Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Passover anticipation - Are you Jewish?

Passover is perhaps one of the most culturally relevant holidays for Jews around the world. It's not just a matter of the Exodus, freedom from slavery, and generational continuity. It underscores the passion for social justice, for family, and for education.

There has been an incredible amount written about Jewish people-hood and identity, but it is rarely so succinctly put as it is in the phrase, "Am Echad, Dam Echad," meaning, "One People, One Blood"

The St. Lou Jew has written a fair deal about lost Israelite tribes in Africa and Black Jews in America. It turns out that we aren't the only Jews in St. Louis to have taken the concept of 'One People, One Blood' to heart.

Shlach Amee is an organization based in St. Louis, dedicated to helping people find their Jewish roots. Offered by a team of "genealogical experts, researchers, business men, lawyers and rabbis, Shlach Amee is a free service dedicated to helping 'lost Jews' substantiate their rightful identity." Shlach Amee is particularly timely in that it means 'Let my people go'.

How does this growing number of people, who may have Jewish ancestry and decide to return to the faith and culture, impact more mainstream Judaism?

What if, hypothetically, large numbers of people were to convert (or revert as the case may be) to Judaism? Do larger demographics pose an existential threat to Jewish identity, which has always been based on a small, but close knit population?

How will demographics, the next major conflict driver impact Jewish identity?

1 comment:

Norm said...

Chag Sameach. I'm sure the young Jewish professionals have noted that the Federation campaign was short last year. In addition to increasing your pledges I suggest you use your coniderable influence to suggest to the Federation lay and professional leadership that the Federation curtail funding of the the ultra orthodox entitities and schools. Try googling Torah Prep or Bloch Yeshiva in St. Louis. Do these schools teach the kind of values and respect for women as equals that you as a Jew support?

I believe that the Federation should be a broad saftey net supporting community wide organizatiosn not schools which socialize children into arranged marriages and "jobs" as full time torah scholars. (In addition thei leader Rabbi Zuravin was one of the enablers of the Rabushkin family of Postvilel which enslaved immigrants)

The Federation can balance its budget with no increaeed contributions if it simply stops funding groups that teach this stuff and disrespect mainstream Jews.