Why be Jewish?’ in Utah


Dozens of Jewish writers and thinkers are meeting in Utah to explore questions of Jewish identity.

“Why Be Jewish?,” a three-day conference this week sponsored by the Samuel Bronfman Foundation, opened Sunday in Park City. Jewish professionals, rabbis, academics and writers are studying Jewish texts as a basis for sharing ideas about how to energize the next generation of American Jews.

“We have gathered a rather eclectic mix of people, each of whom has a particular perspective,” said Dana Raucher, the foundation’s executive director. “Each of these people has influence somewhere. They will hopefully be enriched by what takes place and will take the conversation home with them.”

Conference coordinator Rabbi Eliyahu Stern said the gathering is inspired by “the hope of changing Jewish identity discussions from an issue of the quantity of Jews to a more substantive conversation on the quality, content and core values that animate Jewish life.”

This first identity conference is part of the Bronfman Vision Forum, a recently announced umbrella for the various outreach and Jewish learning initiatives developed over the past few years by foundation president Edgar Bronfman.

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