Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Quote du Jour (Judaism Department): "Stop trying to make Judaism only about religion..."

Happy is she -- and that would be me -- who gets Pew Research studies delivered direct to her email box. As you might imagine, I eagerly await research results from the Pew Forum Religion & Public Life Project and the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Happy places!

Last week, the Religion & Public Life Project published "A Portrait of Jewish Americans" which opened with this sentence, "American Jews overwhelmingly say they are proud to be Jewish and have a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people." You need to scroll down to find out that 42% say "having a good sense of humor" is "essential to their Jewish identity."

At this point I was not only thinking but also saying, "Vo den?"

But uh-oh, screw me with my multiple spirituality disorder: "60% of U.S. Jews say a person cannot be Jewish if he or she believes Jesus was the messiah." Imagine my relief to see this quote from Arnold Eisen, chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary in the Telegraph's article, "Mashup: Jewish leaders respond to Pew":

"They [survey respondents] want a new notion of what being Jewish is -- we haven't really responded to that...We need to have options...Stop trying to make Judaism only about religion. There are substantive ways to be a Jew beyond religion."

─  Arnold Eisen