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Two Conversations about the Jewish Community

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There seem to be two conversations going on in the Jewish community today. They seem juxtaposed to one another, but because they exist in almost parallel universes, the likelihood of considering them together seems kind of remote. However, if we are to think seriously about the Jewish community of the future, we have to do so. What are these two conversations?

The first: who or what is a Jew? This is the conversation around the parameters for being Jewish or, at least, for being part of the Jewish community.The second: how do we engage people who are currently not affiliated with the organized Jewish community? Today, this is focused primarily on the so-called “twenty-somethings.” Sometimes it is about the millenials. And at times, it is even about the boomers. But there is a bit of irony in the fact that we are having these two conversations concurrently. How can we be worried about who is in and who is out and, at the same time, voice concerns about engagement?

It would seem to me that the issues of engagement would be less difficult if we were not so preoccupied with who is in and who is out. Just a thought.



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