population in 2050, up from 0.9 percent in 2010. Jews, meanwhile, will fall to 1.4 percent of the U.S. population from 1.8 percent in 2010.
The Pew study also offered a detailed look at the sizes of national Jewish communities around the world, how fast the communities are expected to shrink or grow, and Jewish fertility rates. Read more »