In 1974, The New York Times ran an ad by the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York with the headline “If You’re Jewish, Chances Are Your Grandchildren Won’t Be.” A simple review of the recently released UJA Federation of New York study shows quite clearly that liberal American Jewish parents are very unlikely to have Jewish grandchildren. Seventy-four percent of all New York City’s Jewish children are now Orthodox, and those numbers will only increase. Pure statistics are fairly clear – an ad by an honest Jewish organization in 2012 would read: “If You’re a Reform Jew, Your Grandchildren Won’t be Jewish.”
Simple demographics and facts for anyone who cares to review simple facts. It’s why it’s almost comical to hear Reform leaders discuss any issue other than education — for they clearly aren’t addressing the next generation that most surely wont be listening to them. For example, American Reform Rabbi Brian Lurie, the new head of the New Israel Fund, recently said, “The occupation is a cancer that is eating us.”
Who “us” meant for the Reform San Francisco-based rabbi wasn’t clear. The Jewish people? In San Francisco of all places, a Reform rabbi thinks occupation is the main problem of Jews in America? Wouldn’t education — or simply being Jewish — matter more than the so-called “occupation?” But in a few years, these Reform folks won’t be part of the Jewish community anyway.
Now, turning to the very (at least outwardly) Jewish: This week, nearly 100,000 Jews in New Jersey attended the celebration of Siyum HaShas, which marks the completion of the Daf Yomi, or daily reading and study of one page of the 2,711 page book. TThe cycle takes about seven and a half years to finish. An amazing editorial appeared in the religious online site Vos Iz Neias, criticizing the event for not having a live feed – and these religious media commentators are absolutely right.
As the owner of a leading PR firm, I can say the whole Jewish community, across the spectrum, should take notice — and it was a unique opportunity to attract many Jews (including the Reform referenced above) to authentic, real Judaism. An amazing sight.
The secular media rarely has a nice word to say about religious Jews, yet this event was described as “…a spiritual calling, a labor of love, a rich opportunity to connect with thousands of years of Jewish history and religion.” “The celebrants, mostly Orthodox Jews from across the United States and beyond, closed out the 7½-year cycle with prayer, speeches and, when the final line was read, an explosion of jubilation that literally shook the cavernous stadium for more than 20 minutes.”
Great quotes — wouldn’t it have been amazing to have great content like this available online for Jews worldwide to watch? While many in the religious community discuss the dangers of the internet, this was a unique change to share words of Torah with Jews worldwide.
While all other streams of Judaism besides the religious are decreasing in numbers, only Chabad uses the Internet properly – and it’s simply foolish to not use the internet for all its benefits. What a wasted opportunity – as Vos Iz Neias said: “Instead of inspiring the mere 93,000 participants, it could have inspired millions, yes, tens of millions. Had there only been a live feed.”
Louis Brandeis once said: “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants..” Lets shine the beauty of Judaism and ensure Judaism wins.