Monday, December 17, 2018

  • Monday, December 17, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
Carly Pildis, a political organizer and advocacy professional who writes for Tablet, tweeted this last week:

Here is my hot take on American Jews and assimilation. My generation is broke. We are struggling to make it month to month. This is a big part of what’s driving lack of engagement. We are exhausted from working multiple jobs. Create affordable informal spaces that recognize this.

When Israelis talk about assimilation they often fail to understand the high cost of entry to living the Jewish life of our dreams. Access to Judaism is not free in the Diaspora. It is expensive, inconvenient and not always available to us.

We must talk about the economic realities American Jewish families are facing when we talk assimilation and identity. Otherwise we will not be successful in creating a vibrant Jewish future.
This is probably too important a topic to tackle on Twitter, but here was my response:

 Maybe I'm not in on the pulse of the larger young US Jewish community, but this does sound more like lack of commitment rather than lack of money, @CarlyPildis.

My mother in law a"h just passed away. She didn't have a good Jewish education growing up in Missouri but she happily, without complaint, drove 100 miles a day to bring her kids to Hebrew school before selling their dream house to be walking distance to the school.

Of course money is an issue, but that can be addressed - if someone actually cares about the issue.

Chabad is all over, and they offer free Shabbat meals to anyone who asks.

Online, you can join any Jewish community of any level of observance you want.

Meetups are easy to organize and can be free.

"Partners in Torah" let you find someone to study Jewish topics for free.

How hard it is to look at the website of a local synagogue and see what programs they offer that you can attend?

How hard is it nowadays to start your own Facebook group and find like-minded Jews to discuss anything under the sun? If people are serious, online would become IRL.

Not to generalize, but if seeing the latest movie or play is a higher priority for American Jews than study or teaching their kids about the religion, then we are in sad shape.

I'm not only talking Orthodoxy, either. Plenty of Reform Jews are committed to Judaism - I might disagree with their practice but I admire their commitment.

Back in college I used to study Talmud with a woman preparing to become a Reform rabbi!

Americans now spend 11 hours a day on screen time. Please don't tell me that all your Jewish friends don't have any time to prioritize Judaism over Twitter and TV - or that most cannot afford HBO and Netflix.

The time is there. It is a question of priority.

I just Googled 'Jewish study resources" and found lots of amazing programs out there (start here: How to Learn More About Judaism Online | My Jewish Learning)

 Are you telling me your friends can't figure out how to do that?

If Judaism is less important than Game of Thrones, time and exhaustion isn't the problem.




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