The worldwide Jewish community has been living under the illusion that we are a people in numerical decline, as if that is inevitable and indisputable. They remind us that we are the only community that has not recovered its losses from the Holocaust in World War II. They cite that Jewish couples are marrying later in life, having fewer children—one or two being the new normal, with many opting out altogether. They cite the intermarriage rate, which has continued unabated for the past fifty years now, to be around 50 percent. It is probably more like 70 percent among the non-Orthodox, which continues to be the overwhelming majority everywhere even in Israel. They remind us that we are an aging community and that even though thousands join our ranks each year, an equal number drop out for another spiritual path. And they point to the increasing number of synagogue as well as Day School closings and mergers, as well as decreasing number of donors to Jewish causes as a sure indication of Jewish apathy or worse. When projected into the future, the numbers look bad as we shrink from numerical insignificance to absolute irrelevancy.
I agree. If we only look at today’s trends and project them into the future, the picture is indeed bleak. After all, numbers don’t lie. But the future is not simply a matter of assessing the present and pushing it outward. The future does not exist “out there.” The future only exists in our imagination. What truly lies ahead, no one knows. Of course, our imagination has to have some basis in reality. But being “realistic” is often just a cop-out for maintaining the status quo, for doing things the way we always have. After all, was Dr. King being “realistic” when he boldly announced, “I have a dream?”
My new book, Beyond Survival, offers an alternative vision for the Jewish future—a paradigm shift, one in which individuals can find an open and accepting community that joyously and creatively celebrates our sacred way of life. A future in which we can all grow and thrive.
I exist to be a connector—connecting people to themselves (allowing for awareness and insight, as well as wholeness and personal growth); to one another (creating sacred community); and to God (linking themselves to a Higher Purpose in all they do in life).
Phone: (305) 794 – 0442