Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Is Jewish Education Broken?


"Is Jewish Education Broken?" is the title of a panel debate being held in New York in two weeks. It looks like it will be a really interesting and valuable evening. Sadly I will not be able to attend. I would like to recommend that you do if you are available. Details are below.

My friend and colleague, Rabbi Gary Greene saw the session title and took issue with it. He said "...knowing what so many colleagues are doing to improve Jewish Education, I have come dislike rhetorical titles like 'Is Jewish Education Broken?' It's like asking 'Do you still beat your wife?'  I find that title self-defeating prophecy to which the answer has to be yes...Why not focus on the exciting innovations going on in Jewish Education?  ...I think a better title could be "How might we meet the challenges of Jewish Education today?"

You go, Gary. Amen Selah. I agree. Now go to the session if you can!

Ira



DISTINGUISHED EXPERTS TO DEBATE THE FUTURE OF
LIBERAL JEWISH EDUCATION IN AMERICA

Five Leading Scholars Discuss New Visions

For Jewish Schools at a Free Event on December 13


NEW YORK, N.Y. … “Is Jewish Education Broken?,” debates new visions for liberal Jewish schools in the 21st century. This free event takes place on Thursday, December 13 at 7pm and is hosted by the 14th Street Y. “Is Jewish Education Broken?” is presented by Speakers’ Lab, a new public programming initiative of the Posen Foundation, with Tablet Magazine and The New School for Public Engagement, Jewish Cultural Studies Program.

As enrollment declines in liberal Jewish schools, scholars and educators are asking critical questions about the relevance of Jewish education to today’s students. “Is Jewish Education Broken?” will explore current models and challenges facing liberal Jewish education, and propose new curricula and educational models for teachers and administrators for the future. Concerns and topics will include:
  • The discrepancy between 20th century Jewish educational models and 21st century perspectives on Jewish life.
  • The teaching of Jewish culture as ahistorical and disconnected from contemporary life.
  • The role of Jewish schooling in Jewish continuity.
  • Concerns about using the American school model to teach Jewish culture.
  • The rise of new and informal Jewish educational models.
  • The challenges of teaching minority education in America.
To discuss these issues and more, this panel brings together five forward-thinking scholars including: Zvi Bekerman, Director of the Melton Centre for Jewish Education, School of Education, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Benjamin Jacobs, Assistant Professor of Social Studies, Education and Jewish Studies, New York University; Jonathan Krasner, Associate Professor of the American Jewish Experience, Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion; and Tali Zelkowicz, Assistant Professor of Education, Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. The discussion will be moderated by Bethamie Horowitz, Research Assistant Professor, New York University.

This is Speakers’ Lab’s second program. The next public program will take place in the Spring of 2013.

Admission to “Is Jewish Education Broken?” is free. Seating is limited and pre-registration is encouraged. Sign-up at www.speakerslab.org or by calling 212-564-6711 x 305.

Event and Venue Info:
The Theater at the 14th Street Y

344 East 14th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues)
New York, NY 10003

Posen Foundation (posenfoundation.org)
The Posen Foundation’s mission is rooted in the belief that Jewish education can make a meaningful difference in Jewish life and should be available to all who are interested. To this end, the Foundation works internationally to promote Jewish learning, support academic research in Jewish history and culture, and encourage participation in Jewish cultural life.

As part of this effort, in 2012 the Posen Foundation launched its new public programming initiative, Speakers’ Lab (www.speakerslab.org), which is dedicated to exploring new perspectives on Jewish culture and identity. Based in New York City, Speakers’ Lab presents debates, arts performances, and panel discussions in collaboration with other organizations and venues. In 2012, Speakers’ Lab is presenting two events, one in the spring and one in the fall.
 
The New School (newschool.edu)
The New School is a legendary, progressive university comprising seven schools bound by a common, unusual intent: to prepare and inspire its more than 10,500 undergraduate and graduate students to bring actual, positive change to the world. From its Greenwich Village campus, The New School launches economists and actors, fashion designers and urban planners, dancers and anthropologists, orchestra conductors, filmmakers, political scientists, organizational experts, jazz musicians, scholars, psychologists, historians, journalists, and above all, world citizens-individuals whose ideas and innovations forge new paths of progress in the arts, design, humanities, public policy, and the social sciences. In addition to its 92 graduate and undergraduate degree-granting programs, the university offers certificate programs and more than 650 continuing education courses to 5,619 adult learners every year.

Tablet Magazine (tabletmag.com)Tablet Magazine, at tabletmag.com, is the daily online magazine of Jewish news, ideas, and culture.

14th Street Y (14streety.org)
The 14th Street Y, a Jewish community center in the heart of Manhattan’s East Village, is a vital neighborhood resource that welcomes people of all backgrounds. We offer programs with a distinctive downtown point of view, emphasizing excellence, innovation, creativity, and a questioning spirit.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

U.S. Jews Fighting Wrong Battle

A copy of a book by author Peter Beinart
under the chair of an audience member
as Beinart speaks at an event in Atlanta,
apart from the book fair, on Nov. 14, 2012.
(David Goldman/AP)
Like many, I have spent a fair amount of time monitoring a variety of sources to see what is going on in Israel. And like some I feel torn that I am not there sharing the stresses and helping. The truth is,  given my lack of training and experience, I would probably just be in the way their. But I can help spread the word. There are two postings I have rad over the past several days that I want to make sure as many people as possible read and think about and hopefully act on. Here is one of them. It was posted Friday on Tablet and written by Rabbi Daniel Gordis.

As rockets rain down on Israel, an Atlanta JCC bans Peter Beinart. When did we become so narrow-minded?

This has been a frightening and sad week in Israel. First, Hamas unleashed 160 rockets on Israeli towns. Then the IDF responded, and Israeli civilians were ordered—and many remain—in bomb shelters. And as was almost inevitable, some who did not heed the warnings were killed by rocket fire. At this writing, the end is nowhere in sight.

If there can be said to be a silver lining in this horrendous situation, it’s in the broad range of support for the prime minister’s decision to protect his citizens. “Labor, Kadima, Olmert, Livni back government’s air assault on Hamas,” reported the Times of Israel. But it shouldn’t take war for Jews to acknowledge that we’re utterly dependent on each other, no matter how deeply we may disagree.

Far from the fighting, the conversation among American Jews about Israel has become so toxic that it’s often impossible even for people who are allies to listen to each other. Not long ago, I was invited by a major national Jewish organization to give a lecture in the United States. Soon after, the person who’d invited me called me in Jerusalem to tell me that the major sponsors of the event had pulled their support and their funding because I’d signed a letter asking the Prime Minister Netanyahu to ignore a legal report claiming that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is not technically an occupation.

“You’re not embarrassed?” I asked her. She couldn’t understand why she should possibly be embarrassed. She explained that her organization believed that the report was important for defending Israel’s international legitimacy. “That’s fine,” I said, “and I think that adopting it would do us great damage. But so what? Doesn’t the fact that we disagree make it all the more critical that we talk to each other? Or have we reached the point where your supporters will listen only to those with whom they agree completely? Your sponsors based their decision to invite me on a record of 15 years of writing and speaking. I do one thing that they don’t approve of, and they pull the plug?”

That’s precisely what they did. I ended up giving the lecture, but the sponsors never restored their support.
They represent, I believe, a scary anti-intellectual trend in the Jewish community. These people believe that an increasingly narrow tent will best protect the state of Israel, and so they continue to move the tent’s pegs. But they are doing just the opposite of bolstering the Jewish state: They weaken Israel and make it more vulnerable because they exclude enormous swaths of the community that we need—particularly on a week like this.

The latest example of this narrowing happened this week in Atlanta, where one of the country’s major Jewish book fairs canceled an appearance by the writer Peter Beinart. “As leaders of our agency, we want the center to always serve as a safe place for honest debate, but we want to balance that against the concerns of our patrons,” said Steven Cadranel, president of the Marcus Jewish Community Center. I have no unique knowledge of what actually transpired, but this has become an old story: Many Jewish organizations have been pushed into such corners by donors who refused to contribute to festivals or organizations who will host people whose views they find reprehensible. Jewish community professionals regularly find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

I disagree with Peter Beinart on more issues than I can count. I was appalled by his oped in the Times calling for a boycott on some Israelis, and I found his most recent book far too accommodating of Israel’s enemies and unfairly critical of Israel. I think he’s completely wrong when he asserts the occupation is the core cause of Israel’s marginality. But his views represent those of a not inconsiderable swath of American Jewry, so I agreed to debate him at Columbia University. Our debate was fun—and far more important, it was civil.

I don’t know how many minds were changed that night; Beinart’s wasn’t, and neither was mine. But we did model for the hundreds of people who were there and the many more who watched the debate online that the Jewish community doesn’t have the luxury of refusing to speak to those who disagree with us. Instead, Peter and I did what the Jews have always done: We engaged the ideas, assumptions, and moral positions of the other, and in the spirit of the brave marketplace of ideas that Judaism has always been, tried to make our most compelling case.

Are there no limits to who’s in the Zionist tent? Of course there are. For me, the litmus tests are Israel’s Jewishness, democracy, and security. Anyone publicly committed to those three—even if I believe that their policy ideas are wrong-minded—is in the tent. There are many Israeli politicians whose ideas I believe are na├»ve or dangerous. But should I say that they’re not Zionists? That would absurd. For the same reason, Beinart is in my tent.

Speaking with people who agree with me is no challenge. Engaging with those whose views seem to me dangerous is infinitely harder, but far more important. That sort of conversation is perhaps the most critical lesson that we inherit from centuries of Talmudic Judaism. The Talmud is essentially a 20-volume argument, in which even positions that “lost” the battle and were not codified into law are subjected to reverential examination. When Hillel and Shammai debate, Jewish law, or halakhah, almost always follows Hillel. But we still study Shammai with reverence. Even those views not codified, we believe, have insights to share and moral positions worth considering.

The American Jewish community is the most secure diaspora community the Jews have ever known. Economically, socially, politically, culturally—we have made it, and what we say and model is watched by countless others. Yet New York Times readers this week can only conclude that in the midst of that security and comfort, we’ve utterly abandoned the intellectual curiosity that has long been Judaism’s hallmark.

Are we not ashamed to have created a community so shrill that any semblance of that Talmudic curiosity has been banished? Has the People of the Book really become so uninterested in thinking?


Taking Back the “Z” Word!

Like many, I have spent a fair amount of time monitoring a variety of sources to see what is going on in Israel. And like some I feel torn that I am not there sharing the stresses and helping. The truth is,  given my lack of training and experience, I would probably just be in the way their. But I can help spread the word. There are two postings I have rad over the past several days that I want to make sure as many people as possible read and think about and hopefully act on. Here is one of them. It was posted today on eJewishPhilanthropy and written by Rabbi Loren Sykes.

While over one million Israeli citizens need to be close enough to protected shelters to avoid death by missiles shot with the intention of killing civilians, while thousands of missiles have been shot from Gaza into Israel on a near daily basis over the past few year, reclaiming our 2,000 year old dream, “being a free people in the Land of Zion and Jerusalem,” from those who seek to destroy us, seems to me to be the least we can do.

With tensions escalating throughout the region, with increasing numbers of citizens living under the threat of missile attacks, it is not surprising that an important date in modern Jewish and Israeli history passed by [last week] virtually unnoticed. On November 11, 1975, the United Nations General Assembly passed the infamous Resolution 3379 declaring that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” While the UN revoked the resolution in 1991 after the first Gulf War as an enticement to gain Israel’s involvement in the Madrid Peace Conference, General Assembly Resolution 4686 could not undue the damage already done. The revocation, while symbolically important, was irrelevant in practice. The basis for today’s efforts to delegitimize Israel were sown and given legitimacy by the UN with the 1975 resolution. The term “Zionism” became anathema, the equivalent of the actually repugnant “N” word.

The 1975 UN resolution initiated a process whereby individuals, countries and terrorist groups co-opted Zionism for their own purposes, turning it into the “Z” word. To make matters worse, by preceding the “Z” word with the modifier, “Anti,” they gave themselves cover from accusations of anti-Semitism. “We don’t hate individual Jews; rather, we are just opposed to Israel.” The far left throughout the world, the Jewish world included, took ownership of Zionism, turned it into the “Z” word and claimed that those who were Zionists were, by definition, racists, discriminators and murderers.

Worse still, as the far left claimed the “Z” term with greater and greater passion, many in the organized Jewish world distanced themselves from using the word Zionism. Sadly, that distancing continues today. The result is the strengthening of radical BDS groups who revel in our embarrassment while, at the same time, strengthening the true racists and murderous terror organizations and the regimes, past, present and emerging, that support them. Terms such as “pro-Israel” and phrases such as “support Israel” are wonderful. At the same time, I believe they represent reactions to the co-opting of the word Zionism by those who hate Israel, who seek to delegitimate it and to destroy it. “Pro-Israel” is clearly a reaction to “Anti-Israel.” The time has come for a new strategy, one that is proactive rather than reactive.

Instead of distancing ourselves from Zionism, we must reclaim the word and celebrate it anywhere and everywhere. While definitions abound, we must make clear that the meaning of the term Zionism is “the certain knowledge of the right of the Jewish People to a safe, sovereign State in our ancient and ancestral homeland.” We must cease arguing the legitimacy of this right with those who seek to delegitimate Zionism, Zionists and The State of Israel. Engaging in such argument is a waste of time as it simply legitimates the ability to raise the question of our right, a right that is as inalienable as it is ancient.

When others try to embarrass us by turning Zionism into the abhorrent “Z” word, we cannot not run and hide. Our response must be clear, full-throated and unbending: Those who deny the fact of the “the right of the Jewish People to a safe, sovereign State in our ancient and ancestral homeland” are the racists, the spreaders of hatred, the hypocrites. One can accept the fact of this right and still be critical of or have a problem with specific policies. One cannot, however, be a denier of the fact of Israel and expect to be invited to join, be part of or initiate conversations that seeks to solve those problems by eliminating that fact.

Being “pro-Israel” or “supporting Israel” is important. We need as many people as possible to side with Israel, to support her, to love her. What we need even more, however, is for everyone who knows with certainty the fact of “the right of the Jewish People to a safe, sovereign State in our ancient and ancestral homeland,” everyone throughout the world – Jews and non-Jews alike – to take back the “Z” word from those among our detractors who seek to destroy Israel. We must remove any sense of shame that others may give to it, shouting loudly to the world in a strong, clear voice that the “right of the Jewish People to a safe, sovereign State in our ancient and ancestral homeland” is a non-negotiable fact.

While over one million Israeli citizens need to be close enough to protected shelters to avoid death by missiles shot with the intention of killing civilians, while thousands of missiles have been shot from Gaza into Israel on a near daily basis over the past few year, reclaiming our 2,000 year old dream, “being a free people in the Land of Zion and Jerusalem,” from those who seek to destroy us, seems to me to be the least we can do.

Rabbi Loren Sykes serves as the CEO and Executive Director of the Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center of the USCJ. Title and organization affiliation are solely for identification purposes. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s alone.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A MANIFESTO OF JEWISH EDUCATION

My friend and colleague, Shalom Berger, is the director of e-communities at the Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel. He distributes a wonderful listserv called LookJed. While it primarily serves day school educators, I have found it to be a great source of ideas, resources and information in the years I have been receiving it. Recently he posted this piece by Aryeh ben David. I has really made me think. A lot. I would love to hear your thoughts!

Ira



Aryeh ben David
We’ve hit a wall in our delivery of Jewish Education. We have made great strides in teaching basic Jewish literacy – in explaining Jewish texts, educating the mind, and disseminating information. Jewish educators have excelled at this during the last 25 years.

But preserving the past will not get us to a better future.

The time has come for the next phase of Jewish Education: Personalizing Jewish wisdom. Bringing Jewish wisdom into our hearts and into our lives. We need to allow Jewish wisdom to make us better Jews and transform us into our best selves. We need to allow it to be the force for hearing the unique calling each of us have – in our daily behavior and in the big issues in our lives. This is the key to our future.

25 years ago Jewish knowledge was restricted to a tiny fraternity of rabbis and scholars. The role of Rabbis and educators was to create a literate people. Today, we have witnessed an explosion of access to Jewish information and texts: Israel study programs, Limmud programs, vast online resources, Melton Mini-Schools and adult education classes. People joke about consulting Rabbi Google. Just about everything has been translated. The battle for disseminating and acquiring information about Judaism is over. We have won. We know how to preserve the wisdom of our past. We have succeeded in teaching people to hear other people’s voices: the voices of tradition, the rabbis, and the commentators. The voices of the past.

Educators have become so expert in delivering the voices of the past that they often never discover their own voice. They are a megaphone for what was, and are often afraid to move out of this comfort zone. We’ve become stuck in the success of our scholarship and pedagogy and the question is often – “who knows more voices of the past?”

But today we need more.

Today – it’s not about information – it’s about transformation.

Today – it’s not about knowledge – it’s about wisdom.

Today – our educational goal should be not only to preserve our voices of the past, but to enable and encourage our own authentic voices to be heard and to enable personal and spiritual growth.

Today – most importantly, it’s about the future.

Today, we must ask:
  • How can we use the explosion of information to teach for transformation?
  • How can we bring this mass of Jewish wisdom into our hearts and lives?
  • How can Jewish education enable us to become better, kinder, more compassionate, idealistic, and authentic Jews?
  • How can we use the voices from the past to create a different and better future?

We need not forego our past successes, but we must wake up to the need for a different model of Jewish education. The Jewish world, like the general world, has evolved drastically over the last 25 years.

We must understand that education for transformation is a wholly different paradigm than education for information.

I contend that the goal of religious education should not only be to know how to continue the tradition, but essentially - in light of the tradition, how can we help our children find and clarify the unique voice of their souls?

A Rabbi recently told me that this approach is completely treif. He said: “Personal authenticity is just the code word for the yetzer hara and self-indulgence.”

I beg to disagree. This is not a narcissistic indulgence. We did not create our uniqueness – God did. We did not create the singular mandate our soul was given to better this world – God did. God gave us particular qualities and a unique life-mission in this world.

It is heresy to not listen to the voice of the soul that God gave us. It is heresy not to clarify our God-given unique purpose in this world.

And while we – parents, teachers, rabbis, professionals – try to educate our children with the wisdom of our tradition and experience, there is only one voice which can truly help them achieve this goal of fulfilling their God-given uniqueness and purpose in this world. There is only one voice which truly knows them – and it is the voice of their own soul.

I recently visited four elite high schools in the US. Devoted teachers and talented students. I asked the students: “Where in high school do you have an opportunity to personally explore your own unique spiritual path? When do you have the opportunity to listen to your own voice?” The vast majority of them answered clearly and emphatically: “Nowhere. Zero opportunity. We always have to listen. No one is listening to us. No one gives us the opportunity to listen to ourselves. It’s as if they are afraid of it.”

Our past improvements in Jewish education were necessary to preserve Jewish continuity. Now, we must move ahead and make the improvements necessary to create a vibrant Jewish future.

If we want to become a Holy nation, a light unto other nations, then continuity is not enough. Information alone will not transform us into our better selves. To fulfill our destiny and centuries of dreams, we must find the resolve and courage to open the door to the next level of Jewish education…and then walk boldly in.

Aryeh Ben David is the Founder and Director of Ayeka: Center for Soulful Education. Ayeka developed a unique educational approach and curriculum to enable adults to personalize Jewish wisdom and enhance their lives. www.ayeka.org.il

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Dissatisfied Nation

Another cross post from eJewishPhilanthropy.com. This essay is from The Peoplehood Papers, volume 9 - The Collective Jewish Conversation: Its Role, Purpose and Place in the 21st Century - published by the Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education. It is written by Shimon Peres. Yes, that Shimon Peres.

Readers of this blog know that I have been very interested in promoting Peoplehood as what may be our last opportunity to connect (or reconnect) Jews, Judaism and Israel to one another. This Sunday, the Westchester/Fairfield Association of Temple Educators (WATE) is hosting a Kallah for teachers in our synagogue schools on Peoplehood. Dr. Evie Rotstein is the Keynote speaker. She was one of the principal organizers of the Peoplehood conference at Oranim College this past February. I am looking forward to it.

The Dissatisfied Nation
by Shimon Peres


The Jewish People feels very much at home in the 21st century. It is a century of constant renewal, innovation and evolution. And it is my definite belief that what characterizes Jews above all is dissatisfaction. If I ever saw a totally satisfied Jew, I would be very surprised. From our early days, we rejected ignorance and postponed satisfaction. Jewish children are taught to question everything and the habit is never lost. It is that ongoing quest for betterment which has made us a people of research, a people of demand, a people of questions, a people of Tikkun Olam, never content with the world as it is and always believing and striving to improve it.

This aspiration for betterment resides today in the State of Israel, homeland of the Jews. It was a long road indeed until the Jewish People had a land and law of their own. The promised land was not exactly a promising land from a material point of view. As we settled into the land, planting seeds and building roads, we also undertook to create a just society of freedom and democracy. And until today, our people, leaders and friends around the world are devoted to supporting Israel’s progress in security, prosperity and democracy.

One of the ongoing struggles we are faced with is maintaining the balance between two core values: Israel as a Jewish State and Israel as a democratic one. While upholding Israel’s status as the homeland for the Jewish People, we must never forget to ensure that the minorities within Israel feel at home, making the State of Israel a homeland not only to the Jewish People, but to freedom and democracy. In this delicate balancing act, we attempt to harmonize between the particular and the universal.

This challenge is worthy of our undivided strength and efforts. We must strive to convey its urgency and its significance to the real protagonists of the story of the Jewish People – our children. The future of Zionism depends on Israel’s success in appealing to young Jews around the world.

The traditional paradigm, which bases our collective Jewish identity on a common history and shared threats, has become obsolete. Most young Jews across the world do not define their Jewish identity through fear and antisemitism.

Zionism envisions a confident Jew, building a homeland of light, justice, liberty and peace. The intention was to leave our national traumas behind and replace them with hope.

Over the years, many Israelis expected the Diaspora mainly to contribute funds to Israel without taking any interest in the challenges these communities faced. That is not the way to build a profound, long-lasting relationship. The connection between Israel and world Jewry, stemming from historic values and facing modern demands, must be based on dialogues between people. Our relationship should be that of a family. The State of Israel should unite us, not divide us.

We must formulate a vision for the future, which will unite us. A vision for the future of the Jewish people in the new age, in a modern and global world. A vision which stems from our heritage and carries us into the future, as old as the Ten Commandments and as daring as modern technology.

I believe that the distinction of the Jewish People is not only its existence against all odds. It is rather what our people make of their existence. Our choice out of all the temptations was to select the most difficult one, the most uncommon one, the moral choice.

In Egypt our people began their Exodus towards freedom. At Mount Sinai they became a nation. There at the top of the mountain Moses became the greatest lawmaker of the time. In ten basic commandments, he handed humanity guidelines for a just society. His laws were and still are a revolt against the conventions of his time – against slavery, against discrimination, against murder, against lying.

As I wonder what Judaism’s most significant contribution to the world has been, I am convinced that the global and ethical justification for Jewish continuity goes far beyond our fight for survival. In my eyes, the answer lies in the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam – bettering the world.

Jewish culture and philosophy are known for their endless quests, never satisfied with what has been learned and achieved. This quality has made Judaism one of the greatest contributors to the betterment of the world throughout the ages.

Tikkun Olam encompasses the three foundations of our vision – morality, knowledge and peace. These three components constitute the firm basis upon which the Jewish People has stood and endured throughout history

Morality – Jews have always been exceptionally involved in idealistic movements aspiring to right the wrongs of the world. We have to continue to provide the moral call in our daily lives as a nation and as a state, understanding that acting with morality is not only the right thing to do but also the highest level of wisdom.

Knowledge – The Jewish People, with a positively disproportional number of Nobel Prize winners, built a modern state which has become an endless source of start-up companies and approved patents, must continue striving to better the world through science and technology.

Peace – Peace is mentioned more in Jewish scripture than any other concept. God himself is described as “He who makes peace in his high places and shall make peace for us”. Peace is not merely a practical or diplomatic solution to guarantee the security and prosperity of the Jewish people; it is a Jewish and universal moral obligation. Peace in the eyes of the Jewish tradition is not just a matter of life and death, but it is a matter of moral life and immoral life. As one strives not only to live but to live well, it is our duty to try not just to exist but to live rightly, morally. The difference between war and peace in our tradition is not just a physical difference but a spiritual one, as it is said “not by power nor by strength but by spirit.”

Our legacy – morality, knowledge and peace – should be our agenda for today. This vision shall guide us, encourage us in difficult times, so that we may never despair in the trials which we will encounter. And so, with an eye on the horizon, let us join forces to tackle today’s demands – building a just society, ensuring the safety of our citizens, encouraging scientific research and development. We have overcome obstacles many a time. With courage and determination, we shall not lose hope and will face these challenges head on. Dissatisfaction has led us thus far and I am fully confident that it will carry us to new heights in the never-ending quest for Tikkun Olam.

This essay is from The Peoplehood Papers, volume 9 – The Collective Jewish Conversation: Its Role, Purpose and Place in the 21st Century - published by the Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education.

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