web analytics
March 4, 2015 / 13 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Back In Black: In Defense Of Jewish Diversity

Rabbi Simcha Weinstein

Rabbi Simcha Weinstein

It’s being called a game changer. Everybody seems to be talking about the recently released Jewish Community Study of New York and its surprising findings regarding New York’s changing Jewish demography.

Surprising to everyone, it seems, except for me. I didn’t need a study to tell me about changes I can see before my eyes, just by opening the window of my Brooklyn apartment.

For the longest time, the stereotypical New York Jew was personified by Jerry Seinfeld’s titular sitcom character, slouching around the Upper West Side. Yet according to the latest study, this popular image is as outdated as dial-up Internet.

The fact is, New York’s Jewish community is becoming increasingly Orthodox. Thirty-two percent of Jewish households in the New York region are now Orthodox. Just three decades ago the figure was a mere 13 percent.

Living in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill — a hipster neighborhood next to Williamsburg – I’ve noticed the increase in chassidic school buses on the road. (They’ve been slowing down my morning commute, while frustrated hipster cyclists try to squeeze past them.)

I don’t mean to pick on hipsters, but in this case, it’s relevant. The problem for hipsters is that they don’t breed; they walk dogs. (Very cute ones, I might add.) As a rabbi at a big city college (Pratt Institute), I often walk around the campus with my brood. Students and faculty alike always run over and start smiling and cooing when they see my children. It’s almost as if these young adults — and (ironically) their teachers — have never seen actual children before. Sadly, some of them probably haven’t, at least not for a while.

The birthrate is dropping throughout the Western world (and slowing in the U.S.) because so many men and women no longer want to reproduce. If an evolutionary biologist observed this kind of behavior in any other species, he (or, more likely, she) would conclude the species was willingly committing suicide.

If that sounds melodramatic, hear me out. Try to imagine the future, say, fifty years from now. The mayor of New York is a chassidic Jew and the president of the United States is a Mormon.

In other words, people of faith are in charge.

In his book Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? Eric Kaufman states that people of faith are more likely to have children, regardless of income. Kaufman believes this religiously motivated fertility will eventually overturn the secularization process that has been underway in the West since the 1960s.

I’m a religious person (that’s an understatement), but I’m also a campus rabbi who treasures diversity. The world that’s coming isn’t exactly diverse.

Diversity isn’t a spectator sport. If too many people decide to sit out the game, there’s not much of a game left to play. This is the reason I wrote my forthcoming book, The Case for Children: Why Parenthood Makes Your World Better.

I respect the decisions these people make, even if I disagree with them, as long as they are made carefully and compassionately. Yet for all their thoughtfulness, they haven’t quite thought through the implications of their decision. Quite simply, without children there will be no future to care about.

In the Bible, God’s first commandment to humankind is, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the world and conquer it.” Some might ask why God needs to command people to do something that not only guarantees the continued survival of the human race but that comes so naturally, too. However, I sometimes wonder if that long-ago command “to be fruitful and multiply” was actually meant for us modern people, thousands of years in the future – a kind of message in a (baby) bottle that would wash ashore in our postmodern, post-parenting era.

Rabbi Simcha Weinstein is an internationally known best-selling author who recently was voted New York’s Hippest Rabbi by PBS Channel 13. He chairs the Religious Affairs Committee at Pratt Institute. His forthcoming book is “The Case for Children: Why Parenthood Makes Your World Better.”

About the Author: Rabbi Simcha Weinstein, an internationally known best-selling author whose first book, "Up, Up and Oy Vey!" received the Benjamin Franklin Award, has been profiled in leading publications including The New York Times, The Miami Herald and The London Guardian. He was recently voted New York’s Hippest Rabbi by PBS Channel 13. He chairs the Religious Affairs Committee at Pratt Institute. His forthcoming book is “The Case for Children: Why Parenthood Makes Your World Better.”


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Back In Black: In Defense Of Jewish Diversity”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Pelosi turns her back on Netanyahu and Congress.
Netanyahu Says Israel Can Stand Alone – and Pelosi Turns her Back [video]
Latest Indepth Stories
An anti-Semitic poster seen in Europe.

The Holocaust was the latest attempt of Amalek to destroy the special bond that we enjoy with God.

Red Line Obama

UN inspectors were flabbergasted when Iran allowed them full unfettered access to All nuclear sites

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressing Congress.

Obama’s real problem is that he knows Netanyahu has more credibility on the Iran issue than he does.

Silwan, in the eastern part of Jerusalem, founded by Yemenite Jews in 1881

Kristof’s op-ed “The Human Stain” was flawed and wrong; more than anti-Israel, it was anti-Semitic.

“Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey after you left Egypt-how undeterred by fear of G-d”

Stalin’s plan for the Soviet’s “final solution of the Jewish question” was totally assimilating them

Many Jews oppose the speech fearing it will further erode relations between Israel & US. I disagree.

The University of Georgia Student Government Association called for more investment in Israel.

Without an alliance comparable to ISIS, Al Qaida & Iran, militant Islam will conquer the Middle East

Ultimately, Esther, Netanyahu, and we, the Jewish people, must and will rely on the true King, God, for our salvation from this genocidal threat.

Netanyahu addresses a clear, present & lethal threat to the US/Israel/WORLD; NOT political bickering

Buried in the tax-returns of the JCF is millions of dollars funneled to NIF in the last few years.

Bibi’s speech to Congress will bring respect and honor to the Jewish Nation from the US & the world

Obama & Putin have handwriting/signature clues indicating differences between public & private life

It’s time for a new Jewish policy regarding Ramallah, NOT just because of the yarmulke incident

“GETT’s” being screened for Israeli Rabbinical Court judges at their annual convention.

More Articles from Rabbi Simcha Weinstein
Rabbi Simcha Weinstein

With the newest Superman film, “Man of Steel,” set for release next week, it seems only fitting to look back at the two men who created the world’s most famous superhero.

Front-Page-031513

My wife was called for jury duty when she was pregnant with our fourth child. Since her due date was looming, her doctor wrote a letter to the court, asking for an exemption. When I went to the courthouse office to deliver the letter, I was taken aback by how long the line was.

It’s being called a game changer. Everybody seems to be talking about the recently released Jewish Community Study of New York and its surprising findings regarding New York’s changing Jewish demography.

In March 1941 – nine months before the attack on Pearl Harbor impelled America to enter the Second World War – one colorful American hero already had joined the battle: Captain America.

As an Englishman living in New York, I’ve become rather ambivalent toward the Royal Family over the years. The latest scandal rocking Buckingham Palace hasn’t changed my attitude.

Throughout our history, the survival of the Jewish people has depended upon the courage of Jewish women. With their unassuming femininity and modest morality – not to mention their wills of steel – they have led us by the power of their personal example for thousands of years.

For days after the Al Smith Memorial Dinner, held in mid-October at the Waldorf Astoria, the media buzzed with clips of presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama delivering hilarious routines that put many professional comedians to shame.

The release of the new Batman movie, “The Dark Knight,” will inevitably be overshadowed by the untimely death of one of its stars, Health Ledger, who played the Joker. The talented young actor (who actually lived a few blocks from me) had devoted himself to creating an original, multifaceted portrayal of the iconic character, arguably the most compelling villain in the Batman canon.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/back-in-black-in-defense-of-jewish-diversity/2012/07/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: