A newly released report by the Task Force on Welcoming Interfaith Families of the New York UJA-Federation has been hailed by some as a breakthrough (“UJA-Fed. Launches Outreach To Intermarrieds,” Dec. 9).
To the extent that it calls for additional funding for Jewish education directed at intermarried couples and new sensitivity training for outreach workers, the report represents a shift in resources. But in its assumptions about intermarriage, it encapsulates the conventional and unsubstantiated wisdom about how best to address intermarriage.
Nowadays Orthodoxy is all about sex. Immodesty, promiscuity, homosexuality: the public discourse of the Orthodox Jewish world seems disproportionately to take place in the bedroom, the dressing room, and the closet.
‘Come Home’ ads expose cracks in relationship between American Jews and Israeli officials.
Editor And Publisher
The news reports about Israel’s latest, ill-fated public relations campaign have come and gone. But the impact lingers, and it’s worth exploring how Israeli and American Jews, despite all their professed connections, still misunderstand each other in troubling ways.
The most recent example, in brief: A $300,000 ad campaign to encourage Israelis living in America to come home, sponsored by the government in Jerusalem, became known to and immediately was criticized by mainstream, fervently pro-Israel American Jewish groups, and others, as deeply offensive.
Recognizing that there are no magic bullets in alleviating the financial, emotional and other burdens on parents seeking to provide a quality day school education for their children at a time of economic recession, the leadership of the Orthodox Union sought this week to address the problem pragmatically.
There is a large literature of “doubleness” — Dr. Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde, Poe’s William Wilson, Dostoevsky’s “The Double,” James Hogg’s “Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner,” among many others. The idea that we are all split is an attractive explanation of our conflicting impulses.
The article, “Search On for ‘Big Idea’ for Jewish Teens” (Dec. 2), reports that “having good friends, doing well academically and getting into a good college” were “very” or “extremely important” to the teens surveyed for the Cohen Center study, while having a strong Jewish identity ranked lower down on the list.
I am mystified that Jerome Chanes’ review of Gershom Gorenberg’s “The Unmaking of Israel” (Fall Literary Guide, Nov. 25) ignores several of Gorenberg’s most outlandish proposals and radical views. Gorenberg advocates the dismantling of the entire hesder yeshiva framework (p. 234) and dropping the active promotion of Jewish immigration (p. 246). He also derides concern of the Iranian threat and the growing Islamization of the “Arab Spring” as a remnant of the shtetl complex of seeing Cossacks everywhere.
I very much appreciated Gary Rosenblatt’s column, “Mind the Gap Between Orthodox and Other Jews” (Dec. 2), in which he presented an extensive recap of how we Orthodox differ in so many ways from “other Jews.” It was also cheering to read about the large number of children being born to the Orthodox while the “other Jews” are having much fewer children (and, of course, marrying out). Indeed, in a generation or two, we will be fewer but “Jewer” — quality over quantity.