Contact Spring 2005

To many people, the phrase “traditional Jewish family” calls to mind a husband and wife and at least three children, possibly seven. It might summon inherited memories of the shtetl, or images of a father and mother surrounded by their parents and children at the Seder table — three generations, reproducing mightily and wrapped in a web of mutual support.

Contact Spring 2004

At a recent dinner attended by young people working in the Jewish community, talk turned, as it often does, to the topic of Jewish professional life. Conversation focused on a lay leader active in both Jewish and general nonprofit organizations. On the boards of the general nonprofits, the philanthropist had developed a reputation as a kind-hearted, patient and humane leader.

Contact Spring 2003

Many experts have argued recently that Jewish population statistics reveal a community in the midst of stagnation or decline. Although studies vary depending on methodology and definitions of Jewishness, the soon-to-be released National Jewish Population Survey lends support to the view that our population has been shrinking since 1990.

Contact Spring 2002

In recent years, the American Jewish community has expressed growing alarm over the lack of involvement among young adult Jews. There have been many explanations. Parents haven’t given their children a sufficient Jewish education. We are experiencing a generational shift away from the roots of Yiddishkeit. The infrastructure of Jewish life doesn’t speak the language of young adults. Judaism isn’t “cool.”

Contact Spring 2001

Birthright israel began as a dream. In its earliest form, the program envisioned a radical change in the Jewish world, one that would plant within even the most assimilated young Jews the seeds of their heritage. Its scope was grand and quixotic: the creation of a new Jewish life cycle event, the cementing of the relationship between the Diaspora and Israel, and the reinforcement of the selfless communal bonds of the Jewish people.

Contact Spring 2000

Forming Partnerships in a Time of Division
It’s no great secret that we live in a period of discord and division in the American Jewish community. There is so much infighting among competing organizations (e.g. Anti-Defamation League vs. American Jewish Committee), different movements (e.g. Orthodox vs. Reform), and disparate communities (e.g. Diaspora vs. Israel) that it can sometimes seem as if American Jews are more interested in guarding their turf or in conserving their ideological purity than in energizing and sustaining an ancient people and a rich religious tradition.

Contact Spring 1998

Israel and the Future of American Jewry
Rabbi Irving Greenberg

Universal Birthright Israel: A Right of Passage for Every Jew
Michael Steinhardt