Friday, June 20, 2008

From sea to sea

There is a rumor that has spread around the Middle East for decades that the Israeli flag, with it's Star (or shield) of David flanked on either side by a blue line, is a symbol of the Jewish state's intention to have a Jewish presence from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates (a terrifying notion, to be sure).

While certain religious Zionists have declared that a the State of Israel should contain all of the land of Israel, its clear to me that the majority of the Israeli have no intention of even hanging around the Jordan river. In fact, the majority of the Israeli population lives right on the Mediterranean coast.

Let me now make a comparison, if I might, to the US, where most of the Jews also live on the coasts (especially the post-college, pre-marriage demographic). In fact, if you were to judge by the way many Jewish organizations (especially a certain well-respected reform theological seminary that I love very much) behave, there aren't any Jews between the coasts at all.

Kanye said, ". .The Mid-West is Young and Restless." You certainly wouldn't know it from the media. Jewish images in the media are generally restricted to New York, LA, or Israel. To be fair, those may or may not be three of the largest Jewish populations on the planet, seeing as how there aren't that many of us left in Cairo, Morocco, Spain, or Iran. So whats the deal? Every sitcom that doesn't involve Jews seems to take place in the Mid-West, or at least somewhere outside of NYC or Cali (exception being of course the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but seeing as how the whole thing was basically making fun of bougie JAPs anyways, it doesn't count).

Beyond that, half of us 'fly-over-state' Yids end up in NYC, DC, LA, etc. I feel the pull too, I just can't give up on STL yet. So what if people don't hustle the same way here (CSM points out that you can't spell hustle without 's-t-l'), the conditions exist in the Mid-West for a spark to really make some things happen. Not just in STL, but in areas like Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis, NOLA, etc. (the last two aren't MW but count, you don't like it, get yer own soapbox). But we are here, the young and the restless of the coast-less, but certainly not hopeless.

This brings me to Moishe House, a pretty cool concept for those of us on the front line of Generation Y(id)™. Basically, they help you turn your spot into an urban (hopefully) JCC. A non-denominational open house for post-college Jews to come, kick it, maybe have a meal, and connect.
There is a lot of potential in this idea, and if you have some feedback regarding feasibility and interest on the local level, shoot it our way.

Perhaps one day, those rumors of a well represented young Jewish community can apply to the areas between the coasts of the US as well.

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