An interesting, edgy, from-the-heart essay appeared last week on the ejewishphilanthropy.com website. Written by Jordan Goodman, an “ordinary” but obviously strongly identifying member of the Jewish community, it was in response to an earlier article by Dr. Rob Weinberg that reflected upon the questions: What constitutes success in Jewish education? How do we measure success? And what practices should be adopted to ensure success?
Weinberg’s essay is educationally “technical”.
Goodman’s essay is more philosophically oriented. It is squarely aimed at the North American Non-Orthodox Jewish community.
Goodman uses strong language. His observation about the current state of Non-Orthodox communal Jewish life is at the core of the urgency of the need to make Jewish education affordable.
“So … when will professional North American Non-Orthodox (NANO) Jews (clergy, educators, movement staff, independent consultants, etc.), acknowledge that the failure of NANO Judaism is at the root of the membership retention/attraction and financial/funding difficulties experienced by many if not most NANO synagogues, institutions and organizations? There can be no change of any consequence without first acknowledging this incontrovertible fundamental fact.”
The essay is clearly provocative. But it is written le shaym shamyim (for the sake of a truthful discussion). Most important, it compels us to confront our own vision of how we hope to live our own lives for the sake of our children, our forebears and of course, ourselves.
In steering us toward this important introspection, Goodman does us all a favour.