A couple of months ago, Israeli social media was buzzing with expressions of shock and horror: a group of Israeli tourists on an Israir flight to Bulgaria were caught on tape behaving badly. Following an earlier incident, a steward on the flight refused to sell duty-free chocolate to a passenger who aggressively lashed out in response. Soon her sister joined in the verbal abuse, then the brother in-law, all in turn emphasizing their discontent with that Israeli gesture that must have already earned an entry in the dictionary of contemporary Hebrew: arm thrust forwards, palm turned upwards, hand wiggling from side to side. “You will sell me chocolate, you piece of garbage!” The injured party yelled. “You will sell her chocolate!” Her sister screamed in turn, “What do you think, she’s an Arab?”
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer. Union leader Sandy Feldman. Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker. What do they all have in common? Besides being Jewish and making an indelible impact on our world, they all graduated from the same public school, Brooklyn’s James Madison High School.
Even if you’re a very casual observer of the U.S. Jewish community and a friend who knows nothing about it asks you, “How big a phenomenon is Jewish intermarriage?” you’d probably be able to answer, “It’s pretty big.”
The newly released Pew findings on Jewish continuity paint a bleak future for American Jewry (“Fast-Growing Jewish ‘Nones’ Seen Reshaping Community,” Oct. 4). It reports that 58 percent of respondents who married since 2000 have married a non-Jewish spouse, and only 20 percent of those who have intermarried are raising their children Jewish by religion.
In his thoughtful and provocative new book, “The American Jewish Story Through Cinema” (University of Texas Press), Eric A. Goldman refers to Hollywood films about American Jewish life as “a Haggadah,” the Passover text that is savored and studied annually.
Study of American Jews making its way into Israeli schools.
Tel Aviv – The Jews of America may be the largest Jewish community in the diaspora, but that does not mean Israeli schoolchildren learn much about them.
Sixty-two years after Israel’s founding, its school system still largely sticks to the Zionist trope that all Jews should live in Israel and those who do not at the very least should be actively engaged in helping support the Jewish state. In turn, there is scant study of contemporary Jewish life in America.