What be Jewish: Beyond Survivalism
In the institutional American Jewish world, over the past half-century, there has been what scholars call a Theology, a Halacha of Demographics: How many people registered for our program? How many households belong to your synagogue? Who is affiliated and with whom? Who is engaged with Israel and why? This has become the bulk of the conversation, the halacha of American Jewish life. But, the problem, the challenge, isn't demographics. About not giving Hitler a posthumous victory. Rather it is about creating communities of meaning. Communal systems cannot flourish where their only narratives are numbers and rules. For true vibrancy, communities require human stories – of suffering and triumph, conflict and euphoria, humor and love – to ensure that a community understands its own depth and complexities. And so, we are here to serve each other. To answer the question “Why remain Jewish?” To teach each other how a commitment to Jewish life will, as Jay Michaelson writes, revive our spirit, rekindle our passion for living, and infuse our lives with joy and with meaning. To satisfy our need to touch the transcendent in the world. To express our very humanity.