In this Moment: Some Reflections on Who We Are and Are Becoming
This is a unique moment in the history of humankind. Many of the core operating principles in connection with how people function and live in the world have suddenly and completely come undone.
Already on these pages and elsewhere, we are being introduced to the multiple and creative ways we are interfacing with one another, to the changing dimensions to our lives and to the forthcoming challenges we will face as a society!
As we have been reminded by our colleagues on this platform, we are encountering a new reality.
Managing the COVID 19 Epidemic: What the Jewish Community Can Learn from Prior Global Crisis and from this Moment in Time
Past Episodes: Over the centuries, humanity encountered other such health-related epidemics. Beginning with the Black Death (1246-1353), the world has experienced at least a number of such health-related crisis, including the “Third Cholera Pandemic” (1852-1860), Flu Pandemics (1889-1890) and (1918), Asian Flu (1956-1958) and the HIV-AIDS Crisis (2005-2012). In each of these global situations, millions of individuals would be impacted, resulting in the loss of lives, a significant disruption to the economy and to the social order. Following each scenario, we can identify specific lifestyle changes, the introduction of new health practices and habits, and changing institutional cultural and operational practices.
The Coronavirus: Emerging Realities and the Jewish Community
The Times of Israel
The New Business Arrangements: The end of in-house meetings, conventions, fundraising events, and communal gatherings is at hand. This current situation is already generating a number of new models for serving and reaching constituencies, donors and students.
Technology and the Reshaping of Work: Across the board, organizations, schools, and businesses will be creating alternative ways of sharing information and reaching their constituencies. Institutions will have a unique opportunity to employ online technology as a way to conduct business, educate and engage their key audiences. We are also experiencing a revolution in online services, phone outreach calls, and tweet messaging, as agencies mobilize their efforts to sustain connections with their base.
A new political nervousness is moving across the Jewish electoral scene as we observe the spring primary contests across the nation in advance of the 2020 Presidential election. Already dealing with a rise in hate politics, voters now must contend with the presence of a political challenge involving a Jewish American presidential candidate who is seeking to upend the traditional pro-Israel alliance. While many Jews are uncomfortable with Bernie Saunders’ campaign messages, remnants of the “red diaper baby” era can still be found among some Jewish Democrats. These socialist-aligned voters resonate with Bernie Saunders’ platform statements. In some cases these politically left activists tie their contemporary agenda to their parents and grandparents’ deeply rooted socialism.
In an Era of Rising Antisemitism Giving For Holocaust Education is in Flux
January marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. As commemorations took place around the globe, many were quick to point to the rising tides of white nationalism and antisemitism that are reemerging in the public sphere. Holocaust education has long been viewed as an antidote of sorts to antisemitism, so one might naturally assume that the next generation of Jewish donors would look to place a renewed emphasis on the issue.
The beliefs that many of us had constructed about our community, this nation and ourselves appear to be coming undone! For the baby-boomer generation, these defining assumptions appear to be no longer valid: For many of us the prophetic tradition provided us with the framework and inspiration for promoting a more progressive society. We envisioned our Judaism and our Americanism in consort with one another. We believed that each generation saw itself building upon the next. Finally, we held to the belief that anti-Semitism, especially in the United States, was relegated to another era. Today, the question may be whether any of these four propositions are valid.
The Essentials: Taking Another Look at the American Jewish Voter
Jews Vote! But there are many other critical ingredients that define the American Jewish electorate that maybe as important. We are One, But we are Many: American Jewish voters are overall more liberal than other white groups, yet we represent a very diverse voting constituency. From Libertarians to Independents, from Conservatives to Progressives, as with other voters, Jews today cover the political roadmap of political thinking and behavior. Jewish liberalism, as an example, should be seen as a moveable feast of choices and ideas, based on specific elections and particular emerging concerns. Within the past few days, as an example, we have garnered additional data on Orthodox Jewish voting patterns.
Jews and their Politics: Taking Another Look at the “Jewish Vote”
As the impeachment proceedings wind down and as the election season begins anew, once again we are introduced to questions about the Jewish vote. Why are Jews liberal? What distinguishes Jewish voters? Are Jews Libertarians? What changes are politically redefining Jews? Jews are seen as high-profile political actors reflected in their strong voting record, financial support for candidates, causes, and their political activism as candidates and commentators. In the 1970’s Milton Himmelfarb noted “Jews earn like Episcopalians, but vote like Puerto Ricans.” Part of the dilemma in understanding the unique political characteristics of Jewish Americans is bound up in part, by how one defines Jews.
The Election Season is Upon Us! What Can We Expect in 2020
As this nation prepares for the 2020 election, it is important to explore the major trends, issues and practices that will shape this nation’s political culture. Here are a few observations: The 2020 Presidential campaign will be amongst the most historically significant and politically divisive. This will possibly be also the most expensive presidential campaign in American history. The 2012 presidential election (Obama vs. Romney) cost nearly $3 billion. As the impact of technology continues to expand, much of the 2020 campaign will be managed on social media, making it the first election to employ all of the various media options.
When Anti-Semitism Arises: A Study in Jewish Communal Behavior
As incidents of anti-Semitic behavior occur on a daily basis, it may be important to examine the new strains of violence that we are experiencing and to revisit Jewish communal responses in fighting such hate. In this disruptive political environment, there appears to be a new license given to those who are committed to attacking Jews, Judaism and the State of Israel. When anti-Semitism is playing out in its full fury, one finds specific Jewish communal behavior patterns emerge against this backdrop of hate and violence. How are Jewish institutions and individual leaders responding to the rise of anti-Semitism?