Frequently, I hear congregants complain that their rabbis are not inspiring or that they never take clear stands on issues of importance. That's why the ongoing discussion about rabbinic independence that has erupted again at B'nai Jeshurun, covered very fairly by The Jewish Week (“B’nai Jeshurun Defections Fuel Debate,” Feb. 28), transcends any single congregation and any one subject. It is a contemporary case study about two issues facing the congregational world:
My grandma Sadie lived in the town of Droghobych in Ukraine until she was 13. Nearby, there is a dirt road through a forest leading to the mass graves where the town’s last Jewish population lies buried. It is barely marked — if you did not know to look for the large slabs of concrete between the trees, you would have a hard time finding it. As a human rights lawyer who has spent a lifetime documenting atrocities, I was not prepared for the effect of this visit a few months ago. I broke into tears.
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?
When I hooked up my kids' new Nintendo Wii a couple years ago, I noticed that each player has to create their own Mii. The significance wasn't lost on me (or is it Mii?). As I set up this new video gaming device, I wondered if it would promote community or promote loneliness.
Would other kids join my children in the basement as they all took turns participating in an activity that prioritizes the Wii... or would each child find himself "bowling alone" with an interactive television in the basement thereby prioritizing the Mii?