Best Of The Web
“Judaism has been described as many things: a culture, a people, a religion, a nationality, and more (including, according to answers given to the 2013 Pew survey of American Jews, a culinary disposition for bagels and smoked salmon or the possession of a good sense of humor). Let me here propose an existential minimum of what being Jewish should mean. It should mean that one’s Jewish affiliation not only forms a central part of one’s identity but also defines much of one’s actual way of life—one’s practice.
Although, sadly, the second half of this two-part premise is not shared by many Jews themselves, it has wide implications for how we think about the mass phenomenon that Haivry describes—that is, the expressed desire of untold numbers of newcomers somehow to attach themselves to the Jewish people—and about the response to that phenomenon by the rabbinic gatekeepers who in Israel determine the standards of religious conversion to Judaism.
Haivry begins by describing the two “circles” (as he calls them) of the world’s core Jewish population: namely, Israeli Jews and their counterparts in the Diaspora. Demographically, Israel is largely thriving, with a robust birthrate; by contrast, the Diaspora is suffering a numerical decline that will lead it to lose half of its numbers within the coming generation. Although Haivry does not state the fact openly, it must be acknowledged that by far the majority of those falling away are either members of one of the non-Orthodox religious denominations or, even likelier, those unaffiliated with any denomination or communal structure.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"U.S. President Donald Trump thinks he’s suffered more injustice than the alleged witches of Salem, but it could be worse. Pakistan’s former president Pervez Musharaff faced possible impeachment in 2008, leading to his resignation. In the end..."
"The 2000s felt like a decade of looking forward. Wi-Fi went mainstream, phones got smarter, social media connected us, digital tools let us rely less on physical ones. But the 2010s brought a shift. There was still tons of new technology, but..."
"While some women experience pregnancy and childbirth as joyful, natural and fulfilling, others find themselves recoiling in horror at the physical demands of carrying and sustaining a child in their womb, and even more so at the potential..."
"A few months ago, the New York Post’s Steve Cuozzo bemoaned the death of the Manhattan power lunch. Gone were the long, decadent afternoons filled with networking and Negronis: “Suit-and-tie-wearing machers in media and Wall Street gave way to..."
"Economic inequality has moved to the top of the political agenda in many countries, including free-market poster children like the US and the UK. The issue is mobilizing the left and causing headaches on the right, where wealth has long been..."
"If you’re not familiar with the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats — or even if you are — then you probably have many, many questions going into the film adaptation this weekend, especially if you’ve witnessed the widespread bafflement the trailer..."
"Despite his precisely targeted campaign and some unexpected support, the chances of Gideon Saar engineering a surprise defeat of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Dec. 26 primaries for the Likud party leadership are still considered modest.."
"Peter Thiel is Big Tech’s most prominent Trump supporter. He is an unabashed enemy of the free press, having covertly funded a lawsuit that bankrupted Gawker three years ago. He has become one of the most vocal pro-monopoly advocates, taking a..."