Where the Jewish World Convenes: Some Reflections on the Nahum Goldmann Fellowship

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on July 16, 2017

Nahum Goldmann PartipantsThe Nahum Goldmann Fellowship (NGF) may represent the single most important global Jewish network that exists today. Conceived and operated by the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture (MFJC), the NGF, since its inception in 1987, has brought together more than 1000 young and emerging Jewish leaders from nearly 70 nations.
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How Jews Reinvented America and Themselves: July 4th Reflections

Written by Steven Windmueller,Ph.D. on July 3, 2017

July 4th
As this country observes its 241st year of its independence, Jewish Americans can take pride in their contributions to the history, culture and public discourse of this nation. Over the course of their American journey, Jews have helped to reinvent this nation, just as they have redefined themselves in their roles as citizens.
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Developing a Liturgy for the Jewish Communal Profession

Written By Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on June 28, 2017

Torah ScrollIn the Journal of Jewish Communal Service (Volume 80, 2004), I had occasion to publish an article entitled, “Developing a Liturgy for the Jewish Communal Profession.” In that piece I offered the following observation:
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Six Months Later: The Impact of Donald Trump’s Presidency on American Jews

Written By Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on June 19, 2017

President Trump, joined by Vice President Pence, displays his signed Executive Order for the Establishment of a Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, May 11, 2017, in the Oval Office. Photo: public domain.
In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s surprising November victory, five new developments are reshaping the Jewish landscape in this country. As we observe Jewish political behavior six months into this extraordinary period in American history, what is happening inside Jewish America?…read more

Fifty Years After: Reflections on the Zionist Dream and Israel’s Story June 1967

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on May 23,2017

Zionist DreamAs Israel prepares to observe the fiftieth anniversary of the Sixth Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem, this moment offers us a unique point of reflection. Over the course of this year, the Jewish world will observe the 120th celebration of the birth of the Zionist Movement, 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, and the 70th observance of the UN Partition Plan. These interlocking events have ultimately enabled us to rewrite the modern Jewish story….read more

Zion in America: This Nation’s Unique and Historic Relationship to the Jewish Homeland

Written By Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on March 25, 2017

As thousands of pro-Israel activists gather this week in Washington, we are reminded of the special relationship that exists between the United States and the Jewish Homeland.
From the outset of the founding of this nation, the idea of America as “the new Zion” would play a significant role. Following the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson attempted to tie the new nation to the story of the Exodus and more explicitly to the idea of redemption and freedom.…read more

The Festival of Purim: Extracting Political Insights for 21st Century Jews

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on March 9, 2017

Esther & MordechaiPurim is one of Judaism’s festive observances that has occupied a more marginal position within the Jewish calendar. Along with Chanukah it represents a celebratory moment, absent any reference to God. The rabbis noted that there would be times in the experience of the Jewish people, when the community would need to act on its own in preserving Judaism. This concept of self-reliance has become a central theme in connection with modern Jewish history, as our people would sadly learn that there would be times when we would stand-alone against some of history’s most brutal tyrants. In those moments Jews would experience the silence of the “good people” who would fail to act on behalf of our collective welfare…read more

Jeffersonian Jews vs. Jacksonian Jews: Revisiting Jewish Political Behavior in the 21st Century

Written By Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on March 7,2017

Jackson vs. JeffersonOne finds today two competing political images reflecting different images of America. The 19th century contest between Thomas Jefferson’s universal prescription for America and that of Andrew Jackson’s populism, with its focus on making America “great again” is being recreated in the 21st century. As deeply ideological and partisan, Jews are being drawn to one of these two definitions of America…read more

Why Now? Why Here? Understanding the Rise of Anti-Semitism in America

Written By Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on February 28, 2017

Philly-cemetery-e1488239340888The most recent wave of anti-Semitic actions, involving at the time of this writing, two Jewish cemeteries (St. Louis and Philadelphia) and 89 bomb threats, have been directed against 72 Jewish institutions in 30 states since January 1st. These numbers have given rise to new and alarming concerns about hate crimes in this nation directed against Jewish Americans….read more

What’s Up With America’s Jews? Anxious about the Political Climate, Jews are in Search of Answers

Written By Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on February 22, 2017

Looking for AnswersAmericans in general, and Jews in particular are in search of ways to express their political passions. As has been documented by this writer[1] and others, there are deep divides within our community but there are also many questions that our constituencies are asking. As communal leaders, practitioners and educators we must find ways to guide, teach and lead.
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Jews and Politics: How a Trump Presidency Is Changing American Jewry

Written By Steven Winmueller, Ph.D. on February 3, 2017

Photo: White House Press OfficeThe emergence of the Trump Presidency has led to a renewed debate over the definition of America. For Mr. Trump’s supporters these early days of his Presidency have fulfilled their expectations. However, for many other citizens, including large segments of Jewish Americans, are experiencing total disbelief, angst, and even anger. Words such as “unbelievable” and “disaster” might best define the current social climate for large numbers of Americans. The policy directions introduced by our new President are seen as a radical departure from his predecessors….read more

Where Do We Go From Here? A Pathway to Action

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on January 21, 2017

Torn American FlagDonald Trump is our President. A new political culture is unfolding. For some Americans this marks a moment of triumph and high expectations, for others this represents an unsettling time, where feelings of anxiety dominate. We acknowledge we are a divided society, yet we as Americans remain committed to the pursuing the common good as we focus on five core principles of action:…read more

“If Work Won’t Kill You, Stress Will” : Jewish Communal Practice in an Age of Anxiety

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on January 12, 2017

AnxietyVarious studies on business and nonprofit professionals report that “burn out” represents the single major factor leading to resignation and career change. The Conference Board, a nonprofit think tank in New York, focusing on management and the marketplace, found “‘the majority of Americans continue to be unhappy at work.’” This 2012 Study of more than 5000 households revealed the following:…read more

Jewish Professional Practice: Focusing on Ten Behaviors

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph. D. on January 5, 2017

Change Negative BehaviorsIn my retirement from Jewish professional work, I have had occasion to experience the Jewish nonprofit world from the “other side” as a donor, board member, congregant and consultant. Indeed much of the work product is extraordinarily impressive, but certain elements of communal practice and professional behavior warrant attention….read more

2017 Philanthropic Trends: Implications for American Jewish Organizations

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on January 4, 2017

PhilanthropyAs we enter 2017 it will be useful to examine various projections and assessments on the state of philanthropy in America. These twelve findings have implications for fundraising strategies as well as nonprofit policies, business practices, and educational programs within the Jewish community:…read more

Hanukkah Reclaimed: A Contemporary Political and Religious Perspective

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph. D. on December 24, 2016

HannukahAs an event in Jewish history, Hanukkah introduces a range of challenging questions and core religious and political insights. There is only minimal reference to this holiday in the Talmud, and there are no citations within the Mishnah. The commentaries actually begin with the question, “What is Hanukkah?” as if to suggest its import had been forgotten or its purpose uncertain.
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