Congress is getting into the “whack-a-Goldstone” game, thanks to an aggressive push by AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby.
This week a Senate lettter gathered 32 signatures – not up to AIPAC’s usual standards, but nothing to sneeze at, either – on a letter that commended the administration for “criticizing the one-sided mandate directing the Goldstone report and highlighting the real causes of the war betweeen Israel and Hamas.”
Anyone who has been reading about the state of American Jewish life lately — the numerous studies showing that younger people feel increasingly distant from Israel, synagogues, federations, organizations and a sense of peoplehood — should recognize the name Steven M. Cohen.
As a leading sociologist of American Jewry, he has authored or co-authored at least seven important reports or articles in the last year and a half describing the crisis the community faces in transmitting its Jewish values from this generation to the next.
I remember as a teenager in Baltimore stopping into a Reform temple on Shabbat morning out of curiosity, having never attended a Reform service, and being asked to remove my kipa before entering the sanctuary.
Times have changed.
Let’s try a little end-of-the-year game.
I’ll mention a name or phrase, and you tell me the first thing that comes to mind.
Walt-Mearsheimer. Jimmy Carter. Ahmadinejad at Columbia.
How about: Hamas. Sderot. 1939.
Alvin Rosenfeld. Tony Judt. Norman Finkelstein.
I think you get the picture.
Is it fair to trace our communal challenges of intermarriage, assimilation and lack of affiliation back to boys losing interest in Jewish life after their bar mitzvah celebrations?
You could make the case that since non-Orthodox young men drop out of Jewish religious and educational activities at a far higher rate than girls, and intermarry at a higher rate than Jewish women, we need to find a way to involve and inspire boys Jewishly at an early age.
And then presto, the worrisome decline in our numbers and affiliation would be reversed.