March 25, 2019

How to Reinvigorate Zionism

“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.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"China’s Hydrogen economy Is coming: The world’s electric-vehicle king is seeking leadership in fuel cells, too. Investors are probably right to be excited."

"It would be the height of naivete to believe the book is closed. Democrats on Capitol Hill are not just going to take the attorney general's conclusions and move on to new things."

"Netanyahu has brazenly allied himself with Trump’s Administration and his family (including the cryptic peace negotiator, Jared Kushner, whose family he has known for years), as well as with the Republican Party and Republican funders..."

"Us is stranger than Get Out, with deeper philosophical undercurrents flowing through it. The rabbit that greets you at the movie’s start is an invitation. Will you follow, like Alice in her Wonderland?"

"Democrats and Republicans seem to have irreconcilable views on economics, but on one point they agree: Small business is better than big."

"Sanctuary, a digital astrology start-up backed by $1.5 million in venture capital, made the considered decision to launch its service on Wednesday — the dawn of the new astrological year, when Pisces gives way to Aries in the astral cycle."

"It is a Vessel for the depths of architectural cynicism, of form without ideology and without substance: an architectural practice that puts the commodifiable image above all else, including the social good..."

"Apartment Therapy posted a photo to Instagram of a bookshelf with the spines facing inward, and the dramatic response — dozens of users denouncing the trend as anti-intellectual, even comparing it to book-burning ..."

"Perhaps it is time to add parenting to the growing list of “replacement religions” competing for our attention and currency these days, a list that already includes workism and politics."

"Only a fraction of the world’s yeast species have been discovered. The ones still out there could revolutionize health care, green energy, and beer."

"We’ve recently fixated on expunging “fake news” but the medical world also has its charlatans. The snake-oil salespeople, masquerading as health professionals, are naturopaths."

"...should we continue to teach thinkers like Kant, Voltaire and Hume without mention of the harmful prejudices they helped legitimize?"