US Jewry’s future
Sir, – The Jewish nation is bleeding. The clock ticks on its
The frightening rates of assimilation and intermarriage, touched
on at the GA (“Israel enters battle against assimilation,” November 11), point
to an inevitable outcome: Many of the children – and certainly the grandchildren
– of the present generation will no longer count themselves as Jewish. Our
numbers will shrink, our influence will dwindle and we will fall into the abyss,
doomed by a demographic trend of mathematical certainty. Our enemies will
The State of Israel, for years buttressed and protected by
virtue of a strong Jewish presence in America, will find itself in peril. Alone.
America’s traditional and virtually automatic support will no longer be a
And it will surely buckle under world pressure.
what? Long-term programs and plans to thwart the trend? Yes! But this issue is
much too urgent to wait. Time is of the essence. We need first aid to stop the
bleeding. That next mixed marriage – probably taking place today – erodes us
further. We need something to stem the tide until the plans we devise
(hopefully) kick in.
I have a suggestion. Let someone design a compelling
and impassioned appeal to Jews of today in the form of a professionally produced
film clip. Something truly powerful.
Let it go viral on YouTube and
Facebook. Let it remind us of the drama of our people – our illustrious history,
our tradition of education and excellence, our contribution to the world, our
common destiny and our near destruction.
Show millions of Jews a graphic
image of today’s frightening trends. Make it clear that if continued, the
alarming rate of assimilation will, by our own hand, finish the job that our
vilest enemies began.
Implant in our minds this eleventh-hour duty to the
Jewish people and Israel. (Perhaps we can engage eminent Jewish figures from
entertainment, science and politics.) Demonstrate how each of us, in our life
choices, has a real effect on our collective future.
Please someone, do
this right now.
Sir, – The General Assembly of
the Jewish Federations is being held in the shadow of the survey by the Pew
Research Center, which indicates that the Jewish community in the United States
is being devastated by assimilation, intermarriage and alienation from
The survey shows that Jews who define themselves as having no
religion (22%) have the weakest attachment to Israel.
And 69% of American
Jews believe that “leading an ethical/ moral life is an essential part of what
being Jewish means to them.”
In his analysis of the results of that
survey, Daniel Statman (“Ethics and the essence of Judaism,” iEngage, November
8) writes that “this emphasis on morality as essential to Jewish identity may be
a partial explanation for the decreasing attachment to Israel among members of
the younger generation....
The settlement project, with all its
ramifications for the Palestinian population, is difficult to reconcile with a
serious concern for justice.”
Renewed Jewish life in the heart of our
historic homeland – Judea and Samaria – after two millenniums of exile has been
blamed for a plethora of unrelated problems ranging from lack of peace in the
Middle East to poverty in Israel.
However, to the best of my knowledge
this is the first time that settlements are being blamed for assimilation and
intermarriage in the United States.
This claim, like all the others, is
absurd and easily disproved.
Those who hold themselves responsible for
the future of American Jewry should seek the causes of the present situation in
their own failures over the past half century, particularly the lack of
sufficient support for Jewish education for all age groups.
The use of
the existential crisis in American Jewish life as a tool to further a political
agenda in Israel will not serve to provide solutions to any of the problems
faced by both communities.
Surprise, surprise! Dennis Ross has arrived in Israel to let us know, now, that
we must be ready to increase sanctions against Iran (“Dennis Ross: West must be
ready to step up sanctions against Iran,” November 11). Where was he, along with
too many well-meaning Jews represented in the GA, when it came to choosing and
supporting the US administration? Ross has been one of the main shills for the
administration of President Barack Obama, pressuring Israel at every turn to
make uncompensated concessions to pan-Islamic demands. Isn’t it a bit late for
him to recognize that the emperor has no clothes? I suggest we beware of the
latecomers to this game, recognizing that they are the same ones who are already
lining up to support Hillary Clinton for president in 2016. That is the same
Hillary who suggested that Bashar Assad was a “reformer” and that Benghazi was
the fault of a little-seen video.
While the GA is in Israel, there needs
to be an awakening and a focused attempt to educate American Jews that the
Democratic Party is no longer their home! DORON BEN-AVI
Anchorage, Alaska Outta
Sir, – I just read “Government by rabbis” (Think About It,” November 11).
On the day that happens, I’m on the first flight out of here.
have “kashrut police” going into the homes of Israeli citizens making sure
they’re in compliance with the haredi version of Jewish dietary laws.
Al, Air France, Lufthansa, British Air, Delta – it doesn’t matter which one. If
rabbis ever take control here, I’m gone.
Period. First available
No bar at all
Sir, – It appears that
the writers of “Lower the bar for two states” (Comment & Features, November
10) would like to remove the bar altogether, at least for the Palestinians. In
return for nothing they suggest that we should retreat behind the indefensible
1948 armistice lines, abandon our valid historical claims to the heartland of
the Jewish nation and evacuate a few hundred thousand people, and then, if the
Palestinians agree, we should continue to negotiate, though what will be left to
negotiate is not clear.
The writers also mention glibly that the
parameters of a twostate agreement are well understood.
well understood in Washington and Geneva, but they are far from being well
understood in Jerusalem or Ramallah, to say nothing of Gaza, where their
understanding, clearly stated, is the destruction of the Jewish state and the
removal of any Jewish survivors to a rabidly anti-Semitic
Surprisingly enough, even if we were so stupid as to follow the
writers’ advice, the Palestinians would still not agree to accept the presence
of a Jewish state inside even the most truncated of borders within the area
between “the river and the sea,” which in their minds is sacrosanct Palestine,
regardless of the legal, historical and demographic facts.
op-ed piece in the same issue (“Riding the tiger”), the writer outlines Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s dilemma, given the obvious impossibility of any
solution that comes close to meeting the minimum desires of both sides and the
enormous pressure being applied by US Secretary of State John Kerry, President
Barack Obama’s consigliere, to achieve the impossible.
Given these facts,
our best bet at this time is to do nothing, because any change would be a change
for the worse.STEPHEN COHEN
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