The Big Agenda for Jews and Judaism?

by Maskil on 10 Apr 2008

I don’t seem to have received my invitation for “Facing Tomorrow,” the three-day conference convened by Israeli President Shimon Peres to coincide with the country’s 60th anniversary celebrations. I guess they must still be finalising the list of invitees for the “Wannabe Jewish Blogger” category? Just in case the invitation doesn’t arrive in time for me to make the necessary arrangements (administrative and clerical errors no doubt occur when one is organising an event for more than a thousand leading politicians, scholars and scientists from around the world), here’s what I’d like to see on the agenda. Let’s call it The Big Agenda for Jews and Judaism.

How will the human race survive on Earth, and what will be the contribution of individual Jews, Jewish communities, Jewish theology and Israel to saving the planet for all of its inhabitants?

What kind of definition (or definitions) of Judaism and Jewishness will allow us to embrace rather than exclude the majority of those who consider themselves Jewish (or Israeli, for that matter) in one way or another.

What kind of Judaism (or Judaisms) will emerge from our relationship with the Global Village, the open societies of which we are largely a part and the marketplace of ideas? Will it thrive or just survive? Will it be backward or progressive? Will it attract or repel its children and those on its fringes?

How do we ensure that Israel can continue to exist as a Jewish state and also as a democratic and secular state in the Middle East through the 21st century and beyond? How do we ensure its security, prosperity and appeal, even in the absence of peace? How do we address the external military and other threats, and the internal threats of crime, corruption, moral, creeping theocracy and the erosion of the rule of law?

What do we need to do to ensure that the Jewish communities in the Diaspora can thrive and expand and not merely survive or contract in the open societies they mainly inhabit? What kind of leadership, institutions and infrastructure will be needed? How do we encourage “connectedness”?

How do we go about deepening and strengthening the ties between Israel and the Diaspora? How do we ensure that we remain siblings and not just distant cousins? Have we got to grips with the shifting balance in population and wealth between the two? Begun to address the changing nature of aliya and the growing Israeli expatriate community?

Have I left any major items off the Big Agenda? Any items that can’t be slotted in underneath one of these major headings? Drop me a line and let me know.

Peres To Convene Confab on Israeli and Jewish Future –

Peres: We’ve seen worse times – JTA, Jewish & Israel News

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