WHO TOOK THE JEWS?
While the absolute number of Jews in America has remained steady - about 6.6 million - the numbers of those connecting their Jewishness in a positive manner (e.g. identifying with formal Jewish institutions), has diminished drastically in the last couple of decades. As the New Times article states: "The survey uses a wide definition of who is a Jew, a much-debated topic. The researchers included the 22 percent of Jews who describe themselves as having "no religion," but who identify as Jewish because they have a Jewish parent or were raised Jewish, and feel Jewish by culture or ethnicity. However, the percentage of "Jews of no religion" has grown with each successive generation, peaking with the millennials (those born after 1980), of whom 32 percent say they have no religion."
These Jews "without religion" are those raising the next generation of Jewish children. Here's the scary part, as described in the article: "Jews without religion tend not to raise their children Jewish, so this secular trend has serious consequences for what Jewish leaders call "Jewish continuity." Of the "Jews of no religion" who have children at home, two-thirds are not raising their children Jewish in any way. This is in contrast to the "Jews with religion," of whom 93 percent said they are raising their children to have a Jewish identity."
There IS a crisis. Whether it is here now - or coming in the next few decades - it IS real. The question is: How do we respond?
I don't believe that we can fight what is happening. I DO believe that we can find ways to nurture Jewish meaning, connection, and continuity within all the demographics of American Jewry. The question is simple but profound: HOW? For those of you who joined us at Congregation Beth Torah for Shabbat Shuvah, you heard me address one aspect of this crisis in my sermon. For those who missed it, you may read it by CLICKING HERE.
IT'S SUKKOT TIME!!!
As the new year dawns, how shall we greet those we encounter....in our homes, in our workplaces, in our congregation, on the street? Are we sincerely happy to see our brothers and sisters? Are we concerned with their frustrations and hopes?
How might we - within each encounter we have with another person - incorporate the values every Ritz-Carlton employee embraces? If we do, what would our world look like next year? Just imagine....just imagine.
"The [High Holiday] period is about both getting inside and outside of yourself. We need to get inside ourselves and be willing to see who we truly are - our faults and failures, as well as our strengths and successes. Only then, can we properly focus our attentions and energies on the wider community."
In the coming days, challenge yourself to do two things. First, look into that mirror and see yourself, as you truly are to others. How might you grow your best qualities? How might you address your less-stellar aspects? Second, remove some of the "silver" that has you look only at yourself, and look now at the world beyond. How can you become a greater part of that world? By focusing both inward and outward, we achieve our potential...as partners with God.
ELUL THOUGHT #2: THE ASPEN LESSON
Wednesday starts the Hebrew month of Elul. It is a time of self reflection and renewal...a time to listen to the call of the shofar as it stirs in us a call to personal action - to do the work necessary to approach the New Year with open heart, open mind, and open hands. For the next four weeks, as we approach our High Holiday season, we will offer an "Elul Thought" as we consider how to change and grow.Anne Frank wrote: "How noble and good everyone could be if, every evening before falling asleep, they were to recall to their minds the events of the whole day and consider exactly what had been good and bad. Then, without realizing it, you try to improve yourself at the start of each new day. Of course, you achieve quite a lot in the course of time. Anyone can do this. It costs nothing and is certainly very helpful. Whoever doesn't know it must learn and find by experience that: 'A quiet conscience makes one strong.'"Consider: Spend the next week - just 7 evenings - recalling the good and the not-so-good in your life. Spend 5 minutes. Don't try to solve the challenges, necessarily. Just acknowledge them. Celebrate the good. Hold on to them. At the end of the week, ask: "Am I stronger? Wiser? Clearer?
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03.25.2017 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Shabbat Service (Bar Mitzvah: Elijah Kushnir)
03.25.2017 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
03.26.2017 8:30 am - 12:00 pm
Brotherhood Breakfast Club
03.26.2017 9:15 am - 12:00 pm
03.26.2017 10:00 am - 11:15 am
Yarn Spinners group
The Temple, Congregation B'nai Jehudah 12320 Nall Avenue Overland Park, KS 66209 Phone: 913-663-4050 Fax: 913-906-9544