Peoplehood is Here to be Re-Envisioned, A response to Steven Windmueller

“There is no question, as Windmueller’s analysis shows, that American Jews are phasing out of the Peoplehood paradigm that dominated the post WW2 and Six Day War era. And yet concepts and categories of Peoplehood still frame the conversation regarding Jewish collective ethos, meaning and destiny. In that respect, we still live very much in a Peoplehood condition. One whose essence is still being envisioned and content being figured out, but should last as long as Jews wrestle with the meaning of Judaism”

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Can Peoplehood Consciousness Narrow the Gap Between Israel and American Jewry?

A Complex Answer Framing the issue In recent months two important articles by Yehuda Kurtzer and Gidi Grinstein opened a conversation that is no less than crucial to the Jewish future. I would like to humbly add my perspective to this conversation. While agreeing with most of their analysis and recommendations I would like to…

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Jill Blair: Why Are We Still Here?

“I have had the good fortune of participating in the Jewish Peoplehood Conversations convened by Dr. Shlomi Ravid, director of the Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education. These discussions have helped me begin to visualize a through-line between our past and our future as American Jewish communal institutions – as essential elements of Jewish civilization. These discussions have brought to light some beliefs that inform my efforts…”

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The Future of the Nation State of the Jewish People: Consolidation or Rupture?

This Reut Institute document deals with the State of Israel’s role as the nation state of the Jewish People in the 21st Century, and the mutual connection between the State of Israel and Diaspora Jewry. This connection has great importance for the future of the State of Israel: First, the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora…

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Engaging Teens in Jewish Peoplehood (and other things)

An enormous amount of energy and resources of the Jewish community go into working with teens – reaching out to them, encouraging them to stay connected to Jewish life and community after their bnei mitzvah, and ultimately providing them with a strong reservoir of Jewish commitment that they can draw on when they go on…

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Peoplehood Papers 17: Engaging Millennials with Jewish Peoplehood

The Jewish establishment’s anxiety regarding the Jewish identity of millennials is not unfounded. The emergence of a new generation of Jews who were born and raised in open society with a freedom to choose their Judaism does not necessarily promise continuity. Furthermore, individualism, egocentrism and criticism of existing establishments, tendencies associated with Millennials, created room for additional concerns. These concerns…

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Encounters and Journeys: Cultivating Jewish Peoplehood?

One of the core educational questions related to Jewish Peoplehood is how to cultivate it. A recent blogcast convened by CASJE – the Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education, raised this very question. The blogcast brought together several educators and policy-makers with an interest in the Peoplehood practice of Jewish educational travel. Over the course…

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Thanksgiving and Chanukah: Two Axes of Belonging

I love my nuclear family. I also love my extended family. And I particularly love the way they celebrate Thanksgiving. When I was living in New York, our family of five would go to our first-cousins home every year. It was just about as “Americana” as you could get, with the traditional Thanksgiving foods, the…

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Generation Me is Here to Stay!

Taken straight from the headlines: Website Offers Virtual Seder Dancing Bar Mitzvah Boy Donated his $36,000 gift money to Charity Virtual Judaism: Finding Second Life in Online Community Should Auschwitz be a Site for Selfies? When you read these headlines are you confused? concerned? angered? Or are you curious? hopeful? inspired? If you were one of…

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A Strategic Direction for Jewish Life, Through the Lens of Peoplehood

The recent policy piece published in eJewishPhilanthropy, “Strategic Directions for Jewish Life: A Call to Action” offers a credible roadmap for the next decade, at least, for the American Jewish community. And its signatories offer much food for thought for those of us engaged in Jewish education and leadership. And yet, as I read the…

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Bubblehood vs. Peoplehood

The most overused and abused word in the Jewish world must surely be “community.” Here in Los Angeles, we’re often told that we’re all part of some grand “Jewish community,” but deep down, we know better. If by community we mean a group of like-minded people whose company we enjoy, then the only communities we…

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The Blasts of Jewish Peoplehood

Every High Holiday season a powerful sound momentarily causes we who experience it to pause. Tekiah. Shvarim. Truah. Tekiah Gedolah. Those sounds, stirring and dramatic, lead to personal reflection about how we missed the mark in the previous year and how we want to improve in the coming year. But shofar is about more than…

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Can Jewish Peoplehood Have a Future?

In a recent talk Noam Pianko, a contemporary scholar of Jewish Peoplehood, and professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Washington, offers a stimulating and thoughtful challenge to those of us interested in the future of Jewish Peoplehood, both as a concept and as a way of building collective Jewish identity. See here for…

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Choosing Jewish Life – Fostering Jewish Peoplehood

Six months ago, I began teaching a premarital class to intrafaith and interfaith couples being married by clergy at my synagogue. The impetus for the class was the increasing disaffiliation and disconnection of Jewish young adults from Jewish life. Regardless of whether couples were endogamous or interfaith, we believed that marriage presented an opportunity to…

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Israel Elections and the Future of Jewish Peoplehood in and out of Israel

With the Israeli elections just days away, Israeli voters are making their final decisions about the party and candidates they will support. Or maybe they are just deciding what to do with an unexpected mid-week day off (Election Day is a public holiday, after all). What is pretty certain is that very few Israeli voters will…

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Jewish Peoplehood: A Contemporary Midrash

Check out David Zvi Kalman’s contemporary midrash (Jewish legend), published in the Peoplehood Papers volume #13, in which he imagines the Jewish People standing at Sinai and receiving the Torah. In this modern midrash, Kalman uses his imagination and knowledge of Jewish texts to create his own interpretation of one of the central collective memories of…

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Strengthening Jewish Peoplehood Through Relationships

  Relationships define and strengthen Jewish Peoplehood. Relationships such as those between God and Israel, parent and child, and rabbi and student are all central to our tradition. For Judaism to thrive in the future, however, Jews must focus on building relationships with other Jews. We must transcend traditional boundaries such as background, education, or…

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Sustainability and Jewish Peoplehood

We are delighted to introduce you to the latest edition of the Peoplehood Papers. This 14th edition is dedicated to Sustainability and Jewish Peoplehood. We decided to provide the Siach Network a public platform to grapple with the challenge of sustainability through the Peoplehood lens. With focus on shmita (the Sabbatical year – which has just begun)…

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Peoplehood and Neighborhood: The Two Poles of Jewish Identity

A few years ago Sarah Mali grabbed a New York City cab on the way to a roundtable conversation on the topic of Jewish Peoplehood. A British-born Jewish educator who was then living in Israel, Mali felt that she should initiate some conversation with the driver but couldn’t come up anything obvious to talk about.…

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