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Jews are changing by “God’s design”, not disappearing as some rabbis proclaim


Your assessment of the future of American and Israeli Jewry depends on how you define the Jewish identity.

If you define it, as traditional rabbis are doing, by being born to a sort of halakhic Jewish family, the future is bleak. Indeed, the Jewish majority in America and Israel is increasingly being born to non-halakhic Jewish families.
However if you define it, as the Jewish majority is doing, by the results of a sort of Jewish genetic urge for intuitive Torah-guided actions aimed at making our world a much better place for everybody, the future is great. Indeed, our world is getting better through scientific discoveries, social progresses, economic innovations and technology advances, and Jewish people are the leaders here.
The assessment of Rabbi Efrem Goldberg of AISH community is bleak since he, like all traditional rabbis, defines Jewishness by being born to a “pure” Jewish family. He says: (http://www.aish.com/jw/s/American-Jewry-is-Disappearing.html?s=mm)
The recent Jewish People Policy Institute study found that outside of Orthodoxy, fewer Jews are getting married, those marrying are marrying later and having fewer children and intermarriage rates are increasing. The combination of these three factors raises the daunting question of the future of American non-Orthodox Jews. Among all non-Orthodox Jews in the 25-54 age group, just 15% are married to a Jewish spouse and have Jewish children. Intermarriage rates increase the younger the generation. Among those aged 40-44, 60% are intermarried. Among those aged 35-39, it is 73%, and 75% of those aged 30-34 have a non-Jewish spouse.

The assessment of Michael Steinhardt of The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life is very much optimistic since, like a good Jewish intellectual, he defines Jewishness by Jewish actions. He says:
(http://www.jta.org/2017/06/09/news-opinion/united-states/michael-steinhardt-thinks-american-jews-need-to-stop-focusing-on-religio)
The last 300 years is the most enlightened — it is when Jews really shined. I would use the word superior, except people blanch when I use that word. But it’s really what I mean: Jews have accomplished so much, so inexplicably out of proportion to their numbers, in these 300 years, and it’s one of the great failures of Jewish education that that’s not focused on at all. The modern state of Israel is the Jewish miracle of the 20th century, but it’s the secular part of Israel that’s the miracle. It’s the extraordinary achievement, it’s the technology, the military, the development of a society out of nothing using Zionist ideals, taking people from terrible places and making them Israeli citizens. Israel has become, for me, the substitute for religion.
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It looks like the non-halakhic majority of American Jewry is on the side of Michael Steinhardt, not on the site of Rabbi Efrem Goldberg. They are sure they are not disappearing – they are changing, flourishing, and advancing the better world for everybody. They are preserving their historic greatness.

However, many in the non-halakhic Jewish majority may disagree with Michael Steinhardt on the fundamental question of the source of Jewish historic greatness. It looks like Michael Steinhardt believes this source is the God/Torah-empty atheism. However, it is strongly believed the source is the in-build God/Torah-based guidance. This guidance is transferred from generation to generation genetically and educationally. Some Jews acknowledge it openly, and those Jews are called religious; the rabbis and synagogues guide them. However, many Jews prefer not to have rabbis and synagogues approving their actions – these are called atheists.

Many intellectual Jews are dreaming to see a friendly spiritual discussion between Rabbi Efrem Goldberg and philanthropist Michael Steinhardt with the sole purpose to find a common Jewish spiritual platform on the Jewish identity and Torah-guided actions in our Judeo-Christian civilization. The following two questions may be addressed at the discussion:
If so many Jews were not asking the rabbis for their advice, why the rabbis who are concerned with the future of Jewish Nation would not approach the Jews who call themselves atheists or non-religious with a convincing Jewish history-based message that says:
We the Jews have been successful because we have in-build spiritual GPS guiding us along the Jewish spiritual values received from our Jewish families and communities – with the help of rabbis and synagogues, if such help is needed, or without such help for those who feel they already know how to do it.
If intermarriage is a contemporary Jewish trend, why the rabbis who are concerned with the future of Jewish Nation would not approach the Jews who decided to intermarry with a convincing Torah-guided message that says:
Your families can be much stronger and purposeful if your families live along the lines of Jewish Torah-guided traditions and we the rabbis are happy to help you.

We cannot defeat terrorism if we disconnect ideology from religion


From the news media:
UK Prime-Minister Theresa May says that the recent [terrorist] attacks are connected in one important sense. They are bound together by the single, evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division, and promotes sectarianism. It is an ideology that claims our Western values of freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam. It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth.
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In essence, Theresa May makes a point that the religion has nothing to do with the ideology and that a religion cannot be wrong by definition. What Theresa May is saying is that if the devotees of some religion, in the case of Theresa May the Islam, do evil things, it is not the fault of this religion (Islam) but the fault of some evil ideology created by the evil people of this religion.
Unfortunately, that is not true. Ideology is a crucial part of any religion – without ideology a religion is a mere mirage. Trying to separate ideology from religion is self-defeating. And here is why.
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines religion and ideology in the following way:
– Religion – the expressed manifested faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity.
– Ideology – the integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program.
So, any religion has an acknowledged ultimate realty or deity.
For the Jews it is One God with many names such as Yahweh for example; for the Christians it is the Trinity (the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in one Godhead); for the Muslims it is Allah and His messenger Mohammad.
For the Nazis, the acknowledged ultimate realty or deity was Hitler and for the Soviets, it was Stalin.
What we tend to forget is that those ultimate deities were not silent. They provided for their devotees the “socio-political programs” on how to shape up a society/nation out of the devotees. And those “socio-political programs” are ideologies by definition.
For the Jews, it is Torah-based Talmud and all its derivatives; for the Christians, it is Torah-based New Testament and all its derivatives, and for the Muslims it is not Torah-based, fundamentally different Quran-based Sharia.
For the Nazis, it was (fortunately, was!) the Mein Kampf, and for the Soviets it was (fortunately, was!) the Communist Manifesto – both certainly anti-Torah “socio-political programs”.
The “socio-political” fundamentals of the USA are based on Judeo-Christian Torah-based moral prescripts which are opposite in many fundamental beliefs to those in the “socio-political” Islamic Quran-based fundamentals prescribed by the Sharia – on family structure, on women, on individual freedoms, on the role of government, on tolerance to the beliefs of others, etc. That does not mean that Islam cannot transform itself – but until it does it, in order to be able to survive as a Judeo-Christian nation we have to fight the Islamic ideology as a part of religion of Islam. This fight shall include preventing the Muslim citizens from creating “socio-political” institutions based on the Sharia and accepting only those new Muslim immigrants who pledge to do so.
This fight shall include preventing any kind of new immigrants who are not accepting the Judeo-Christian “socio-political” fundamentals of the USA. The ongoing (cold) civil war in the USA is to a great degree a result of the influx of such immigrants in the last half-century.

Phenomenon of Trump’s antagonists explained 


This phenomenon can be seen in how the chief Trump’s antagonists characterize his personality, his election victory and his governing actions.

 

Senator Schumer: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urged President Trump to give transcripts of his meeting with Russian officials and announced that he would oppose most of Trump’s Cabinet appointees.

 

Congresswoman Pelosi: President Trump was “dishonoring” God and questioned whether his grandchildren will even be able to breathe air after his announcement that he would withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

 

DNC Chairman Perez: President Trump did not win the 2016 election and took an expletive-laced shot at the Republican Party.

 

CNN: CNN host calls Trump ‘piece of sh*t’ over renewed call for travel ban.

 

As could be seen from the above, the Trump’s antagonists are not suggesting the new government policies that are better than those of the Trump’s government policies – they are attacking Trump’s personality and erecting roadblocks to his governing thus disregarding the will of the electorate who decided to try Trump’s governing ideas over Obama’s globalist, harmful to America actions.  

 

This time the Trump’s antagonists are not the traditional political losers in the US Constitutional system of government who are modifying their election strategy and tactics to become the winner the next time – they are assaulters on the US Constitutional system under the pretense of defending it.

 

Their goal is not to convince the electorate that they, the Trump’s antagonists, have better government principles for the majority of the nation – their goal is to make the Trump-governed nation an ungovernable nation to persuade the electorate to elect the next election cycle them, the Trump’s antagonists, at any price.

 

They cannot convince the electorate that they have better government principles because their principles are chiefly based on the wealth redistribution and there is now no wealth anymore available for redistribution without serious civil disturbances or even a civil war. Until recent election cycles, the voting majority, who are mainly the working middle class, have not revolted against the wealth redistribution from them to numerous non-economically-producing groups in the name of “human rights and social justice” because the middle class thought it might be good for decreasing the social tensions in the nation. However, in spite of the constantly rising burden of wealth redistribution, the social tensions have not decreased – moreover, they are constantly increasing. And in the last election cycle the majority decided the burden of wealth redistribution has become unbearable for them seriously harming their spiritual and material well-being.

 

They are not scared anymore by the Russian intervention into our internal affairs, including elections, – they know it is impossible to prevent the adversaries from doing that, and that is an obligation of our own government to fight it.

 

They are irritated at the attempts to disrupt the work of the government by threats of impeachment or street violent disorders with the aim of replacing the duly elected government of the majority’s choice by the government of “our revolution” or “social justice and human rights” mobs.    

 

They are suspicious of our judicial system, which let some judges govern instead of helping govern rightly.

 

At the core of the phenomenon of Trump’s antagonists is their inability to understand that the nation has awaken to the loss of spiritual and material well-being due to the past government policies and has found in Trump somebody who might be able to return what was lost.   

 

Phenomenon of Trump explained


 

Phenomenon of Trump that may make him one of the greatest American presidents could be clearly seen (of course, by an unbiased and not ideologically blinded person) from Trump’s The Art of the Deal, Make America Great Again, Drain the Swamp and Riyadh-Jerusalem-Vatican inauguration.

 

The Art of the Deal as applied to deals in politics

 

Donald Trump governs the country with the mindset of smartest business people as opposed to governing the country with the mindset of smartest politicians.

 

The mindsets of politicians and business people are different.

 

In politics, the chief goal is to be elected and reelected. In order to achieve this goal, a contemporary politician promises numerous free consumer goods to potential electorate and after an electoral victory tries to deliver most of the promised. In other words, what the contemporary politicians are doing is redistribution of wealth – by various taxation tools – from a more able wealthy minority to a less able and less wealthy minority. That is so because the government of traditional politicians does not know how to produce more consumer goods – it know only how manipulate with their distribution. To win the presidency, a contemporary politician has to divide the country and create from some divided groups a winning majority.

 

In business, the chief goal is to produce more consumer goods that benefits everybody – by either buying and possessing the goods, or making them. Therefore, a contemporary businessman who has entered a political arena to win the presidency reaches the victory by uniting the country through the proposed business-like goals that would benefit almost everybody.

 

The concepts of “The Art of the Deal” are clearly seen in Trump’s leading mottos.

 

Make America Great Again

 

For our traditional politicians, there is no such thing as “make America great again”. Although they cannot define what the “correct America” should be, they nevertheless believe they have made America “adequate” and only fine-tuning of “human rights” and “social justice” is needed.

 

For Donald Trump, America has lost her greatness because of wrong governing policies of the traditional politicians, and the restoration is needed. Donald Trump is sensing the majority’s longing for the restoration.

 

Donald Trump identified from the very beginning the two critical restoration things. They are to restore the free market economy that is able to provide well-paid jobs for everybody, and to restore the public Judeo-Christian morality by controlling the immigration and legislating in support of this morality.    

 

Drain the Swamp

 

Donald Trump defined the swamp as the big all-powerful government that stifles the economy and individual freedoms and the all-powerful news media that fabricate the news in support of the big governing system. Donald Trump believes the swamp has to be drained since the swamp makes the people morally sick while the traditional politicians see instead of the swamp something pleasant that requires just a good maintenance.

 

Riyadh-Jerusalem-Vatican Inauguration

 

Donald Trump believes America is unnecessary burdened, both economically and spiritually, by the policies of imposing on the others foreign to them American way of life under banners of “human rights” and “social justice”.  He believes “the others” (many countries of the world main religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism) may join the America-led efforts of fighting international Islamism-based terrorism and of developing mutually beneficial economic collaboration … if we stop assaulting their way of life.  The traditional politicians think the mutual interests can be developed only if everybody is forced to govern along the lines of American “human rights” and “social justice”.

 

The problem with our elite news media and traditional politicians is that they are judging Donald Trump as they used to judge a traditional politically-minded president while Donald Trump is governing the country in a completely different, difficult to understand business-minded way.

 

And our politicians, all of them on the democrat/liberal side and many of them on the republican/conservative side, are nervous since they do not know how to compete with Donald Trump.

 

God made all of us capable to understand His guidance – not only the rabbis 


 

It seems to me, something is missing in this sermon.

 

From a sermon by Rabbi Sacks:

 

Judaism identified three distinct moral sensibilities each of which has its own voice and vocabulary. They are [1] the ethics of the king, [2] the ethics of the priest and fundamentally, [3] the ethics of the prophet.

 

Jeremiah and Ezekiel talk about their distinctive sensibilities:

 

For the teaching of the law [Torah] by the priest will not cease,

 

nor will counsel [etzah] from the wise [chakham],

 

nor the word [davar] from the prophets. (Jer. 18:18)

 

They will go searching for a vision [chazon] from the prophet, priestly instruction in the law [Torah] will cease, the counsel [etzah] of the elders will come to an end. (Ez. 7:26)

 

Priests think in terms of Torah. Prophets have “the word” or “a vision.” Elders and the wise have “etzah”. What does this mean? … Kings and their courts are associated in Judaism with wisdom – chokhmahetzah and their synonyms. … The prophetic voice is quite different, impassioned, vivid, radical in its critique of the misuse of power and the exploitative pursuit of wealth. … The ethic of the priest, and of holiness generally, is different again. The key activities of the priest are lehavdil – to discriminate, distinguish and divide – and lehorot – to instruct people in the law, both generally as teachers and in specific instances as judges.

 

———

 

I am not a rabbi, I am just a thinking Jew as the majority of Jews are, and I feel we are missed in this triangle. I feel we are the fourth cornerstone of Judaism – we the individual humans of Judaism whose ethics are distinct moral sensibilities as well. We are not teaching the Jewish spirituality; we are not counseling any formal congregation of people; and we are not instructing anybody on any Talmudic rules. We have, at least most of us have, Jewish ethics in our genes clarified and enhanced by our families, education and our encounters with many in the triangle above.  

 

What we are doing is modifying and tailoring the “three distinct moral sensibilities” to our distinctive and unique Jewish lives. We are trying, with the help of rabbis or without such help, to figure out how to be the Chosen and how to build together with our Christian human brothers and sisters a better Torah-guided world for everybody. Below are a few example.

 

As a scientist and as a socially active person. One of the areas of my professional involvement was American-Russian relationships, and one of the challenges was whether we had to influence their “perestroika” after the dissolution of the Soviet Union – if they are “made in the image of God” as we are, may be it is better to let them find their own way without our forceful interference.

 

My friend Naum L. was trying hard to strengthen Jewishness of his extensive and politically active family and one of the challenges was to decide what is closer to being Jewish – being politically conservative or liberal.

 

Another my friend Matus S. was involved in shaping up Holocaust exhibitions – should they demonstrate the survival of Jewish nation spiritually or just the massacres.

 

Our Jewishness forced my friends and myself to look for spiritual answers to all challenges in the above – probably as the fourth cornerstone of Judaism.    

 

I tried to find an answer to a question of why our rabbis are not a significant help to us, and what I found is discomforting for the rabbis and myself.

 

The rabbis are trained to teach everything what Judaism created for the last three millenniums, and it was enough when the Jewish majority was isolated from the rest of the “native” people where the Jewish majority lived. For the last two centuries, this situation has changed drastically. Now the Jewish majority lives peacefully together with the non-Jewish population and is building a better world together with Gentiles. Now the Jewish majority lives in the democratic societies where all problems are being resolved by listening to each other and finding a consensus with the others. However, our rabbis are not trained to do that – they are trained to indoctrinate. And the Jewish majority is figuring out, on their own, what to do – how to stay the Chosen and how to build a better world with the others.   

 

From the news media:

 

The study, released by the Pew Research Center, which surveyed the residents of 18 countries, found that only 80 percent of respondents would accept Jews as fellow citizens.

 

————–

 

Thus, the 20% of the Gentiles would not accept the Jews as fellow citizens. May it be that this 20% are the Gentiles reside nearby the strictly orthodox Jewish enclaves and observe the unwillingness of these Jews to find a consensus on how to follow common society rules and build a better world for everybody.      

 

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