Articles

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The Rise of the Online Synagogue

Tablet Magazine

April 6, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected Jewish religious practice. For two years, American synagogues and independent minyanim have struggled to cope with the ebb and flow of this public health crisis. The continuing CDC warnings for people to avoid “congregate settings”—the very definition of a congregation—have undeniably altered in-person attendance patterns in all sorts of synagogue offerings, especially worship services.

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The 2022 Religious Marketplace: Rethinking Judaism in this New Age

The Times of Israel

March 13, 2022

In 2022, we are witnessing a set of new behavioral outcomes that are impacting religious life in our society. These emerging trends, mostly drawn from generic and Christian sources, are also likely to shape how Judaism will be able to compete and perform in the 21st Century.

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Caught in the Crossfire of History: The Ukrainian Jewish Legacy

The Times of Israel

February 26, 2022

The war now raging in the Ukraine reminds us of the deeply embedded connection that Jews have had with this society. Nor should we forget that nation’s long history of anti-Jewish expression and behavior!

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Defining American Jewry: Ten Principles

The Times of Israel

February 23, 2022

The material posted below is designed to inform non-American Jews about the unique construct and character of the Jewish community in the United States:
To better understand Jewish Americans, one must both appreciate American culture and have knowledge of this nation’s history. American political values and the social norms of this society are reflected in the behavior and belief systems of this country’s Jews. The Cult of Synthesis suggests that what is Jewish is American, and correspondingly, what is American must be seen as Jewish.

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American Judaisms

The Times of Israel

February 16, 2022

We are living in an age of multiple “Judaisms”. These diverse expressions of Jewish identity are changing the current marketplace. Judaism continues to metastasis in response to outside triggers, involving multiple types of social and cultural stimuli. Key events have contributed to creating these alternative expressions. In an age of personal choice, it can also be seen as a very personal and individualized effort in defining one’s connections and ties to Jewish tradition and culture.

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The Trends: What These Changes Mean for the Jewish Community

The Times of Israel

January 29, 2022

In a COVID environment, we are seeing a number of emerging and transformative trends. While these are generic in scope, each has specific implications for the Jewish community. Five sectors are in play: the religious environment, the economy demographic considerations, socio-cultural forces, and science and health measures. Of the many factors undergoing rapid change, we selected to examine ten specific elements in this report:

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The Undoing: Church-state separation in America

eJewish Philanthropy

January 14, 2022

No doubt, a significant impetus for these changes can be directly linked to the rise of both global and domestic terrorism, with Jews often being identified as targets, the 2008 economic crisis and its impact on all sectors of society and the economic fallout of the 2020 pandemic, each of these factors has also contributed to this changing equation of church-state relationships. Responding to each of these situations, the federal government has accelerated its financial connections with the religious sector.

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The Trump Presidency and American Jews: Reflections on my Forthcoming Book

The Times of Israel

December 10, 2021

This coming week the 2021 USC Casden Institute’s Annual will be released. This volume examines the impact of Donald Trump’s Presidency on American Jewry and Israel. I was privileged to have been invited to serve as the editor for this publication.

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The rise of privatized Judaism: What it is and what it means

eJewish Philanthropy

December 9, 2021

Jews are a communal people, with a collective set of rituals and traditions. Ours has been a culture of assembly, as symbolized by the centrality of the synagogue and the shared focus around celebrated holidays and festivals as Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah. We gather, we pray with a minyan, we eat, we learn, we celebrate simchas and we mourn, all in a communal way.

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‘Hanukkah homecoming’: Celebrating community after crisis

eJewish Philanthropy

November 22, 2021

American Jews have been deeply engaged with the American story. As such, Jews have been active partners in celebrating the importance of community, especially after the country emerges from crisis. When the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, how will we encourage our people to reconnect with the communal organizations that have pulled us through, and to move, as we pray in Psalm 30, “from mourning to dancing?”