So, in my Facebook feed today I saw a link to an editorial on Haaretz.com by Rabbi Leon Morris titled, “Religion matters: Beware the American ‘cultural Jew.'” They’re trouble, I tell ya: too much lox, bagels, and bad Yiddish, and not enough commitment to Israel. And also, without faith, Torah, and mitzvot, those Jews are lacking “anything that matters much at all.”
Also, for our traditionally-minded friends: compromise with the Reform and Conservative movements, since they are the “shock troops” for getting people back into Judaism. Never mind that the same study Rabbi Morris cites to support his claim that cultural Jews are inherently bad for Judaism also points out that Reform and Conservative Judaism are not doing so hot, themselves.
Here’s an idea for Rabbi Morris. How about not talking to cultural Jews as though they’re only “Jew-ish,” rather than Jewish? How about taking seriously the idea that many of your congregants in the liberal Jewish world probably aren’t religious themselves? How about thinking about religion separately from belief in a divinity. (Humanistic Judaism is, after all, basically a form of religious humanism.)
Oh, never mind–we in the SHJ will happily take them.