Jewish Peoplehood: From Vision to Reality

By Alan Hoffmann

Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA), Winter 2010

The issues facing the Jewish people today are unprecedented. Barely three generations ago, our grandparents and great-grandparents - most of whom were new immigrants to North America, Europe, Israel, Latin America, South Africa, and Australia - struggled for basic economic and physical security. Less than a century later we have managed to realize much of their dreams of economic prosperity and physical safety. However, in the wake of this success and possibly as a result thereof, the very survival of the Jewish people as a people may be in question. For the first time in history the "Chosen People" has the opportunity to choose whether to be Jewish. The result: many young Jews are choosing not to affiliate. Along with the shrinking number of Jews outside of Israel, we are witnessing a growing detachment from the organized Jewish community, especially among young people. At the very same time, we also witness a marked disconnection between Jews living in Israel and those abroad, particularly among the younger generation. The growing gap exposes the danger that Jews, who have always held the notion of "One People" to be paramount, will grow into two separate nations - Israeli Jews and Diaspora Jews -with little in common. In the face of this crisis, the notion of Jewish peoplehood - the sense that an individual is a member of one global Jewish people, a concept that encompasses all aspects of Jewish culture, including history, religion, homeland, and spirituality - may present a fresh and exciting entry point for many young people.1 The notion of belonging to something larger than individual existence offers many Jews a sense of connectedness - something that is sorely lacking as collective bonds continue to weaken in society at large.

Topic: Diaspora Relations, Peoplehood, Jewish Federations, Israel-Diaspora Relations, Israel Attachment, Unity, Affiliation

Name of Publication: Journal of Jewish Communal Service

Editor: Naron Chalew, Gail

Volume/Issue: Vol.85/No.1

Page Number(s): 15-19

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Genre: Article

Coverage: Israel , New York, New York , United States , World

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Hoffmann, Alan. Jewish Peoplehood: From Vision to Reality. Journal of Jewish Communal Service. Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA). Winter 2010: 15-19.


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