Michael Jackson

The Future Jew – A thought experiment    

This article is a thought experiment. It bears no relation to reality. It is a philosophical musing, a religious revelation into your deepest feelings and beliefs of Jewish identification. There is no need to say it is impossible, unrealistic, absurd, impractical, or fantastic. It is all of these.

Let’s begin:

You are transported about 500 years into the future, say to the year 2500. You have a binary choice to make:

  1. You can be a Jew with a proviso condition explained below. You will have your current Jewish beliefs, ideas, and knowledge that you have now, i.e. you will be you with your personality, but you will be living among a certain type of Jewish community as per each proviso condition. We will assume that you are middle-aged, about 40 years old. You are not a student, nor a senior citizen.
  2. You can be a secular non-Jew with no affiliation to Judaism whatsoever but with a happy and fulfilled life: family, friends, career, good health, hobbies, etc.

No option C exists for these scenarios. If you choose option A, then you have to select to be a Jew in at least one or two, or possibly all of the scenarios below.  

Proviso conditions:

In this world 500 years in the future, there will only be one type of Jew (with different Jewish types listed below). In this thought experiment we also make the unrealistic assumption that each of these scenarios will contain Jews who approximate that group of Jews existing today. In this thought experiment, you must adhere to that specific future Jewish lifestyle communally, ritualistically, and publicly. Since these future Jews will be a homogenous whole there is little to no chance of a conversion. For example, if you are a Lubavitcher today, do not suppose that in the American Reform Jew scenario, you will be able to convert any number of these future American Reform Jews to becoming Lubavitchers.

Therefore, in the 500-year future would you be a Jew or a secular non-Jew in each scenario:

Scenario 1. All Jews are Lubavitch          ______  (JEW / NON-JEW)

Scenario 2. All Jews are secular Jewish humanists   ____  (JEW / NON-JEW)

Scenario 3. All Jews are modern Orthodox          ______  (JEW / NON-JEW)

Scenario 4. All Jews are black-hat Yeshivish          ______  (JEW / NON-JEW)

Scenario 5. All Jews are American Reform Jews    ____  (JEW / NON-JEW)

Scenario 6. All Jews are West Bank right-wing settlers __  (JEW / NON-JEW)

Scenario 7. All Jews are Reconstructionist Jews       ______  (JEW / NON-JEW)

Scenario 8. All Jews are Satmar          ______  (JEW / NON-JEW)

Scenario 9. All Jews are Conservative Jews          ______  (JEW / NON-JEW)

Scenario 10. All Jews are assimilated bacon-eating Jews __  (JEW / NON-JEW)

Scenario 11. All Jews are non-denominational    ____  (JEW / NON-JEW)

Scenario 12. All Jews are secular Israeli Jews       ______  (JEW / NON-JEW)

Scenario 13. All Jews are messianic Jews (Jews for Jesus, etc.)  __  (JEW / NON-JEW)

In how many of these alternative scenarios did you pick the Jewish option?

Is there a pattern to which ones you picked?

Note: Feel free to add your scenarios to my alternatives listed above. I would be happy to read your responses.

About the Author
Born in London in 1949. Studied Maths at Warwick University. Came to Israel (WUJS program at Arad) in 1971. I became a citizen and served in the army in 1973. Returned to the UK in 1974. Worked in Information Systems. Married an American Orthodox woman in 1977 and moved to America. For a few years I have led a retiree philosophy class.
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