If it has been too long since my last substantive, non-poetry based post, please understand that it is not a function of my abandonment of my beloved audience (you all, about whom I care deeply), but rather because I am still in recovery from this article in the Jerusalem Post.
Now, whenever I come across articles of this nature—that is, malinformed and small-minded—I wonder if the dialogue is enhanced by my commentary. If I pick apart this gentleman’s argument piece by piece, if I point out the flaws, if I urge you all to actually consider the man’s case, even if only to refute it, aren’t I implicitly condoning the existence of this diatribe? Am I inherently suggesting that some aspect of his absurdity is legitimate?
I am so angry, I don’t even know where to go from here. Do I suggest that the writer can legitimately draw his conclusions about the conference to which he refered (about Jewish philanthropies funding cultural programming) only if he attended said conference and not through inferences derived from someone else’s notes? That the part of the study he asserts were ignored—that the Jews who attend cultural events do have extensive Jewish backgrounds—were not ignored and were in fact discussed in depth, a fact I know because I attended the event and took my own notes? He asks, “If young American Jews are not affiliating despite being more educated and engaged then ever, what causes Jews of my generation to leave the community behind? “ Had he been at the conference, he would know that unaffiliated does not equal uninvolved, that leaving prescribed denominations does not mean leaving the community, that, in fact, many young Jews are using Jewish cultural events as a jumping off point to connect and form their own communities. He would also know that far from universalism, the findings of Cohen and other sociologists indicate a trend toward particularism, toward hybridism, toward “niches.” The writer does touch on this issue:
And just because you use the words “zeitgeist” and “esthetic” in your article does not make you erudite. Or right.
Update (11/01/06): I was remiss in my research. Somehow, I missed Esther's reaction to the article (my sincere apologies, oh wise and magnanimous Esther).