A few days ago, the Jewish Press posted an article about the annual Jewish Education Innovation Challenge retreat, hosted by the Mayberg Family Foundation. Participants were given 12 minutes to present their solutions to the rapidly declining interest in Judaism and being Jewish throughout the United States. Well, I can offer the solution in only 12 seconds, but no one will award me a prize. The solution is to stop pretending that the exile has value any longer, and to begin telling young people that their future is in the Land of Israel and not in gentile America.
The writer of the article states: “For years, Jewish education has been searching for a means to inspire, to innovate, and redefine the standard curriculum to engage the next generation of Jews. Schools across the Jewish spectrum have received constant pressure to re-package and teach classic content in a style that speaks to the students.” Repackaging the same old “lukshion” won’t improve things at all, nor will teaching classic content in a razzle-dazzle hi-tech fashion stop the snowballing rate of assimilation and disenchantment with everything Jewish amongst America’s Jews. The truth is that the game is over.
The Diaspora was never supposed to last forever. Now that the State of Israel has been reborn and Jews are free to return home, the exile should be increasingly irrelevant. Aliyah is the only answer. It’s the only way to save today’s generation of Jewish youth in America. Jewish education in the US is doomed. A Jew isn’t supposed to live in a gentile land. He is supposed to live in the Jewish Homeland. That’s what it says in the Torah, again and again and again. That’s what all the Prophets of Israel, the true educators of our Nation, proclaim. The future of the Jewish People is in the Land of Israel, not in in alien lands surrounded and inundated and bombarded by gentile cultures and ways. All of the education innovation conventions in the world won’t alter this eternal truth.
If you want to save the Jews of America, there is only one solution. Aliyah. In Israel, all surveys prove that the connection to Judaism is growing. The secular make a lot of noise in the media, but their numbers are dwindling. More and more Israelis are returning to tradition all the time. So if the Mayberg Family Foundation really wants to inspire a change, let them hold next year’s retreat in Israel, with a one-way ticket to all participants. It’s the only way to save American Jewry from becoming extinct. The exile is a curse that is not supposed to last forever. Thank G-d, it’s on the way out. That’s the real educational message. Face it.