web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » Sections » Books »

Title: Getting Our Groove Back – How to Energize American Jewry

         Scott Shay is the co-founder of Jewish Youth Connection, chair of UJA Federation of New York’s Commission on Jewish Identity and Renewal and a successful businessman. His 2007 book, Getting Our Groove BackHow To Energize American Jewry contains sharp insights, nearly flawless objectivity and some terrific advice.

 

         Shay identifies critical problems in present-day American Jewish life: a dwindling sense of importance of Jewish identity evidenced in rising intermarriage rates and decreasing synagogue and Jewish school enrollments; poor parental role models who refrain from substantive involvement in Jewish affairs, inconsistent standards for conversion to Judaism; diverse categorizations of Jewish identity when it exists (Reform, Reconstructionist, variations of Orthodoxy); poor educational standards that don’t inspire K-12 students, and the cognitive dissonance that results from donations by allegedly Jewish charities to non-Jewish (sometimes anti-Jewish) causes. These and other factors cited in the book undermine potential Jewish identification and unity. Shay supports his eloquent assertions and conclusions with relevant statistics.

 

         Shay offers intelligently-considered solutions to the problems identified in this 304-page hardcover book: inspirational trips to Israel, better educational standards for adults and children plus increased pay for attracting superb teachers, involved clergy who go camping with the kehillah or participate in youth groups, increased birth rates, a cessation of spending on causes unrelated to Jewish interests, organized protests regarding media misrepresentation of Jewish realities, and other good ideas.

 

         But some of his advice falls flat. Recommending to non-Orthodox streams of Jewish life to standardize their conversion processes and definitions of “Who is a Jew” or to reinvent their bloated bureaucracies into cohesive “mini-movements” while promoting kashrut, matrilineal descent and other activities that these organizations reject is wishful thinking. Non-Orthodox movements will likely resist the imperative to re-define themselves out of existence!

 

         The author missed some significance in the opening quotes of Chapter One and on the last page of his book. They are from Talmud (Bava Batra 7a): “The community is Israel’s rampart” and the oft-quoted “The day is short/The task is great/It is not up to you/To complete the work/Yet you cannot concede it/All beginnings are hard/If not now, when?”

 

         They’re predicated on accepting G-d as the One Who Determines the Rules in Life. Unless that premise is absorbed by and acted upon by all Jews, the collective American Jewish groove will continue grinding down like the gears on the book’s cover. Perhaps the author can include inspirational insights about optimal Jewish identification and activity by Rabbi Y. B. Soloveitchik, z”l, Chassidic commentators, past and present, plus other inspirational sources, in updates of his present book.

 

         Getting Our Groove Back – How To Energize American Jewry still deserves close reading and follow-up. Social scientists, clergy, Federation officials and anyone interested in the thriving success of American Jewry (parents included) should study its pages closely. Enacting suggestions consistent with the supreme premise of Judaism (G-d rules, you comply) can result in quantum improvements to Jewish life and collective Jewish insight. They’re excellent starting points for increasing successes in proudly identifying, and thriving, as Jews.

 

         Yocheved Golani is the author of “It’s MY Crisis! And I’ll Cry if I Need To: A Life Book that Helps You to Dry Your Tears and to Cope with a Medical Challenge” (Booklocker, USA).

About the Author: Yocheved Golani is the author of highly acclaimed "It's MY Crisis! And I'll Cry If I Need To: EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge" (http://booklocker.com/books/3067.html). It addresses and solves many needs of disabled, ill and recovering readers.


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 “Title: Getting Our Groove Back – How to Energize American Jewry”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Colin H. Kahl, VP Joe Biden's new national security adviser.
Biden’s New NSA Chief Mocked Israeli Nuke Fears
Latest Sections Stories
Israeli winery

“You want to know what this wine looked like, which wine King David drank, white or red…. We can see if it’s red or white, strong or weak.”

Mindy-092614-Choc-Roll

I should be pursuing plateaus of pure and holy, but I’m busy delving and developing palatable palates instead.

Schonfeld-logo1

Brown argues that this wholehearted living must extend into our parenting.

If we truly honor the other participants in a conversation, we can support, empathize with, and even celebrate their feelings.

I witnessed the true strength of Am Yisrael during those few days.

She writes intuitively, freely, and only afterwards understands the meaning of what she has written.

“I knew it was a great idea, a win-win situation for everyone,” said Burstein.

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

“I would really love my mother-in-law …if she weren’t my mother-in-law.”

For each weekly reading, Rabbi Grysman begins with a synopsis of the Torah portion, followed by a focus on a major issue.

It’s Rosh Hashanah. A new year. Time for a fresh start. Time for a new slate. Time for change.

Governor Rick Scott visited North Miami Beach/Aventura on the morning of Wednesday, September 17.

While the cost per student is higher than mainstream schools, Metzuyan Academy ESE is a priceless educational opportunity for children with special needs in South Florida.

Challah-pa-looza helped get the community ready and excited about the upcoming Jewish New Year.

More Articles from Yocheved Golani
Esther Grinberg

Tehilim 71:9 reads “Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails.” The message is apropos to the endeavor – wonder and spirituality ruled as respect for aging heroes of the Shoah increased among Leo Baeck students.

book-Kosher-Grapevine

Title: The Kosher Grapevine: Exploring the World of Wine
Author: Irving Langer
Publisher: Gefen

Breathe deeply. You’ll need maximum physical and spiritual power to absorb the uplifting lessons in this book. Page 249 explains why some Jews are praised as “fish on dry land,” a phrase that describes Moshe Rabeinu. Am Yisrael began to appreciate his depth of character at kriat Yam Suf, realizing that “he lived in the revealed world as though he were in the concealed world.”

Author Irving Langer provides his own look at wine-making as well as the nature of the storage barrels used to age wines for taste perfection. He intersperses the book with Jewish historical facts and figures, a few jokes and photographs, and advice on how to pair wines with specific foods.

Unlike formulaic biographies from popular publishing houses in the Orthodox Jewish world, Beyond Politics is not predictable. The vignettes of individual men and women who trekked through Ethiopia and Sudan, flew in from Austria, India, and Algeria, or were born on Israeli soil are gritty, adventurous, and heartwarming.

Title: The Koren Ethiopian Haggada Journey to Freedom: Celebrating Ethiopian Jewish History, Traditions & Customs
Editor: Rabbi Menachem Waldman
Publisher: Koren Publishing

Most of the No-Potato Passover recipes are as casual as the title’s spelling: some include only six ingredients and limited prep time – half to one full hour. They’re good for heart health and waistlines, too.

The Hebrew-English haggada provides a wealth of photographic evidence of the lives led by Ethiopian Jews. The pottery, the unembellished homes, school, and synagogues, the gaunt Jews in modest clothing and head coverings portray dedication to Torah values despite harsh political and topographical conditions.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/title-getting-our-groove-back-how-to-energize-american-jewry/2007/08/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: