Best Of The Web
“With Yom Kippur now behind us, the results of the 2013 Pew survey indicate that 39 percent of the members of Conservative synagogues and 60 percent of Reform temple members will next show up at services on Sept. 29, 2019, the first day of Rosh HaShanah 5780.
That’s sobering and discouraging news, especially for rabbis around the country — and doesn’t even deal with the growing number of young Jews with no affiliation at all.”
It’s no secret that rabbis have been blamed in large measure for the low synagogue attendance on Shabbat at non-Orthodox congregations throughout the year and for High Holy Day services often criticized as too long, boring and of little meaning to most attendees. But is that really fair?
Jack Wertheimer, a professor of American Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Seminary, has been a sharp critic at times of American Jewish religious practices, or lack thereof, over the years. But his thoughtful and enlightening new book, “The New American Judaism: How Jews Practice Their Religion Today” (Princeton University Press), offers up a fuller portrait of what’s really going on in synagogues and religious life on the ground. It deals with the major, perhaps insurmountable, obstacles to traditional observance and practice, with Jews less likely than other religious groups in America to believe in God, attend services regularly and observe rituals. Most Jews have little Jewish education and can read little or no Hebrew. On a deeper level, in an age of self-help and self-actualization, most Jews don’t believe in mitzvot as obligations or a God of “Thou Shalts and Thou Shalt Nots.””
JJ Best Of The Web
"Until recently, most Americans have understood that the biggest threats to their privacy came from their own government."
"As the charges, indictments, plea deal, and years of incarceration pile up over the next couple of years, I'll never stop being amazed at the incredible galaxy of thieves and lowlifes this president* attracts."
"Sometimes anti-Zionists are — surprise! — homicidal anti-Semites, too. That’s a thought that can’t be far from the mind of anyone living in northern Israel..."
"Some things never change. The sun rises in the east. Forks are set on the left. And if there is a pregnant woman in a movie, she will go into labor at the worst possible moment."
"The American dream is about the opportunity to earn happiness—and the government has a responsibility to facilitate that."
"A reflection on my month without Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon, plus a how-to guide if you want to quit the biggest companies in tech."
"Against moral sainthood: As philosopher Susan Wolf argues, life is far more meaningful and rich if we do not aim at being morally perfect."
"We all know two plus two equals four. And we begin with that. We learn to add before we learn how to take away, to lose. It’s a great way to learn how to write. "
"There is no shortage of songs, movies and television shows depicting the difficulties of breakups with a romantic partner. But when it comes to navigating the end of friendships, it can feel like we’re on our own."
"The rapidly growing trend of veganism is likely to become another major contributor to hidden hunger in the developed world."
"Thankfully, in science, we don't need to be there ourselves to have proof. Here are four different pieces of evidence we can point to that demonstrate the Moon landings actually occurred."
"It’s December again, which means it’s time to put away childish things and once again heed our era’s highest moral calling and resume our arguments about Love, Actually."