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Sunday Sep 06, 2009

Rosner's Domain: Masa's utterly counter-productive ad campaign

Posted by SHMUEL ROSNER
Comments: 29
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I was going to write about project Masa's new and utterly counter-productive ad campaign - and share with you all my frustrations and misgivings. However, J.J Goldberg already wrote about it, and I have nothing to add. I Agree with everything he says.

The campaign we're talking about is this one:

It tells you that “more than 50% of young Jews overseas are assimilating and we are losing them" (not exactly true). And it asks: "Do you know a young Jew overseas?" (yes! I do!). And it promises that if you "Call Project Masa" maybe "together we will strengthen the tie to Israel so we won’t lose him" (I'm afraid we just did!).

Here's a paragraph from Goldberg's blog post:

The reality is that a major proportion of self-identified Jews under 25 today have only one Jewish parent. Many Reform religious schools report that majorities of their pupils are from interfaith families. Huge numbers of these children - we used to call them half-Jews - grow up to become active, identifying Jews. They make up an increasingly prominent proportion of new, innovative Jewish organizations, projects and Web sites. From a practical point of view, the issue in America is no longer how to fight intermarriage. That horse is out of the barn. The question now is how to draw the new Jews to Judaism.

If the Masa folks are looking for young Jews who could use some outreach, these are the ones they're after. And nobody is going to win their hearts with commercials implying that their parents' marriage was a form of genocide.

 


 

 
 
 
 
 
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Comments: Post your own comment
1  |  Arlington, VA, Sunday Sep 06, 2009
The reaction to this ad is further evidence of the split within the US Jewish Community. The reality is that the various parts of the Jewish community really have nothing in common with each other. As someone with two Jewish parents that someday hopes to marry another Jew and raise Jewish children, I completely agree with the ad, and see nothing wrong with it. Obviously, children of intermarriage and assimilated people are not going to like the ad. At the same time, this ad was presented to people in Israel, and not the US - which is a critical distinction.
2  |  Shani, Monday Sep 07, 2009
I disagree. The only thing that matters is that everyone is talking about it. That's the only thing that matters in today's world, like it or not. The campaign achieved its goal
3  |  Terry - Eilat, Israel, Monday Sep 07, 2009
#2 - Shani. That was an excellent observation. The issue is so complex it's mind-boggling. While many issues are quite black & white, this one has so many facets, as many as there are Jews actually, that just talking about it is a step in the right direction.
4  |  anti-intermarriage, Monday Sep 07, 2009
There is nothing wrong with promoting the idea that Jews should marry other Jews. It's unbelievable that this would be offensive to any Jew whose concerned about the future of the our people. The fact that this ad was a controversy shows the self-hatred that runs rampant in the Jewish community. Intermarriage is bad for the Jews but that doesn't matter to the cowardly appeasing crowd that hates anything that smacks of Jewish pride. Rosner and Goldberg should be ashamed of themselves for attacking a noble group that only wants to assure the survival of the Jewish people.
5  |  Elizabeth, London, Monday Sep 07, 2009
I just watched this clip and found nothing in it to refer to intermarriage. It speaks about 'assimilation', and so can be interpreted as meaning cultural alienation and loss of identity, not a choice of a marriage partner. I think it is sensitively and tactfully done. I can think of many Diaspora Jews with two Jewish parents who are totally alienated from both Judaism (in any form) and Israel, and are very vocal about it. Presumably this campaign is addressed at them and those in Israel who know them and can reach them.
6  |  ran michael, Monday Sep 07, 2009
the assimilators want to have a clear concsious. the truth is that they have a big problem. i think that the jews who marry gentiles especially men have a big broblem. i think the answear is zionism and judaism. it's not enough to bring them here. we should work on make them a good zionist. by the way' there are many israelis who are lost to zionism' to judaism to self national respect. we should deal with tham too.
7  |  ran michael, Monday Sep 07, 2009
rosner - you stayed too much in the state you need to come home' it starts to affect you. you're becoming a liberal jewish american.
8  |  Bill Pearlman New York, Monday Sep 07, 2009
I'm what I suppose is traditional. And in a perfect world all the rest of you would be right. But we don't live there. When it comes to the United States, Canada, and Europe when your talking about the non-orthodox the horse really is out of the barn.
9  |  Mike, Portland, Oregon, Monday Sep 07, 2009
Masa, with Netanyahu's approval labels intermarriage a strategic threat. My wife is now a strategic threat to Israel (meaning enemy)? I am sorry for whatever $ I gave to Israel & sorry for volunteering during the Yom Kippur War to save a Kibbutz' fall harvest. Israel is morphing into an atavistic Israel-istan. Women seated in the back of the bus? I have 2 adult children from a previous marriage that I have consciously steered away from "Birthright". Bridget still loves Bernie. Ezra & Pinchas are ghosts. Universalism trumped particularism long ago. The Israelis couldn't be more clueless.
10  |  Terry - Eilat, Israel, Monday Sep 07, 2009
I think that right now the most important issue is stopping Iran, an Israeli military strike is our first priority. We can argue over who is a Jew later - if there are no Jews, we won't have anything to debate. First things first, as the expression goes.
11  |  Steven J - US, Monday Sep 07, 2009
Lets tell white people not to marry blacks? Well that too will go down badly. The thing is Israel today is 'lost'. Its got its priorities wrong. Israel hates anything that does not subscribe, promotes and agree to its official line. There promoting someithing of a 'pure' race. Its foreign policies and constant millitaristic agenda hasn't and will continue to be a failure. It needs to get its act together and realise what good comes out of its intentions and policies. Israel got its priorities all wrong.
12  |  Mike Feldman, Canada, Monday Sep 07, 2009
I was at a concert recently were the featured artist was a black woman performer. My white friend brought a black woman as his date. When the performer noticed them she said "Couldn't you find a brother to bring you here?" Most groups have a degee of chauvanism about marrying "their own' An Italian friend of mine was disowned by his family for marrying a Jewish woman. (Knowing his family, I think he wanted to be disowned.). It is not remarkable that Israel as the keeper of the Jewish torch would have strong feelings against assimilation. However, I find it regrettable when it negatively affects good people like #9
13  |  Mike Feldman, Canada, Monday Sep 07, 2009
#10. Terry. When the ADF unloads on Iran, it would be good in the bombs read "Iran you've been assimilated".
14  |  rejewvenator, NY, Monday Sep 07, 2009
This is just another example of the clash over identity in Israel and the US. In Israel, Jewish identity is entirely racial - it's the Nuremberg laws that define who may be a citizen. In the US, identity is a matter of choice and behavior, not racial inheritance. American Jews see intermarriage as problematic only in the sense that Judaism is losing a war of ideas. Intermarried couples that live Jewish lives are welcomed by non-Orthodox Jewish congregations.
15  |  Dav Lev, Tuesday Sep 08, 2009
There are hundreds of publications in Israel, many with differing views on just about everything. So any criticism of the overlall Israeli public (5.4m Jews) is absurd. Israel's left is strong and advocates a return to the 67 borders for hoped for peace. It's right wants either autonomy for the Palies, one state (Jewish), or the 2 state solution. Again, lots of disagreement. The Orthodox will have none of the secular..and vica versa. The more extreme, the more distant. ( See rioting over garage in Jerusalem). Who is a Jew still is debated and disputed. Israel's Jews are a very diverse people.
16  |  Dav Lev, Tuesday Sep 08, 2009
Look, I am a proud US born Conservative Jew, with many Orthdox to very secular friends. I don't discriminate. A Jew is a Jew is a Jew. Just ask any non-Jew. Personally I believe in the Torah prohibition against intermarriage. Raising children is a must..to give them an identity and purpose., rather than being adrift. Let's face it, we live in a Christian country..and are pressured daily to accept non-Jewish attitudes, or convert. This ad is okay..will turn some people off however. Id like to know what the success rate is in intermarriage? How do the children fare later in life?
17  |  Dav Lev, Tuesday Sep 08, 2009
To Steven: In 1944, Germany asked for 10,000 trucks for 1m Jewish lives. It wasn't given. Auschwitz gassed 500,000 Jews in 6wks. 6m Jews died during WW2 caus they were Jewish. 6m Germans were killed and 3m anti-Semitic Poles. 250,000 German Jews were slautered..good Germans. Israel a militaristic state? Oh come on. Read the 67 War by Michael Oren. Rather 12 to judge the nation, than more Holocaust museums. You would have Israel destroyed. Will you save the 5.4m Jews then? The US had MAD with Russia, Israel also has the right to defend itself. That is really what you are against isn't it?
18  |  Dav Lev, Tuesday Sep 08, 2009
There are 5.5m Jews in Israel. and about an equal number in the USA., ranging from Haredi (ultra Orthodox) to the most secular. Some Jews resent being Jewish..they want to play cards and eat at McDonalds on Saturdays. Religioius observance is verboten..they laugh at it. They care less about who they marry..will eat wafers..and have Christmas trees. Their children grow up to hate their ideals..maybe them too. Or as one co-worker said to me once, "Act like a Jew, and not a gentile". Another said: "You Jews are all alike, only the garb is different" (I am a Conservative Jew). Wake up.
19  |  daat y, Tuesday Sep 08, 2009
Rosner how low can you go? It appears that you also believe that intermarriage is unimportant to the Jewish people.
20  |  Michael Chicago, Tuesday Sep 08, 2009
I am an American Jew, who married a non-Jew and have raised and educated my two sons as Jews (both have traveled to Israel, on their own, and are committed to the faith). I have traveled to Israel four times in the past five years, and support several Israeli charities. I am totally offended by the Masa campaign, which comes on top of a host of other indignities and affronts toward my denomination (Reform) and my marital decision. Congratulations, Israel -- you have effectively eroded my heretofore my warm connection to your state.
21  |  ProudJudean, Tuesday Sep 08, 2009
Steven 11: Are you finished with your laughable rant? There is no "pure race" line in Israel. We have black Ethiopians, white Russians, and every shade of skin color in between. Militaristic agenda? We lose soldiers because we try to avoid hurting civilians. We wait 5 years before responding to unprovoked rocket attacks. We withdraw from most of the territory we captured in defensive wars. Our declaration of independence's motto is seeking peace. The anti-Semitic conspiracy of lies against Israel like the lies you promote will never change the truth.
22  |  Sharona Israel, Tuesday Sep 08, 2009
Mike-Portland OR Intermarriage is a threat but not in the way you understand. The grandchildren of intermarrieds rarely remain Jewish. Check the stats on that. Birthright? You are thinking of one particular program-there are many birthright trips with many themes. You have done your children a huge disservice. You are just attacking Israel to assuage your guilt. Why are intermarrieds so defensive? While you are attacking Israel how about attacking Muslims who tend to kill people who opt out of Islam? The girl in FL is a prime example. We are fighting the back of the bus thing. Come and see!
23  |  Sharona, Tuesday Sep 08, 2009
#11 Steven Israel's "militarism" saves Jewish lives. No one here hates dissent. People HERE dissent all the time. You are talking from sheer ignorance. You know nothing of Israel foreign policy. Israel has no official line. What good comes out of protecting our citizens? We don't die. Pretty simple.
24  |  Mike, Portland, OR, USA, Tuesday Sep 08, 2009
Reply to Sharona, My children are not statistics. They are young single adults who will make their own romantic choices. As far as future generations go, most Americans believe only bigots encourage their offspring to "stick to their own kind". In case you are not aware of it, Americans don't root for Romeo & Juliet's parents. Hence we were quite comfortable voting for President Obama, who represents the embrace of the universal. I could care less about the ethnic mix of my grandchildren as long as they are kind tolerant people. Different strokes for different folks trumped separatism.
25  |  anti-intermarriage, Tuesday Sep 08, 2009
Everyone who agrees with this ad should contact Masa and give them your support. There's nothing wrong with having Jewish pride and promoting inmarriage to our young people. That is the best way to insure a Jewish family. I'm getting really sick of all the intermarried Jews who are offended by this ad. Get over it! Studies have shown that only 10% of your grandchildren will identify as Jews. If you can't handle the truth that's your problem not ours. Ironically the ony way to make sure that your grandchildren are Jews is for your children to marry Jewish.
26  |  Negev Girl, Metar, Israel, Tuesday Sep 08, 2009
Wow, the ad says NOTHING about intermarriage! What are some of you railing against? Did #9 or #20 even WATCH the ad? Do they deny many Jews lose , deny, opt out of, or, ARE denied their heritage? What paranoia. Intermarriage is another discussion but it has NOTHING to do with this ad. But I agree that we have to give some Jewish knowledge to our own countrymen and change the pityful memlachti (state) school system and start to instill Jewish Zionist values once again in our schools. We in Israel should not be lecturing anyone else. We just have the advantage of mass.
27  |  David Columbia, Maryland USA, Tuesday Sep 08, 2009
There are two big issues here. The first one is Jewish identity in the diaspora and the second one is assimilation. Many Jews want to live in the diaspora. There are many reasons for this including increased religious freedom eg. to be a Progressive Jew. There is virtually no respect for Reform Judaism in Israel. The secular non-religious are treated better, because they do not challenge the Orthodox oligarchy. With regards to being "anti-intermarriage" my response would be then don't, but stop attacking those who do. They are welcomed into liberal Judaism and not treated as outcasts.
28  |  Stan Goodman - Israel, Tuesday Sep 08, 2009
All the above miss the basic reason for marrying out; there is a fundamental difference in culture between Israel and the US, Canada, and Europe. In the minds of the latter, Jewishness is a matter of religion - Catholic, Protestant, Jew are religious categories, and religion is exclusively a personal choice. That is the approach of the general (Christian) population, and thus of most children of Jewish immigrant great-grandparents. In Israel, Jewishness is ethnic, we are a people, and thus share the characteristic of solidarity. The Western approach would be difficult or impossible to change.
29  |  Ken, Maryland USA, Tuesday Sep 08, 2009
My son has just begun taking speech and the first thing he is learning is false arguments like the "straw man" Here is an example-- MASA talks about "assimilated Jews." But Goldberg talks about intermarraige and Reform Judaism which MASA never mentions and then says that MASA implied that assimilated kids' parents intermarraaige was a from of Genocide. MASA absolutely said nothing about it! Ans sadly, most of the arguments are see in the comments are based on his false premise.
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