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Idea of the Day: Forget demographics

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

Give up on quantity and invest in quality. Instead of investing time and money in trying to make the Jewish people numerous, invest in making them more innovative and knowledgeable.
Do not worry about demographics. The Jews have survived in the past with fewer numbers than we have today and with much greater persecution — not because of our robust demography, but because of our robust quality of intellectual and spiritual life.
If and when we create and build texts, institutions and communities of substance, we will not only survive but thrive. We need massive investment in Hebrew education at the college level; in institutions that are doing substantive intellectual work and training, such as Mechon Hadar; in supporting more adult educators; and in worthy charitable and social justice organizations. None of these investments are going to greatly increase the number of Jews, but they will maintain such a healthy core that survival will not be in question.

Ben Bernstein
Brooklyn, 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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