Structural Challenges to Jewish Continuity

By Jonathan D. Sarna

Behrman House Publishing, Susan and David Wilstein Institute of Jewish Policy Studies (University of Judaism), 1997

The widespread concern today with the issue of Jewish continuity -- a new term for what used to be called Jewish survivalism -- indicates that the strategies devised over the past century to ensure the Jewish future have not worked out as well as we had hoped. These strategies include: The study of Jewish history; the revolution in Jewish education; the emphasis on acquiring a Jewish language-Hebrew, and to a lesser extent, Yiddish; the many efforts aimed at revitalizing Jewish religious and spiritual life, as well as the synagogue; programs aimed at deepening the wellsprings of Jewish culture; the movement to strengthen the bonds of Jewish community (the kehillah experiments early in the 20th century) and more recently the development of havurot); the call to embrace a Jewish mission of social justice or tikkun olam; the attempt to strengthen feelings of shared Jewish ethnicity; the raising of Holocaust consciousness and a commitment to "no posthumous victories for Hitler"; and finally, of course, Zionism and deepening Jewish attachments to the State of Israel. All of these strategies have proved highly persuasive and, alas, all have turned out to be only somewhat effective. Whatever their promise, not one has fully succeeded in practice. The proof, if any is needed, is that today continuity is back at the very top of our American Jewish communal agenda.

Topic: History, Continuity, Generational Issues, Education, Unity, Jewish Continuity

Name of Publication: American Jewry: Portrait and Prognosis

Editor: Gordis, David M. , Gray, Dorit P.

Page Number(s): 404-408

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Genre: Conference Presentation

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Author

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Sarna, Jonathan D. Structural Challenges to Jewish Continuity. American Jewry: Portrait and Prognosis. Behrman House Publishing,Susan and David Wilstein Institute of Jewish Policy Studies (University of Judaism). 1997: 404-408.


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