Chancellor Eisen in Haaretz on the New Pew Report: "Reengaging American Jews - Before They Drift Away"
Dear JTS Community,
The most recent report on American Jews from the Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project makes it crystal clear: this is no longer our grandparents' Jewish community—nor, for that matter, that of our parents.
The statistics say that, in the last 10 years, interest in Jewish religion has continued to decline and the number of intermarriages has increased—how should we respond to this information? What do these changes mean to Jewish life as a whole? And what is Judaism anyway? A religion? A people? A culture?
I had a beautiful day today. I stood with my sister, a passionate rabbi serving the U.S. Navy as a chaplain, at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. We remembered our grandfather of blessed memory, who fought for America and shared hard-earned wisdom with his children and grandchildren.
I looked to my right and saw the Washington Monument. Looked to my left at the Lincoln Memorial. I read quotes engraved on massive stones. And I felt, to my core, one sad feeling: too much war.
Too. Much. War.
The quotes and certain retellings of history would have me believe that we fought for pure purposes: we fought for religious freedom, we fought to end slavery, we fought for freedom for all humanity, we fought to end tyranny. But it's also true that we fought (and fight) for economic interests. It&…