Clinging to resentment of the early socialist Zionist leaders’ hostility to traditional religion may have a certain nostalgic “feel-good” quality to it, but this is a time for truth, not nostalgia. As the depressing numbers of the Pew study unambiguously demonstrate, assimilation and intermarriage have become runaway trains in America. It is all the more essential, therefore, for all Orthodox groups to embrace Israel, not only for existential reasons, as many of them have already done, but for ideological ones as well.
Let us hope that haredi leaders draw constructive and pragmatic conclusions from the Pew study rather than hide from reality, as many Reform leaders have done.
Let us also make the best of this data and utilize it to learn from the mistakes of the past and engage in the creation of a better future. A future in which we are united despite our differences yet committed to one another because of our similarities, which are far greater than we tend to perceive.
About the Author: Rabbi Elchanan Poupko is a rabbi, writer, teacher, and blogger (www.rabbipoupko.com). He lives with his wife in New York City. A slightly different version of this article originally appeared in The YU Lamdan (www.yulamdan.com).
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