I recently attended a conference which invited participants to pose questions about the Jewish future. I asked: Why is life for centrist Jews so lonely these days? I wanted to talk about my troubles finding passionately committed, spiritually sophisticated, Jewishly ambitious, morally rigorous, deeply learned, non-Orthodox Jews. No one signed up for my session, proving my point.
As the center withers, the modern Jewish problem grows. Modern Orthodoxy is growing in confidence more than in numbers. Barely 20 percent of Israelis are religious. In North America, population estimates hover around 13 percent. Orthodox triumphalists tout the expanding families and ba'alei tshuva - newly Orthodox - Jews who returned to the path. They ignore the many who lapse, or as Israelis call them Datlash, dati lesheavar, formerly religious.
Moreover, whatever religious growth there is cannot compensate for the broader spiritual, organizational, marital, and demographic collapse.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
The Future of the Jewish People
Drastic I know, but it seems that Gil Troy has written an interesting column over on the JPost about just this topic. He calls it "Center Field: Paradox and struggle" but it seems to me like he is talking about the mainstream Jewish community more than any sort of political middle ground as his title suggests. It is good and I suggest reading it...here is a taste.