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Sunday, October 25, 2015

This week I attended the Conversation

This week I attended the Conversation, a conference in Baltimore Maryland hosted by the Jewish Week.

Each year 54 Jewish thought leaders from a variety of fields including high tech, media, law, entertainment, politics and education are invited to gather for three days of conversation to talk about the future of Jewish life in this country and explore what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century.

This was an opportunity for me to hang out with people I would never run into on the trails behind Boulder.

So what did I learn? These were my take-aways:

  1. The older generation remains concerned about questions such as intermarriage, the decline of synagogue membership and the decline in belief in God. 
  2. The younger generation has long since moved passed those questions and considers them to be irrelevant.
  3. The younger generation creates innovative expressions of Judaism, many of which the older generations considers inauthentic.
  4. The older generation’s opinion on these expressions may not matter because many in the younger generation have already been wildly successful financially so if they put their money towards Jewish programming, we may not need traditional funders.
  5. The people with their hands on the levers of power make their decisions of whom to fund and promote whimsically. The Jewish world is not a meritocracy. The organizations and rabbis who are funded and promoted may not be the best ones, but they are the one’s with connections to the power towers. 
  6. The best route for those on the outside is to work hard and strive but to be content and appreciative of what we have and who we are. 
  7. There are so many rational reasons to be pessimistic about the future of Judaism in America that we may be better off not dwelling on them and focusing on what is good and fun and working.


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