Rethinking Global Jewish Collectivity in a Post-Statist World

By David N. Myers

The Jewish Peoplehood Hub, April 2010

Mordecai Kaplan is principally remembered for his role as the founder of Reconstructionism. But there is good reason to recall the prescience of his 1949 essay about Israel and world Jewry. To be sure, the demographic picture has changed. Today a bit fewer than 60% of Jews in the world live outside of Israel, and that number will continue to fall in the coming decades. But unsettling as it may be to some, the core proposition of Kaplan's essay remains worth discussing--indeed, is of particular relevance and urgency in the present. Why? First, we inhabit an age of globalization in which traditional notions of sovereignty, citizenship, and jurisdiction are being rethought. The ease of global travel, the instantaneous nature of cyber-communication, and the resulting shrinking of the world compel us to ask whether the regnant standard--territorially demarcated borders--is the best determinant of national identity. If Jews are not concentrated in a single state, but in fact a majority live outside it, might we not be emboldened to think of a new paradigm of global collectivity in our globalized world? Just as we await a new theory to explain and order political organization in our twenty-first century world, so too we might ask whether the prevailing state-centered model of Jewish collectivity is in need of modification or even replacement.

Topic: Diaspora Relations, Peoplehood, Israel-Diaspora Relations, Globalization, Leadership, Unity, Zionism, Nationalism

Name of Publication: The Peoplehood Papers

Editor: Ravid, Shlomi

Volume/Issue: Volume 5

Page Number(s): p. 8-11

Funder: Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) , Nadav Fund , UJA-Federation of New York

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Genre: Essay

Coverage: Israel , World

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Myers, David N. Rethinking Global Jewish Collectivity in a Post-Statist World. The Peoplehood Papers. The Jewish Peoplehood Hub. April 2010: p. 8-11.


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