Much of what is behind Jewlicious is a genuine and sincere concern for the future of the Jews. Despite our sometimes conflicting points of view, I would say this is what motivates us all here at Jewlicious – themiddle is working hard to assure a Jewish future for his children, laya wants a strong and vibrant Jewish world, esther also wants to do her part, grandmuffti loves them Jewish boobies and I apparently have a fetish for both frum chicks and strong Jewish women in uniform… but all kidding aside, this is as close a statement of principles as you can get vis-a-vis Jewlicious.
Thus it was with some resentment that I learnt of a secret conference held at Wye Plantation 2 weeks ago, that reunited “20 contemporary Jewish social leaders.” These Gedolim sat around and tried to figure out how they could influence the course of Jewish events so that our future could be rosy – so that Jews can continue to grow and maintain their ability to influence the world around them. They also wanted to avoid a scenario where current trends prevail and Jews decline both in numbers and in influence.
No one at Jewlicious was invited (of course) and Steven Spielberg had to decline at the last minute but assured the organizers that he would bring his considerable Jewish expertise to the next reunion (phew!).
So who attended? Let’s see… attorney and Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz (his son married a non-Jewish woman who didn’t convert – no Jewish grandchildren for you Alan!), President of Brandeis University Prof. Jehuda Reinharz, “former deputy treasury secretary Stuart Eizenstat, Natan Sharansky, Rabbi Samuel Sirat, the former chief rabbi of France, Michael Steinhardt, one of the leading Jewish philanthropists in the U.S., Dennis Ross, Prof. Yehezkel Dror, Jacques Attali, Rabbi Yuval Cherlow and others.” And what did these geniuses figure out? Let’s see…
Most participants agreed that the biggest threat to the Jewish people in the next few decades is weakening Jewish identity. In the modern world, Jewish identity competes in a big market of ideas and ideologies that are open to every individual. The difficulty of linking Jews, primarily younger Jews, to their Jewish identity eventually leads to estrangement from Jewish communal life, distancing from the State of Israel, and rise in intermarriage, which in the second generation causes a quantitative loss of Jews.
OK. So far so good… Not so good is the fact that despite collosaal efforts “[t]he American Jewish community lost between 300,000 and 500,000 members in the past decade…” So what does one do?
Most participants in the brainstorming session agreed that the key lies in opening up the gates of the Jewish people and extending a hand to those now on the margins…Until now, the Jewish community has pushed away such groups, and imposed demands on those wishing to join in Jewish life.
That might sound a bit cryptic, but what they are suggesting is that non-Jews be allowed to participate in Jewish communal life. Yup. Non-Jews – the saviors of the Jewish people.
The press release stated that “The Jewish people lacks spiritual leadership capable of formulating new inspirational content for Jewish identity that will inspire, provide meaning and gain relevance.” Well… there’s a shocker. Who do most American Jews look to for spiritual leadership? For the most part we’re talking about uh… “Rabbis” who cannot read a page of Gemarah, whose Hebrew is fractured or non-existent, and who some times do not even bellieve in G*d. I bet they provide awesomely relevant spiritual leadership!
Participants in the gathering noted, as a special mention of sorts, the Orthodox community, which maintains full Jewish identity – 100 percent Jewish education, 0 percent intermarriage, and high birthrates. But in the same breath they explained that because it is a closed society, it cannot serve as a model for Jewish life in the current era.
Oh my. What a load of crap. They did mention that birthright israel does a great job of strengthening Jewish identity and having just led a birthright trip made up of mostly unaffiliated young Jews, I can tell you that the one program that moved many of the kids and brought them to tears was shabbat in the old city. With Orthodox Jews. Closed society? What the fuck are these idiots talking about? I had people fighting with each other to take these kids in for a shabbat meal. I wish Michael Steinhardt or Charles Bronfman would have joined our trip to see just how closed Orthodox Judaism really isn’t.
Well, whatever geniuses. Good luck with your quest for substance free Judaism lite. I know my kids will have a strong Jewish identity and they sure as hell will marry Jews. Wish I could say the same for you O powerful group of 20.
Shabbat Shalom. That means, have a peaceful sabbath. It’s all in the Book of Genesis. Check it out.