With no national Jewish population study in the works, demographers seek to fill the void.
Editor And Publisher
Waltham, Mass. — The last national Jewish population study, done in 2000-2001, was pretty much a disaster.
Sponsored by the North American federation movement — then known as United Jewish Communities and now Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) — the extensive $6 million survey was plagued by cost over-runs, lost data and disagreements among various experts in the field over its methodology and the validity of its conclusions, including the number of Jews in America.
Establishment critique has back-to-the-future quality.
Editor And Publisher
When a call for a Kol Nidre service among Jews protesting near Wall Street produced a huge response virtually overnight — press reports on the number who participated on Yom Kippur ranged from 500 to more than 1,000 — it was more than just an example of Twitter power.
Two years into making a full-length documentary, which will have its New York premiere Saturday night, filmmaker Tiffany Shlain realized what was missing.
“I watched all the footage” for the project, about what it means to be connected in the 21st century, “and saw that it was all about ideas, it was all about the head and not about the heart. I wasn’t exploring emotional connectedness.”
The quintessential Jewish joke takes place on the eve of Yom Kippur. The elderly rabbi arrives first at the small synagogue early in the morning, long before services, walks to dark corner of the sanctuary and begins to plead quietly with his Maker.
“Oh Lord, have pity on me, I am like the dust of the earth, a speck in the universe…”
What happens when two Jewish imperatives — the tribal instinct to ensure the survival and growth of the Jewish people, and the Torah-based mandate to maintain our highest ethical standards — clash?
I saw those tensions played out last week at The Conversation, the Jewish Week-sponsored, two-day annual conference that brings together a cross-section of 50 American Jews, lay and professional, leaders and emerging leaders representing a wide range of ages, interests, backgrounds and beliefs.
Talk of “apology” and “forgiveness” is all around us today, from the international diplomatic front, where Turkey and Egypt have insisted on Israeli apologies for recent actions, to the personal and communal level, where our thoughts turn to the approaching High Holy Days and the central theme of atoning for our sins.
We are taught to seek forgiveness when we have done wrong, but is it appropriate to apologize for an act that we believe merits no admission of guilt?
Sept. 11, 2001 was a Tuesday, deadline day for The Jewish Week.
As the horrific events began to unfold that morning, I found myself consumed, at times, by the unfolding coverage on television, then forcing myself away from it, trying to focus on getting the issue out on time. In revising the paper’s contents and helping to assign fresh staff coverage, I was very much aware that we were experiencing a moment when one could feel our nation’s history veering off into an unknown, dangerous path. One from which we haven’t really recovered, and perhaps never will.
When the power went out in our house Sunday afternoon, I was able to e-mail a friend and neighbor (thanks to my trusty BlackBerry) to ask if he’d lost power, too. He wrote back to say yes, adding: “But Jews were powerless for 2,000 years, and we’re still here.”
A few summers back, while talking to my Mom on a Saturday night, I mentioned that my wife and I were packing for our vacation the next day but that I still hadn’t written my Jewish Week column for the upcoming issue and was feeling the pressure.
“Why don’t you skip a week,” said my Mom, who has since passed away. “Make ‘em miss you.”
After some initial resistance, I took her suggestion.