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“There is no young leadership if the young people branded as such have no real place in these bodies”

We have to make space for these young leaders in our normative governing structures. There is no young leadership if the young people branded as such have no real place in these bodies. Observing may be informative and donating a certain minimum gift is nice too, but to have young leadership means that they have a proportional share of the leadership body of the organization.

Sarah Eisenman, “A Young Leadership Lesson, From 1960?” eJewish Philanthropy (3 July 2012) {http://ejewishphilanthropy.com/a-young-leadership-lesson-from-1960/}

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Aesthetic Identity versus Collective Identity in the Jewish World

In referencing Jewish sociologist Steven Cohen, Smokler distinguished between the normative and aesthetic approach to Judaism – with the normative approach meaning anything larger than oneself and one’s immediate family while aesthetic refers to the more personal and journey oriented approach.

 

“We have reached an extreme where the normative approach has become the purview of the Orthodox community,” said Smokler. “Without the normative approach, the very idea of community is strained, [and what we’re left with is] a lifestyle enclave, a group of individuals with similar consumer patterns.”

 

“We face a challenge that young potential leaders do not have a collective identity – they have an aesthetic identity. We need both,” he continued.

Abigail Pickus, “The Search for the Jewish Holy Grail: NextGen Leaders,” eJewish Philanthropy (3 July 2012) {http://ejewishphilanthropy.com/the-search-for-the-jewish-holy-grail-nextgen-leaders/}

“Today’s public honors are more routinely bestowed on successful individuals in finance, or industry, or the arts whose personal lives are bereft of Jewish content”

…there was a time when American Jewish leaders chose their heroes and communal role models from the ranks of figures like Haym Solomon, a financier of the American Revolution. They may have overstated Solomon’s contributions to the war effort, but at least he was an engaged and observant Jew. Today’s public honors are more routinely bestowed on successful individuals in finance, or industry, or the arts whose personal lives are bereft of Jewish content.

Is this the road to Jewish group survival? In light of what is at stake, one wonders who is prepared to undertake the urgent task of constructing a more honest and more challenging story about the place of Jews and Judaism in America, a story of gratitude, patriotism, and compatibility, but also of difference, dissent, and distinctiveness.

Jack Wertheimer, “America and the Jews: Different, or the Same?”, Jewish Ideas Daily (13 October 2010) {http://www.jewishideasdaily.com/735/features/america-and-the-jews-different-or-the-same/}

“Far too many Jews are too lazy mentally to take the trouble to inform themselves about the trends and currents of contemporary life”

Far too many Jews are too lazy mentally to take the trouble to inform themselves about the trends and currents of contemporary life, and of how they and their lives fit into the pattern of what is happening…. They make a virtue out of their ignorance of the Jewish past, thus dispossessing themselves of vital links to the present and the future. As far as religion is concerned, when they do affiliate with synagogues and, when they do occasionally attend services of worship, they look upon it as a form of entertainment headlined by a rabbinical performer in the pulpit. The phrase, “I enjoyed the sermon,” is one of the chief criteria of the religiosity of the modern Jew.

Leon I. Feuer, On Being a Jew (New York: Bloch Publishing Company, 1947), 6.