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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Challenging the Leftist domination of the (American) Jewish community

I probably get 100 emails a day just on my blog's gmail account, and to tell you the truth, unfortunately, I generally don't read them all. I clicked on this email because the person who sent it has the same name as my yeshiva roommate (and is definitely not him - although I may know him in real life anyway). I clicked on the article he recommended because he said he had co-authored it. I have to tell you that when I started reading the article, I was ready to just link it and say "good luck with that." Fortunately, I didn't.

This article should be read and re-read by anyone who is involved (or is considering becoming involved) with Jewish communal work in the United States. It's about how a small group of activists in the Jewish community in Indianapolis was able to set up a new Jewish umbrella organization that rejects the 'New Jewish Agenda' (the one that's dominated by the BDS'ers and the Tikkun types). Yes, of course the first synagogue that broke away was Orthodox. But then I was shocked to read this.
In contrast to the JCRC, JAACI was established to advocate primarily on issues directly related to the security and well-being of the Jewish people and Israel. In a span of a few months, this governing philosophy has garnered the support of the majority of Jewish congregational leaders in Indianapolis, the majority of rabbis in Indiana, as well as congregants from Indianapolis' Reconstructionist, Conservative, Sephardi, and Ashkenazi Orthodox synagogues. In addition to its unequivocal support for Israel, JAACI's stance on political, economic and social issues is shaped by traditional Jewish values and the enduring principles of the American Republic.
Maybe it's just an Indianapolis thing? After all, Indiana is the State of Mike Pence and John Boehner. It's certainly not a Blue state. The authors don't think so.
Does the JAACI experience offer any lessons to American Jews for whom the New Jewish Agenda is a hollow, misguided, and ultimately self-destructive construct? We believe it does, and here are some of them:
* 1. There is no inevitability to the New Jewish Agenda dominating the discourse within and beyond American Jewish communities. Even in a modestly-sized Jewish community such as Indianapolis, a handful of capable, motivated individuals (without any budget to speak of) have been able in a matter of months to completely rewrite the Jewish political landscape. We believe the time is ripe for concerned, informed, and determined Jews to begin to similarly challenge the status quo agenda that exists in many communities around the nation.

* 2. Politicians are impressed with groups that take pride in and make no apologies for who they are and what they stand for. Hillel's aphorism "if I am not for myself, who am I?" is a lesson that many Jews need to relearn. Including a spiritual leader(s) or advisor(s) may also strengthen the authoritative nature of such an organization's positions, especially if they are well respected.

* 3. We have more friends than we often realize. There are many excellent reasons why the large majority of Americans love Israel. Politicians are no exception. While it is our duty to constantly educate the public on why Israel remains of vital interest to the US, many non-Jews are not only aware that supporting Israel makes sense from a moral, economic, technological, civilizational, and geopolitical stance, but feel fulfilled when doing so. We just have to give them the opportunity.
There are Jews who have criticized us on the grounds that we are dividing the Indianapolis Jewish community. To those individuals we say: our sole intention is to promote Jewish values, ensure the survival of the Jewish people, and strengthen the Jewish state of Israel. We very much look forward to the day when we can combine forces with a local JCRC that shares these priorities. Until that day comes, we will do everything in our power to achieve our goals. We also look forward to seeing many similar-minded individuals around the nation follow our lead.
Read the whole thing. This is the first that has made me optimistic about the American Jewish community in a long time. If it spreads, maybe we can get them a consulting gig in Europe too.


Oops. Reader Andrew A corrects me that Boehner is from Ohio, not Indiana. Sorry!

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At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's so shockingly normal and decent, I could almost cry.

Good morning, American Jewry and thank you!

At 6:17 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

This is a very good start! The UCSD professors' letter and the African American Vanguard Leadership ad are part of this trend.

The Israeli government Rabbis' part in this will be to consistently be friendly to these people and, even if you don't like everyone's halachic pedigree, a friendly face is needed regardless. Because the Jewish people in America are very mixed and the Jewish people need everyone. No need to run them off.

Also, I wonder whether RJC has seen this. I was hoping they would be more proactive than they seem to be. JCRC could be a good adjunct, but right now it is gutter election politics (until we rebalance on some reasonable fulcrum), so RJC should work with these folks.

At 6:21 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

my local Federation is a de-facto Democratic Party headquarters and its Silow-O'Carroll newpaper reflects that ( complete with intermarried wedding announcements).
It would be nice to see that change.

At 10:38 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Most American Jews are liberals.

But they don't realize how much the Far Left has hijacked the Jewish Community's agenda, to the detriment of Israel.

Its time to fight back!

At 8:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

The authors are members of our synagogue, which is pictured in your blog item. The JAACI organization enjoys participation and support that is not limited to members of one party, as is appropriate for a successful, broad-based effort. Well-funded leftist ideologues posing as Jewish community activists have now met their match.


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