De-Constructing the Outreach-Inreach Debate

By Steven M. Cohen

Melton Centre for Jewish Education, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, November 1996

The article deconstructs the debate among the educationists between advocates of near-inreach (who would focus resources on the moderately affiliated in order to enrich and nurture the activist core of involved Jews) and advocates of far-outreach (who would focus resources on the least involved, especially intermarried Jews and their children). It presents certain socio-religious phenomena, like the rightward shift even among liberal Jews that results in a leaner and meaner Judaism, the steady rate of highly active Jews, the decline of the public sphere of Judaism as opposed to the private, and the evidence that moderately strict (in terms of religious expectations on their members) religious groups are more successful at maintaining and expanding their high commitment core than lenient ones, to argue that, in line with the near-inreach advocates, the Jewish community needs to set, articulate, and maintain high standards and expectations in terms of communal participation and in terms of some substantive areas, of which the most prominent are ritual observance, Torah learning, and social justice.

Topic: Jewish Identification, Outreach

Name of Publication: Jerusalem Papers on Jewish Continuity

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Genre: Report

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Cohen, Steven M. De-Constructing the Outreach-Inreach Debate. Jerusalem Papers on Jewish Continuity. Melton Centre for Jewish Education, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. November 1996:


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