At theWeinberg Achim brotherhood program a couple of weeks ago Rob Goldberg the executive director of the Jewish Federation spoke.
Rob presented idea of Seder everyday by first talking about the actual numbers how the Jewish involvement in different Jewish synagogues and Jewish institutions has diminished. over the years. Rob talked of many levels how this is happening and how the federation role has changed over the years to work with the reality of our Jewish community and how we can change that for the better, more involvement within the community and more connection with there Jewishness.
The concept of the wide participation of one of these avenues of more Jewish involvement was intro ducted by Rob with a lively discussion with the Passover holiday. There was such a lively discussion of all the examples that were given about there Passover table experience. This would include inviting others to your table, storytelling, connecting with a lively enthusiasm of the 4 questions and answers, With the Seder, and the order of the Passover story, is very vibrant for Jewish identity.
Rob was presented we need to think outside of the box, to keep our Jewish identify alive and well. Other people in the audience brought other great examples, including that at home outside the box, also includes Chanukah, Rosh Hashana, and Sukkot, and of course the Shabbat candles blessings at the Shabbat table, that brings us very close to our Jewishness. The idea of Seder every day, is the home is a special place that Judaism stays alive and connect, and it’s the way the Jewish community appears to be realistically today. It was noted by Rob, that the Torah learning and the connections the Rabbi’s try to make, along with other initiatives combines as part of the answers we seek of keeping the Jewishness vibrant on the Rabbi’s part.
On the realm of realization, it was brought up that the Jewish population in the USA is going down, partially due to intermarriage(although some of those marriages does grow to stay Jewish but not enough), assimilation and being more adapted to the secular culture in America and around the world. Also, the neighborhoods once mostly concentrated the Jewish community, like north buffalo at one time, and before that the old Eastside Jewish communities were closer knit together with Jewish places of worship nearby and not all spread out like in the world since World War 2 the world of the suburbs. The past and close-knit community, and in some ways like the old Jewish shtetls of eastern Europe.
Jewish classes, the Jewish center programs, the Jewish federation programs, Jewish family service, holocaust programs, Jewish education programs, and much more all contribute for us to keep connected as Jews and not lose our identity. I commend the Jewish Federation of thinking outside the box and doing their part of recognizing we need to do more, each element of the Jewish community to be vibrant and a growing community. One day, I would hope, that all the synagogues, Jewish institute can come together and work on this together. It is alarming that in less then 20 years the USA Jewish population will be down to 4 million from about 6 million, and less then 40 years down to 2 million, this is something that is very real, and in our time, and efforts, we need to come together and change that direction that Kol Israel in America grows not downward but upward, especially in numbers.
In another sense, when we recently saw the Muslim women in Congress make anti Semitic statements, even though she apologized, should be a wake up call, that if our population continues to decrease, then so does our representation in Congress, decreases with less voting power, to make sure our voices are heard, and a protection for our rights as Americana and the well being of the state of Israel. Rob, is correct in his statement that we all must do what we can do, to make a difference for our people and stay connected of who we really are.
Nathan Sull RN
Publisher of One stop Jewish Buffalo