The Life and Death of a Dream, Revisited

By Gary Rosenblatt

Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA), Spring 2011

The author describes and then presents a 1980 article he wrote about the rise and fall of The Institute for Jewish Life, which was founded as an outgrowth of a student protest at the 1969 GA in Boston. The Institute was envisioned as a communal silver bullet to deal with many of the problems plaguing American Jewish life, from inferior Hebrew school education to increasing intermarriage. But while its creators called for an independent body fueled with $100 million to spark a renaissance in Jewish life for generations, in the end it received under $5 million and closed its doors four years after it opened. Rosenblatt describes how he is amazed at how depressingly relevant much of it is. It is a story of the deep impulse to find a quick fix for long-standing and complex social problems in our community; the ongoing tensions between consensus organizations and creative forces; the inability to galvanize local communities into supporting a national project; and the threat posed to existing organizations by a new one on the horizon.

Topic: Innovation, History, Organizational Development, Jewish Federations, News Media, Journalism, Change, Jewish Organizations

Name of Publication: Journal of Jewish Communal Service

Editor: Naron Chalew, Gail

Volume/Issue: Vol.86/No.1/2

Page Number(s): 30-59

Funder: Radius Institute

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Genre: Article

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Rosenblatt, Gary. The Life and Death of a Dream, Revisited. Journal of Jewish Communal Service. Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA). Spring 2011: 30-59.


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