We do not have the luxury of assuming that Jews will feel engaged in the Jewish tradition just by experiencing a few inspiring programs. Jews must become self-directed translators of the Jewish tradition — for themselves and their peers. This means less focus on “experiences” and more focus on the building blocks of educational discovery. This is not about religious indoctrination. This is unlocking the power of Jewish heritage.

American culture supports so many forms of creativity and experimentation — but this rarely extends to Judaism. We believe that an education must include Shakespeare, Joyce and knowledge of the Civil War, yet not the Mishnah or Psalms. What would it take to promote a deep engagement with the building blocks of the Jewish tradition and to make this pursuit an acceptable pre- or post-college endeavor?

Elie Kaunfer, “The Real Crisis in American Judaism”, The Jewish Week (7 April 2010), 12.

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