Strategic Directions for Jewish Life: A Call to Action

September 27, 2015

American Jewry now stands at a crossroads. Our choices are stark: we either accept as inevitable the declining numbers of engaged Jews, or we work to expand the community and improve the quality of Jewish life going forward. 

Despite the evidence of deeply disturbing population trends, the community is bereft of any sense of crisis. 

This posture stands in stark contrast to what happened in the 1990’s when communal organizations acknowledged a Jewish continuity crisis and created elaborate task forces and special programs to address it.  These include effective programs, such as Birthright Israel and leadership training efforts. Today’s near-inaction bespeaks a self-imposed helplessness. The time to mobilize the Jewish community to adopt effective policies and programs is now.

Moving Forward

In brief, we need to advance on multiple fronts in the coming years. The American Jewish community needs: 

A communal mobilization campaign

Diminished costs for day school tuition

More emphasis upon quality supplemental schooling that extends at least seven years

Major investment in low-cost Jewish summer camps

Thousands of Jewish teenagers traveling to Israel

Significant expansion of Jewish youth groups

Congregations prioritizing their teenagers

More outreach-oriented and pluralist rabbis, both on and off campus

Jewish cultural events, prayer communities, and learning activities among Jewish young adults

Retreat experiences for young couples and families

Jewish Public Health Education aimed at parents and grandparents

Continue and expand Birthright Israel’s numbers

 

We believe these steps are not only urgently necessary for a healthier Jewish future, but are also achievable in our time. 

Topic: Jewish Communal Responsibility, Assimilation

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Genre: Blog Post, Essay, Opinion

Language: English

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Strategic Directions for Jewish Life: A Call to Action. 27 September 2015: http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=22553