A call from afar for Jewish education at home

At the end of September, the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI), a non-profit, non-partisan, highly reputed, think tank based in Jerusalem released 2022 Annual Assessment of the Situation and Dynamics of the Jewish People.

The institute’s scholars and researchers conduct their annual assessment of the state of the Jewish people across a wide range of factors and indicia. The JPPI was founded some two decades ago for “the purpose of promoting and securing the Jewish people and Israel.” The annual assessment has become an important launching pad for study, strategic discussion and pragmatic intra and inter-communal policy development among lay and professional leaders throughout the Jewish world.

Not surprisingly, yet no less dishearteningly, this year’s assessment concludes that “the indicators for Jewish safety and well-being are in decline.”

On the subject of Israel-Diaspora relations, the focus of the discussion is Israel’s relationship with the Jews of the United States. This is as it should be given the overwhelmingly important nature of the relationship between Israel and the U.S. as well as the fact that the number of Jews in the U.S. comprises between 40-45% of the number of Jews in the world. Even with its particular American focus, Canadians can parse and apply the report’s conclusions to our own situation. We have been doing so at least since World War II.

The report delves into the geopolitical uncertainty that has intensified in the last year with implications for Israel and the Jewish people. The Institute sees major warning signs for Israel-Diaspora (American) relations in the fact that most American Jews support the Democratic Party which is trending leftward with serious implications for American policy toward Israel and the rise of antisemitism worldwide.

The report quotes JPPI President, Prof. Yedidia Stern: “The core beliefs and emotional ties that ‘made us one’ are dramatically weakening while those on the margins are growing, ideologically and identity-wise within Israel and outside it.”

According to the report, “distancing from Israel is becoming such a significant issue among college-aged Jews and Zionism is a very problematic word in some of the elite universities in the United States. In the Judaism [among college-aged Jews], there is little religious or national currency, mostly just a cultural connection. Only a third of the young Jews, under 30, say that it is very important that their grandchildren be Jews. The overall result is threefold: a reduction and dilution of the share of non-religious Jewish identity in the Diaspora; a reduction of the pro-Israel resolve among the elite of the next generation of Jews; and increased polarization among American Jews – political, religious, cultural.”

The JPPI addressed a large number of specific recommendations on the subject to the government of Israel and to the appropriate governmental organizations there. But one of its key recommendations regarding Israel-Diaspora relations was directed to the Jewish communities abroad. It stands out like a flashing neon sign against a dark wall.

“Diaspora communities (with the assistance of Israel) should prioritize significant Jewish education projects – financially, socially, and institutionally.”

JPPI’s plea is not new. Variations of the same recommendation have been made in the past. They make the case however that the plea in 2022 is more urgent than it was in the past because of the upheaving effect of the radically affective instruments of social media upon most aspects of our lives and because of the unprecedented dysfunction in the respective governmental-political systems.  

Thankfully, our community leaders do place Jewish education – including significant education projects –  at the highest of communal priorities. They know that Jewish education is the seed from which all future communities will be sustained as thrivingly Jewish in every important respect.

GAJE’s narrow focus is to help make Jewish education truly affordable to the young families that seek it for their children.

(To read the 2022 JPPI annual assessment go to its website at https://jppi.org.il)


If you wish to contribute to GAJE’s lawsuit for fairness in educational funding, please click here.

For further information, please contact Israel Mida at: imida1818@gmail.com

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.


Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)

October 21, 2022

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