The Unintended Consequences of the Success of Birthright

[The following was posted as a comment to Robbie Gringras's recent post, "8 Cities, 11 Flights, 4 Questions." We felt it deserved wider attention.]

By Andi Meiseles

Robbie, your excellent piece prompts me to share with you and this forum something that has been troubling me professionally and personally for several years: the unintended consequences of the success of Birthright.

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Creating True Jewish Community is Not Elusive

By Allan Finkelstein

Many Jewish agencies, be they federations, JCCs or congregations speak of “building Jewish community.” Yet, in more than 40 years of work in the fields of Jewish endeavor, I believe that finding true Jewish community is elusive, and something that all of us in the Jewish communal world have struggled to do, even as it remains the essential core of our missions. Resident camps – environments focused solely on creating community with all of the right natural elements – do this best. But elsewhere, it remains a struggle, reaching this oft-stated communal goal. As I near my own retirement, I reflect frequently on this unfinished business of Jewish life.

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