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The Pew Webinar: Chat Questions & Quotes

The Chat during our Webinar was overflowing with great thoughts and questions. With the limited time, we weren’t able to discuss more than a few questions. Here are some of the highlights of the Chat – both questions and quotes. We’d love to hear your thoughts and responses:


  • What are some specific policy recommendations that you could make in the realm of Jewish education in the wake of this survey? (Ted Merwin, Carlisle, PA)
  • What about the God taboo? (Daniel Victor)
  • You can “rescue the world” as an American – so what happens to the kids of those parents; with no Jewish education, what’s the impetus to stay Jewish? (Bess Adler, Hackensack, NJ)
  • We keep on speaking about “Jewish Education.” Forgive me for my naivety, but how would we be dealing with this issue re:standards and benchmarks for good Jewish education? Can this way of thinking guide us and be generic and comprehensive enough to serve all the diverse Jewish educational frameworks? Does this form of consensus help us or detract from moving forward? (Michal Morris Kamil, San Fransisco, CA)
  • Has the Pew Study done more harm than good, given many of the critiques presented to it – AND – is there a better way for us to be evaluating the breadth of the American Jewish scene? (Jess Paikin, Jerusalem)
  • Since SO MUCH is missing from the study – are we missing the point a bit? What AREN’T we asking? I think we know the answer to this… so why aren’t we asking the questions? (Jess Paikin, Jerusalem)
  • The study reads “This shift in Jewish self-identification reflects broader changes in the US public.” What can we learn from outside the Jewish community? (Yoshi Fenton, San Fransisco, CA)
  • Is there some point where we’ve decided we’ve created TOO many communities and no longer have a feeling of klal yisrael? (Karen Stein, Forest Hills, NY)
  • Are institutions still the best purveyors of our educational values and wares? (Janis Knight)
  • How did Jewish education happen before the Industrial school model? (Lori Rubin, Philadelphia, PA)


  • In the famous words of Ha Rav Billy Joel, “The good old days weren’t always good; tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.” (Kate O’Brien, The Workmen’s Circle)
  • …We’ve rejected next gen Jews for a variety of reasons, in a myriad of ways, for so long that its not on them anymore. It’s our fault. As a “Next Gen Jew”, I need people to reach out and tell me they want me, and ask me what I want. Then maybe we can recreate something together. (Emilia Diamant, Boston, MA)
  • These “Jews without religion” are happy where they are and are growing in this cultural educational model. We help them grow and become who they are meant to be – whatever that means. (Kate O’Brien, The Workmen’s Circle)
  • We should capitalize on happy Jews. (Dan Brosgol, Newton, MA)
  • We are teaching people to be, as Kate said, “responsive and responsible citizens” and if we can do that through Judaism and through bolstering their identities with the richness of our tradition, then we are succeeding. (Etta King, Jewish Women’s Archive)
  • I think we need to relook at membership and what it’s doing to our communities. We are overly concerned with people “belonging”. (Rebekah Raz, Stamford, CT)
  • We need to be mindful as both Kate and Emilia suggest that today’s children have parents and extended family who are not Jewish — and that a Jewish “embrace” needs to reflect the respect and fairness that children intuitively want. Certainly the dual faith families I serve want respect and not marginalization for both backgrounds. The exclusivity can be off-putting. (Sheila Gordon)
  • I think what we need is a new narrative. For too long the narrative was about the Holocaust and the establishment of Israel (that was my childhood narrative). We are seeing that it’s time to change it. What is our new narrative (more than meaning and purpose because that’s empty). (Daniel Gropper, Rye, NY)
  • Both ignoring and hand-wringing are cop outs. (UJAFedNY)
  • Where we stand depends on where we sit. Very hard to break out of that! (Amy Asin, Palo Alto, CA)
  • Every kid doesn’t have the chance to participate, these decisions are being made by their parents long before they can speak up for themselves. (Shari Weinberger, Providence, RI)
  • I think we need the teachers who have the ability to engage and inspire. We need to be given the dedicated time to do engagement work. (Iris Koller)

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