UJA-Federation faces steep challenge in light of new data.
Editor and Publisher
The new 10-year study of the Jewish population of New York presents a major challenge to UJA-Federation, which commissioned the survey, because the research indicates that our community is moving sharply in two opposite directions: very engaged Jewishly (but not necessarily communally) and decreasingly interested in Jewish life.
Rebecca Missel grew up mostly in Mesa, Ariz., a predominantly Mormon city with few Jews. But when she moved to Morristown, N.J., she was surprised to find she felt a more acute lack of connection with her community.
Born in Minsk, Belarus, Rubin came to the U.S. with his family as a child. They settled at first in Brooklyn, then moved to northeast Pennsylvania. He was attracted to business and thought he wanted to be “a finance guy.” But after studying business at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Rubin decided he wanted to do “more than just finance. I want to make things and impact the world.”
In a trend that has been growing in recent decades, the publishing industry – which has brought printing into everyone’s hands and allowed publishers to gear their products to particular segments of the market – now offers Haggadahs and related Pesach books that appeal on the whole, to specific parts of the Jewish community.
Since the beginning of January, I have been on a tour of North America and have seen over 400 Conservative rabbis face-to-face or conducted extensive phone interviews with them.
What am I looking for?
I have been reaching out to my colleagues with the question: “As a rabbi, what are you are trying to accomplish in your community? How does your Torah inspire your community to bring change in their lives and the world?” In the aggregate, their stories are a lens on the Conservative movement today.
By now it’s old news: Baby boomers are redefining aging, Jewish boomers are disengaging from community life, and the Jewish community is not well-prepared.
The salient question: Is the Jewish community ready to define our future by creating a just society that reflects Jewish values and respects the aging boomer population? Or will we simply allow the December 2010 Pew Research report, “Boomers Approach Age 65 Glumly,” to become a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Baby boomers are back in the news — have they ever not been? — with new research and case studies suggesting that the organized Jewish community would be wise to invest more thought and programming into keeping this cohort involved in Jewish life, or risk losing them and their support.
In ‘reorganizing’ effort, historic group suspends activities, lays off 10 staffers and closes office.
In the wake of a series of financial setbacks that included the looting of its endowment by Bernard Madoff, the American Jewish Congress suspended its activities last week and let go of 10 staffers. Though the organization claims to be “reorganizing,” many in the Jewish communal world say it is only a matter of time before the history-rich but poorly run organization is forced to shutter its doors for good.