I was particularly struck by Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s CEO, Steve Rakitt’s “Voices” column this week (Page 17). It contrasts with a sermon I heard this past Shabbat while I was attending a family bar mitzvah out of town. The rabbi there mentioned the “Pew” study while pinching his nose. Yes, the results stink, but they certainly didn’t come as a surprise. I like Rakitt’s approach to the news — let the study serve as a clarion call for action.
Let me say up front that I am not worried. Judaism has survived as long as it has because it’s dynamic. The Judaism today is not the Judaism of our parents or grandparents or great-grandparents. And it won’t be the Judaism of our children. It speaks to each generation slightly differently. As long as the core values remain, as long as a base in Torah and ethics and law remains, it is Judaism.
So what to do? I’d like to move forward with an idea suggested by Steve Rakitt and use Washington Jewish Week as a forum for ideas. And, as we wrote in our editorial last week, we must think big. Huge, even. We must dispend disbelief and forego details that impede creativity. Free Jewish nursery school? No, we can’t afford it, but let’s put it on the board and brainstorm. Birthright for everyone, be they high school students or retirees? Why not? Let’s explore the possibilities.