In such a globalized world, how do we define peoplehood today? Is there a core value system that underlies the notion of peoplehood, and what are those values? What makes Jews in Israel, Europe, Africa, America, and other places part of the same people-religion, ethnic traditions, a sense of nationalism?
Marc Gopin Madeleine Albright, The Mighty and the Almighty, HarperCollins, 2006, $26, 352 pages Madeleine Albright’s book The Mighty and the Almighty is path-breaking; for the first time, one of the major political actors on the world stage and in American foreign policy is seriously engaging and interweaving the issues of religion, politics, diplomacy, war,
David Ellenson Like many others in Jewish leadership positions, I must often consider competing agendas and balance diverse factors — the practical, the visionary, the immediate, and the ethical. While these factors converge at times, often they are at cross-purposes, and I must adjudicate between a multitude of public needs. There is no pat formula
Nessa Rapoport: Instead of inviting the entire Jewish people to the feast, we have cultivated a legacy of disparagement, vilifying this or that faction of our minuscule people until no one is deemed authentic enough to be at the table.
Neil Gillman: While Abraham Joshua Heschel went far beyond his Jewish concerns to engage in a broadly humanitarian, universal social and political agenda, Kaplan devoted the last decades of his career to developing our only indigenous American Jewish religious movement.
Mara Benjamin, Steven M. Cohen, Jack Wertheimer: Three distinguished Jewish thinkers exchange a series of letters about how next-gen Jews are viewing peoplehood and the tension between individuality and collective responsibility, selfhood, hybridity, and Jewish identity.
Alan Hoffmann Interview: Sh’ma Editor Susan Berrin interviews Alan Hoffmann, Director of education at the Jewish Agency for Israel, about how central, or not, peoplehood is to Jews and Judaism, and the values and limitations of Jewish peoplehood.
Ezra Kopelowitz: While Alan Hoffmann conceptualizes Jewish peoplehood as a belief system, Jews cannot move between the peoplehood belief system and the mitzvot of everyday life in a clean way… As people go about their daily lives they mix and match their “identities” in a fluid and ever-changing way, pulling as needed from various ideologies and rarely over-committing to anyone of them. Research shows that when a person lives a rich Jewish life, he or she will feel part of the Jewish people. There is no need to define and market peoplehood and expect Jews to carry out a certain set of mitzvot.