Idea of the Day: Embrace our critics

JTA is soliciting readers’ ideas for reversing the tide of Jewish assimilation in America. Here’s today’s featured idea:

It’s time we show people who don’t see themselves as fitting into the norms of the Jewish community that they are welcome.

We’re good at welcoming “good Jews” who agree with us and want to be part of our synagogues, communities and institutions. But we have to learn to welcome our critics.

Synagogues should allow alternate services that appeal to people who don’t want to be with the rabbi or chazzan. Jewish federations should facilitate meetings between its leaders and people who are frustrated with the organized Jewish community. AIPAC should sponsor meetings for people who only want to kvetch about Israel.

Outliers can become partners in building the Judaism of the future – if they are welcomed and not shoved to the periphery.

Rabbi Asher Lopatin

Riverdale, New York

(Rabbi Asher Lopatin is the president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, an open Orthodox rabbinical school in New York.)

Read more ideas for stemming the tide of American Jewish disengagement here.

To share your idea, send an email describing one concrete idea in 200 words or less to jewishfuture@jta.org (include your full name, city, and state or country). Our favorites will be featured online.

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