Reshaping the World Through Vision, Activism, Ideas and Initiative (Not Demography)
Wexner Foundation Blog, May 22, 2014
I have now seen several rounds of brouhaha over Jewish population surveys: 1990, 2001, and now Pew 2013. One would think that the conversation would advance each decade. This is social science after all; time marches on and we build our knowledge cumulatively, on the shoulders of giants as it were.
Alas, we don’t live only in linear time. We are a religious community and, as such, we live in cyclical time as well — repeating, reiterating, reliving, recapitulating the creation of the world and its judgment, our people’s journey from slavery to freedom, our wanderings and our homecomings, our devastations and our restorations.
It is into this cyclical time that we have entered our population surveys and their reports. And why not? For this is what we do with our writings, we weave them into our Jewish textual tradition, with its midrashic interpretations and ritualized readings. Continue reading…