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“Beware, woe-is-me worriers mourning an Israel-Diaspora rupture – good news! Last week 1,100 people gathered in Palo Alto – yes, in California – to talk Zionism. The idea – spearheaded by the Oshman Family JCC’s Zach Bodner and Tel Aviv’s Reut Institute – was to launch a “Z3” movement reaffirming Jewish peoplehood and redefining Zionism today.
“Z3” organizes Zionist history as I do in The Zionist Ideas. Until 1948, the Pioneers imagined Israel. Then the Builders built from 1948 through 1998. I call “Z3s” – the third generation – “Torchbearers.” Heirs to an amazing heritage, we, like runners in the Olympic relay, keep it going, growing, glowing.
Thankfully, the Z3 Conference didn’t degenerate into the III, the Israel Indignation Industry, where liberals lament Israel’s sins, while conservatives bemoan the world’s hatred.
Still, we disagreed. In the opening panel, the moderator, Doron Krakow, heading the national JCC – Jewish Community Center – movement, got three of us debating. Former justice minister Yossi Beilin trashed Israel’s rabbinate before hundreds of non-Orthodox American Jews. Although I share his contempt, throwing such rhetorical red meat to the crowd risked validating those American Jews who use the phrase “Israel-Diaspora relations” as code for “why Israel sucks – and how that justifies our kids intermarrying.” Scapegoating Israel obscures American Jewry’s real challenge: in abandoning Judaism en masse, American Jews abandon Israel, too.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."
"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."
"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"
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"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "
"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."
"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."
"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."
"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."
"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."
"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"