The Gulf That Divides Us

Satellitefrom The Jerusalem Post, by Haviv Rettig Gur:

Analysis: ‘Lost’ in America

Masa’s leaders are mystified after the raucous responses to an initiative they considered to be utterly wholesome and unassailable.

American Jewish youth are “assimilating,” American Jewish leaders keep complaining. Somewhere, Masa executives heard the oft-quoted, outdated and vague notion that about half of American Jewry are “leaving the fold.”

…In any case, that sense that half is “lost” and half is “safe” amounts to the only thing most Israelis, even those dealing with the Diaspora, actually know about American Jewry.

Faced with such a clear and agreed-upon crisis, they reacted in a quintessentially Israeli way. They mobilized.

And, spectacularly, demonstrated a reality I have come to know well from the past few years of following the research conducted by my father, Rabbi Ed Rettig of the American Jewish Committee: The Jewish world does not appreciate and fully understand the vastness of the cultural gulf that divides the two largest communities, Americans and Israelis, which together constitute 80% of all Jews. Perhaps it is time to begin to question what, as communities, we really know about each other.