Community leadership needed
Jewish community leadership claims that we face extinction, but like all other religions, we face apathy and a leadership that did not get the message.
Jews have been fighting for equality and freedom in America for almost 400 years. The 1960s Civil Rights movement was the turning point. Today, American Jews feel free to make whatever choices they feel best, and they are asking, “Why should I join the Jewish community?”
Jews are not renouncing their heritage; they ask “why,” but the community is not answering. Forget more education; the 20-somethings are the best-educated generation in Jewish history; yet they are the ones asking the questions.
After the Six-Day War and the raid on Entebbe, Jews were coming out of the woodwork to join synagogues because they were proud to identify with a people who could do those spectacular things on a battlefield. We cannot use that Wow! Factor, but we have an even better one.
The Pittsburgh Jewish community is vibrant and very active. We need to publicize that fact more so that the 20-somethings and everyone else get the message that the Jewish community is the place to be.
We support 19 community agencies with a $20 million budget. We have religious seminars, intellectual seminars, parenting lectures, interfaith discussions, music concerts, etc. If there is an issue or a topic of current interest, someone in the Jewish community is working on that. We need to publicize our efforts more so that Jews and gentiles alike know how active and vibrant our community is.
Lose the interfaith bashing. Half the current Jewish community is related to a person born a gentile. Every businessman knows that you don’t piss off your customer. Positive energy and enthusiasm sells; negative energy sucks the life out of the community.