friday, march 25, 2011 .
“It’s an idea of continuation. It’s a dream. Magic.” — Irit Rosenblum, an attorney representing a family who want a grandchild using the sperm of their dead son. See page 24.
letters to the editor the rabbi’s turn
Write a letter to the editor: W w v fm ! o w f www.w./.pp?/_.m, p m ppm 350 w. t f ap 5. F m f .
At a conerence earlierthis year, I heard a denomi-national leader now close toretirement ask whether theyoung leaders who are goingoutside o traditional insti-tutional rameworks under-stand “who published the
that they are using,and who gave them theirtraining and credentials.”Tis comment echoes the ndings o arecent study by the AVI CHAI Foundationexamining the impact o Jewish leaders intheir 20s and 30s. In that study, AmericanJewish history scholar Jack Wertheimerwrites, “For their part, younger Jewishleaders would do well to reexamine theirviews o the establishment. For all its weak-nesses, it played a major role in educat-ing them.” In both o these comments, Idetect a hint o resentment toward youngleaders, and an accusation that they/we(I’m a 34-year-old rabbi who started a newcommunity in Seattle) are acting withoutappropriate humility.On the other hand, when I startedthe Kavana Cooperative ve years ago, Iheard something altogether dierent: My generation did not want to align with the“establishment,” so we made calculateddecisions neither to adopt a synagoguemodel nor to aliate with any denomi-nation. Tis desire to acknowledge gen-erational dierences by orging new pathshas been reinorced by the world o Jewishphilanthropy, which in recent years hassupported a number o innovative proj-ects that aim to change the Jewish world.All o this leaves me in a bit o a quan-dary. I am keenly aware that I am whoI am today by virtue o my upbringingduring the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s in a small,southern Jewish community, where I wasshaped by all o the major Jewish insti-tutional orces o the 20th century: Asynagogue (which happened to be bothConservative and conservative), an aer-noon Hebrew school, a Jewish Commu-nity Center, a Jewish ederation, summercamps, and more. But the Jewish worldhas changed rapidly and dramatically overthe past decades. oday I am nurturedJewishly by a loosely connected nationalnetwork o Jewish “start-up” communi-ties, unders, and umbrella organizations— groups brought together by a commonvocabulary centering around “innova-tion,” “social entrepreneurship,” “mean-ing,” and “empowerment.”While I acknowledge that my successis due to the individual mentors and to themany institutions — both old and young —that have taught me, supportedme, and enabled me to arrive atthis point, I am also aware o adeep tension — a behind-the-scenes tug o war, a generationgap — between “old school”and “new school” leaders.I wonder what is going on.How might we probe the gen-erational divide that existsamong Jewish leaders today?Can we learn to talk across the multigen-erational divide in ways that are productiveand mutually respectul? Is this a matter o not acknowledging one’s years, o not want-ing to hand over the power to make changesto a rising youthul leadership that works inways dierent rom the established ways?Are young leaders not acknowledging orpaying tribute to their ormative years, theirown stories o emergence, the precedentsupon which they built their lives and “inno-vative” communities?I ask my older colleagues: Can your gen-eration o Jewish leaders take pride in thelegacy you are leaving, even i younger lead-ers carve out new paths rather than ollowdirectly in your ootsteps? Can you acceptthat we might not want to assume themantle o your existing institutions — eveni you were willing to hand over the reins?And, without being presumptuous, weknow that some existing organizations may alter without a new, rising leadership. Canyou demonstrate the principle o
,contraction, in order to make space or newways o organizing and new orms o lead-ership? Can I convince you that preservingJudaism is more about the values and idealswe share than any particular institutionalramework or established model?I ask my peers: How might we expressour gratitude to those who have paved theway or us and demonstrate appropriatehumility? How can we absorb the depth o wisdom rom people who have served theeld over time, have lived with an innovativespirit and created their own communities intheir day — even without making theirchoices our choices? Can we build bridgesbetween the tendency to reject mainstreamJudaism as outdated and the reality that, orthe majority o American Jews, these insti-tutions are and will remain at the heart o Jewish lie or the near uture?A multigenerational mix o Jewishleaders might challenge the unhelp-ul dichotomy between innovators andestablishment, enduring institutions andinchoate new ventures, “insiders” and“outsiders.” In our own ways, we mightocus on the shared task o making Judaismrelevant and meaningul in the uture.
GXs a Bms:Hm a
th Kv Coopriv
Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum is the spiritual leader and executive director of the KavanaCooperative in Seattle (www.kavana.org),and a proud member of Generation X.Reprinted with permission from Sh’ma(www.shma.com) January 2011 as part of a larger conversation on leadershipsuccession.
the joys oF a hosting exchange
Thank you for your heartwarming article about AFS exchange student Mohammed’secumenical experience in Seattle (M.O.T., “Saudi student enjoys kosher food,” Feb.25). Now more than ever we need people-to-people relationships to dispel stereotypicalimages that are so prevalent.This year AFS of Greater Puget Sound is hosting approximately 50 students fromfour continents in our local communities. Current students in Seattle public and privateschools come from Sweden, Moldava, Brazil, Russia, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Tajik-istan, Switzerland, Chile, Australia, Malaysia, Portugal, Italy, and Saudi Arabia and staywith local volunteer families.We are looking for host families for students who will arrive in August for the 2011-12school year. It’s not necessary to have a child in school, though it’s great if families dohave high school students. Single parents and empty nesters can make excellent hosts.Students arrive with full medical coverage and their own spending money.As a host family you will learn more about your own community and country throughthe eyes of a student as well as creating family around the world. It’s a great introduc-tion to studying abroad for your own children. Please contact AFS now at afs.org or ourlocal hosting coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to expand your horizonsby hosting a student.
aFs gPs Vs
true obstacles to Peace
The recent outrageous massacre of innocents in Itamar, an Israeli settlement in the
Samarian Hills, when terrorists inltrated the home of Udi and Ruth Fogel raises seriousquestions. This horric act illustrates that “settlements” are not the obstacle to peace as
some would have us believe.It has been reported that the savage killers started with Yoav, the Fogels’ 11-year-old,then Elad, his 4-year-old brother. Yoav’s throat was slit as he was reading in bed, and Elad
was stabbed twice in the heart. Then the attacker murdered Ruth, kning her as she cameout of the bathroom. In the next room they killed Ruth’s sleeping husband, Udi, and their
infant daughter, Hadas. Apparently they did not notice the last bedroom, where two otherboys, Ro’i, 8, and Yishai, 2, were asleep. When 12-year-old Tamar came home shortly
after midnight from a Friday night youth group, this horric slaughter was discovered.
What explains such unspeakable evil? What sort of human being deliberately butch-ers a sleeping baby, or plunges a knife into a toddler’s heart?
The atrocity in Itamar recalls the 2002 terror attack at Kibbutz Metzer that left ve
victims dead, including a mother and her two little boys. It brings to mind the murderof Tali Hatuel and her four daughters, who were shot at point blank range as they drovefrom Gaza to Ashkelon in 2004. It is reminiscent of the bloodbath in a Jerusalem yeshivathree years ago, in which eight young students were gunned down. The civilized mindstruggles to make sense of such savagery.For years the Palestinian Authority has demonized Israelis and Jews as enemies to be
destroyed, vermin to be loathed, and indels to be terrorized with Allah’s blessing.
Children who grow up under Palestinian rule are inundated on all sides — in schools,mosques, on radio and TV, in summer camps and popular music — with messages thatglorify bloodshed, promote hatred and lionize “martyrdom.” This toxic incitement thatpervades Palestinian culture of hatred and violence is well documented.Their propaganda is not only dangerous, but deadly as well.It is ironic to note that at the moment of the Fogel family murder, the West Bank townof Al-Birch celebrated a public square named in honor of Dalai Mughrabi. It was Mughrabiwho, 33 years ago, led a PLO terror squad on a savage rampage on Israel’s coastal road.Thirty-eight innocent Jews, including 13 children, were murdered on that day.With current policies toward Israel and the Israeli people as indicated above, howcan the Palestinians hope to achieve an independent viable state living side by side withIsrael in peace?