The Recap!

This is the past. What's the future?

No, I’m not talking about SciFi. Only a few hours ago I had the pleasure to be in attendance at the Leadel sponsored panel at the IDC Herzliya Sammy Offer School of Communications. There, the panelists – futurist Professor David Passig, JAFI Youth Future Coordinator Leah Biteolin, and Dean of the Sammy Offer School of Communications Dr. Noam Lemelshtrich – discussed the future of the Jewish people in the next hundred years. The panel was moderated by Leadel’s Tomer Marshall, and our own, Leah Stern, who is, also, a faculty member at the IDC.

For those who didn’t manage to tune on, three of the topics covered were:

Have Israelis become more individualistic, and less idealistic?
Professor Passig says yes – but its part of a cycle. Societies go through cycles of idealism, normalization, individualism, followed by new idealism.
Dr. Lemelshtrich says no – now, more than ever, you see the youth volunteering for combat units and following their ideals. He notes that there is, of course, the exception of groups like the haredim.
Ms. Biteolin says that both are true – while society, as a whole, may have become more individualistic, when it comes to military conflict, Israelis rally and ideology soars.

In a conflict, Jews rally around the flag. So what does that mean for Israel if the conflict with our neighbors should end?
Dr. Lemelshtich – There may result a conflict within Israel, among the Jews, between the orthodox and the secular.
Professor Passig – Jewish society can be reorganized along a raison d’etre.  The challenge is that this idea of a Jewish, democratic state is new, relative to the rest of Jewish history, and so we are still coming to terms with this concept.

Today, Israel is a leader in high tech and medical research. What will Israel’s contribution to the world be in the future?
The consensus was: if Israel can become more democratic (better, more effective rule by the majority, without undo influence by a minority, while still protecting minority rights), more accepting of immigrants and of different strains of Judaism, Israel will be able to fulfill the idea of a “light unto the nations.”

What are your thoughts on these, or any of the other, issues raised during the panel?

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7 Comments

  • Did you choose the picture because of the objects it displays as the people portrayed are Ancient Roman soldiers, most likely of a polytheist variety? (As the occupation of Jerusalem took place some 250 years before the Edict of Milan.)

  • froylein – i didn’t choose the picture. i’m going to guess it was ck, but really it could have been any of the jewlicious bloggers

  • The consensus was: if Israel can become more democratic (better, more effective rule by the majority, without undo influence by a minority, while still protecting minority rights), more accepting of immigrants and of different strains of Judaism, Israel will be able to fulfill the idea of a “light unto the nations.

    I can only assume that they refer to less influence by Haredim? What does ‘more accepting of immigrants mean’? More non-Jews like the Sudanese or other Africans that are merely labeled ‘Sudanese’?

    FWIW, Israel is already the light unto the nations. How many youtube video and ppt presentations during Israel independance week do we need to watch to understand that. What else does the world want from us?

    But then again, who cares. No other nation cares so much what everyone else thinks of it. It’s time we lose our inferiority complex.

  • josh – by immigrants, I believe they were referring to “olim.” I suggest e-mailing the speakers to better understand their positions.
    Also, what does “FWIW” mean?

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