Sh’ma, a Journal of Jewish Responsibility, has devoted an entire issue to exploring one of the most significant topics in Judaism today: Jewish identity. This notion is important because it covers some of the biggest questions we seem to continually grapple with in the Jewish community. Who is a Jew? What do Jews look like? What does it mean to belong? What is Jewish peoplehood? As we see it, the future landscape of the Jewish community as a whole rests on our ability to find answers to these questions and forge a path that will lead us to an optimistic Jewish future.
The essays in Sh’ma explore a wide range of opinion and experience. You might agree with some of the sentiments, you might disagree with others. But devoting an entire issue to Jewish identity opens the door for some thoughtful discussions on how the Jewish community is perceived by various segments of the population. They even include a discussion guide, with questions like: What does “Jewish” look like, and how do our own stereotypes limit our openness to and welcoming of a wider array of Jews? What should joining the Jewish people require? How does one become Jewish?
These are exactly the kind of questions we should be asking ourselves as we move into a future that will increasingly include more intermarried families, children of intermarriage, mixed-heritage Jews, and other minority groups. At our upcoming conference, Judaism2030, we will bring together forward thinking visionaries with on-the-ground practitioners to talk about all of these issues and more. As we grow more diverse, what will the future look like? What are the steps we can take to ensure a vibrant Jewish future? We invite you to join us and bring your perspective on what we can do to help grow the Jewish community of tomorrow.