Jewish Scene
Who still wants to learn about Judaism?
Mor Altshuler
Published: 16.08.09, 13:34
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36 Talkbacks for this article
1. Truth? Unrevised, it always kills in the end
berlonski ,   Berlin   (08.16.09)
2. And the Wheel Was Bad for Centric Places Too!
Moderate Jew ,   New Jersey, USA   (08.16.09)
3. Post Zionism
eddie ,   london UK   (08.16.09)
why study Jewish Thought to become a high school teacher and lvie hand to mouth, when you can study Law or Business and become part of the Ramat Aviv set or a hi Tech millionaire? Besides, anyone interested in Jewish studies will go to Yeshiva, and then go into hi tech and make their millions there. (i am a cynic)
4. Jewish studies
Nicholas ,   Bethlehem   (08.16.09)
Given the bad spelling and hopeless syntax in this article, it could be that students are forsaking Jewish Studies because the teachers are so poor.
5. And Israel pays for those post-Zionist "scholars"
Raymond in DC ,   Washington, USA   (08.16.09)
I spent a bit of time at Hebrew U in '71, and would sometimes wander the shelves in the library of the Jewish Studies department, just soaking it up, along with many others - overseas students and locals. Such luminaries as Jacob Katz and Gershom Scholem were still active. In the US at the time, Jewish Studies were popping up in colleges where they'd not existed before, in large part sparked by renewed interest following the Six Day triumph and newly inspired Jewish philanthropists. Fast forward 38 years. Serious Jewish studies are conducted at hundreds of universities in the US and Canada, while declining budgets and post-Zionist disdain for the subject have lead to shrinking departments and fewer students.
6. Thank you, Dr. Mor Altshuler
Clear Thinker ,   Haifa   (08.16.09)
Dr. Altshuler hit the nail on the head. Our univeristy Jewish studies departments need to get back to uncovering the unadulterated truth, and not the politically correct "truth."
7. does she want to enforce seculars
ghostq   (08.16.09)
to learn jewish studies? when they don't want to cause the religious have from that in a bundance. lame clueless effort to impose secular system, if people want to learn they will join the religious schools other wise butte out, seculars don't meddle in relegious curriculum.
8. Nicholas, English is not Hebrew 7 the article is translated
Genuine Tosefta ,   Tveria   (08.16.09)
Get you head in order and straight first before criticizing
9. Can you handle the truth?
Mike ,   Portland, USA   (08.16.09)
Only a small minority of young Jews are married to other Jews. Most either don' t marry or marry gentiles. Publicly schooled Jews (most of us) embrace the universal and avoid particularism. We root for Romeo and Juliet; not their parents. I am a post-religious Jew married to a post-religious gentile. We celebrate neither Christmas nor Hannukah. We are part of the growing group of "none of the above". Darwin takes precedence over Moses or Jesus. We are the majority of Democrats and especially in the Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. You can lash out against assimilation and our embrace of Obama but is your American audience even listening? I am an exception in that I am among the few even bothering to listen. What I hear, however, is a looming divorce between Israel and non-orthodox US Jews. Its a watershed when 78% of American Jews vote for President Obama. While only 6% of Israelis, if allowed would have voted for him. You are pretty much on your own now, whether you realize it or not....eventually you will....Very few American Jews like right-wingers, whether Republicans or followers of Netanyahu. Its time you be able to handle the truth. "Bridget Loves Bernie" trumped Molly Goldberg a long time ago. Only the show was cancelled. The reality, however, not only survived. It triumped over "stick-to-your-own-kind" (Kahane lost). Our most prominent symbol of this? President Obama, the offspring of a type of relationship that used to be illegal here( miscegenation laws), just as much as Jewish-Gentile marriages are illegal under halacha. Either Israel will either join the sweeping tide of universalism or consigned to be an irrelevant provincial-quasi theocratic micro-state or cease to exist at all. Its your choice.
10. Serious brains are studing Judaism where it belongs:Yeshivas
Asher ,   NY,USA   (08.16.09)
Zionism or Darwism are not strong enough to be able to address Judaism, that's why public schools gratuates fall to hold to judaism and and get over cast. It's not easy when you do not have the right education but it comes much easier when you either grow up with that or you go and find that by yourself. There are thousands and thousands of Jews who rediscovered their religion and they returned to it and stick to it. To save Israel you must know the ROOTS on which this nation survived for thousands of years despite of harsh history of destroying Jews no matter where they lived. "Truth" is what keeps a Jew remain a Jew and who ever looks for it will find it. Israel Lives For Ever.
11. response to comment #9
connecticutyank ,   stamford, ct   (08.16.09)
The story of Jewish assimilation alongside Jewish continuity is as old as Pharoah. Some continue to find their escape pod just like millions of Jews throughout history. Congratulations, but I take issue with the arrogant attitude. I agree that Jewish support for Obama is a manifestation of the Jewish American religion - call it liberalism, secular Darwinism, whatever you wish. But "universalist" assimilation is a type of self-effacement, ending in a disappearance from the golden strand of Jewish history, but the Jews will survive as we always have because we will not pursue false gods. And many of us didn't vote for Obama either! And please stop calling on Israel to join your sweeping self-erasing tide. Israelis are as secular as most Americans, the reason they don't like Obama has everything to do with his policies toward Israel and nothing to do with your cherished liberal values. Vaya con dios.
12. more for #9
connecticutyank ,   stamford, ct   (08.16.09)
"Either Israel will either join the sweeping tide of universalism or consigned to be an irrelevant provincial-quasi theocratic micro-state or cease to exist at all. Its your choice." Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Rome....the Third Reich...all once relevant, all gone. Who stood the test of time? Think about it!!! Truth is not always where you think it is.
13. mike @ 9; I do not know you and I appologize if I am
leo ,   usa   (08.16.09)
wrong, but you sound like a jew who was ashamed of being a jew all his life. Were called kike way too often?
14. #9 Mike, can you do us a favor?
Roman ,   Lod, Israel   (08.16.09)
Please leave. The Jewish people, that is. You're already mostly out of it, having given up religion, language, shared history, shared culture, and ethnicity... you are an internationalist, after all - those matters are nothing to you. So please, why do you bother giving us a piece of your mind? Because you had parents who were still Jews, and now you're using that as leverage to spit us in the eye? Gee, thanks. And as we wipe the spit away, Mr. Internationalist, we'll be sure to forget you ever existed. You define yourself by a New Dawn and a New Age? That just means you decided to ignore thousands of years of past history for your own brief, personal benefit - by all means, that's your choice. Only, if you make that choice, you automatically lose the right to try and change the collective you just left. Because all you're doing here is justifying your path to yourself by trying to convince others - in short, you *want* a group of like-minded people. But didn't you say you were an internationalist? An individual who does not allow groups to define him? And yet here you are, trying to sweep us away with you.. into what, precisely? The dusty pages of history? Thanks, but no thanks. Here's the thing - assimilation is nothing new. We've had it in Greek times, Roman times, Byzantine times, Arab times, Christian European times, and any time I can think of - if you don't want to stick around, the door's to your left. Always has been. Try not to let the door hit you on your way out.
15. Is there any wonder Dr. Mor?
m   (08.17.09)
"universities are losing their status as knowledge and information providers as the Internet becomes an increasingly dominant player". It's not exactly true, it's the fault of the universities which have become as dogmatic as their counterparts in Soviet Stalinist Russia. Toe the line or your'e out. Brainwashing never worked to develop a quering mind and soar to the heights of knowledge. Do not despair it's happening all over the western world, in some places worse than others. When I look at the books the university library receives (except for sciences)--empty words, no substance (even though they make a great impression)
16. Y Net Talkbacks
Mike ,   Portland, USA   (08.17.09)
I was responding to an article discussing the lack of participation in campus Jewish studies classes. I was trying to highlight how Judaism's "stick-to-your-own-kind philosophy" is a major turn-off to most of us. I did not, however make an ad hominem attack on the author and will not do so against other readers of the article. I will say this, however; ethnocentrism and religion have filled far too many graveyards. In the past the horrors of the middle east could be confined there. The lack of a "different-strokes-for-different folks" attitude in any of the middle east, now however brings us closer to nuclear war. This could engulf me, my wife, my children and the rest of the world.Israel, Iran and the rest of of the stick-to-your-own neighborhood people are endangering all of us. I have every right to talk back to people endangering our planet, who are teetering on the edge of using part of their huge nuclear arsenal. I marched against our own imperialist U.S. government when they were headed down that road. Just because I share genes with Jewish separatists does not prohibit my speaking out against destructive attitudes which our youth try to avoid.(which is part of their not taking religious studies classes in the public universities). This is VERY RELEVANT to the author's puzzlement about the "missing students" for these classes.
17. Jews and Judaism
Felix ,   Toronto   (08.17.09)
one problem IMHO is the conversion process in Israel. It pushes people away. In Israel, my (Father/Jewish M/Russian) girlfriend was told that unless she becomes haredi, full blast, no conversion. And if she becomes haredi she will be a better jew than me (this was said in my presence). So in order for our children to be Jewish, (which we both want) we have to embrace the haredi lifestyle. way to go, Israel
18. PC Police Are In Control
Christy ,   Boston, US   (08.17.09)
I'm not surprised to read this, but I'm sad. Colleges and universities in the US fill students' minds so all they see is the US being a bad, or oppresor, nation. Professors who want to show the good are often rewarded with NO tenure. It's also correct to teach how Jews 'took the land away' from the Palestinians. There have been a number of Jewish sponsored speakers who tried to give a balanced approach to the Pali - Israeli conflict. These events have often been stopped by threats of riot and destruction . I find it can take about 10 years for a student who has been taught hatred for the US, Israel, and Western Civilization to unlearn the garbage they were taught. There are sites on the web set up by students - for students - to warn about the PC-Brainwashing-Professors at various colleges.
19. Cite your sources
Dr Micha Sloman ,   Jerusalem   (08.17.09)
Dr Altshuler, when you write an article that makes strong claims by a “well-known archeologist” and “new historians” would you please do us the courtesy of citing your sources.
20. Important point forgotten
Rivkah F. ,   Jerusalem, Israel   (08.17.09)
While Dr. Altshuler is generally correct in her assessment of the sorry state of Jewish studies and the humanities, her arguments are intellectual, rather than practical. As late as the 1980s, one could study Jewish history, philosophy, Hebrew literature or Bible and be considered for a decent civil service position, or work in journalism, the Foreign Ministry, Jewish Agency or even run for the Knesset. Today everyone knows that he or she has to study law, political science, international relations, or communications to qualify for those jobs. What is left is high school teaching and we know how lowly the status of these teachers is in Israeli society. While in the Diaspora, Jewish studies majors may work in the Jewish communal organizations or go into the rabbinate, these options do not seem to exist here. It is a matter of earning a living as well as the cultural mindset which isdescribed in the article.
21. good article
yaqov ,   jer   (08.17.09)
may i add that there is no such thing as jewish learning in todays posioned athm
22. Mike from Portland
Michael ,   London   (08.17.09)
You know that you can hide and disappear individually, but the antisemites will always find you in the end. Isn'it it better to be proud of your roots than to be ashamed? Israel will not initiate a nuclear war, but Iran might. Instead of blaming Israel, you could start by blaming Iran and its proxies.
23. This article refers to left-wing academia
Rami   (08.17.09)
But in fact, Judaism is experiencing a historical revival, I mean real Judaism, not the politically correct anti-torah Darwin/Freud/Marx nonsense taught at the left-wing academic institutes.
24. Challenges of studying Jewish History
Eli ,   Jerusalem   (08.17.09)
The lack of support for Jewish studies remains a serious issue and deserves further discussion. As a 2007 oleh with a MA in Jewish History, the inability to find employment in the field of Jewish Studies poses a serious challenge, and may deter people from pursuing academic studies in this field. I believe there is a great desire amongst the public to learn more about Jewish History. Yet, without an increase in funding for researchers and teachers, the desire will remain unfulfilled.
25. Mike in Portland #16
connecticutyank ,   stamford, ct   (08.17.09)
"I have every right to talk back to people endangering our planet, who are teetering on the edge of using part of their huge nuclear arsenal. I marched against our own imperialist U.S. government when they were headed down that road. Just because I share genes with Jewish separatists does not prohibit my speaking out against destructive attitudes which our youth try to avoid." Young folks always think they are reinventing the world. The truth is you sound like any Jew who supported Lenin and Stalin only to be purged decades later, like the German Jews who converted to get along, all in the name of a superior universal aspiration. As our forefathers said: Nothing New Under the Sun...Truly!!
26. Superior Universal Aspirations?
Mike ,   Portland, USA   (08.17.09)
No there is nothing new under the sun. Our ancestors' ancestors did not live by "being a light onto the nations". They were survivors of natural selection; hunter-gatherers whose goal was to find lunch and not be lunch. The Torah brought pseudo-universalist pretensions that we would teach everyone else how to be better human beings: " a light unto the nations" Well our youth is back to finding lunch and trying not to be lunch (and maybe have some normal human pleasures along the way). They know that no nation and no people have G-d on their side or are "chosen". Same as its always been! They are truer to their ancestors ancestors. There is indeed nothing new under the sun!
27. #26!
connecticutyank ,   stamford, ct   (08.17.09)
So you aspire to be a caveman? Your comment articulates a pure form of moral relativism and darwinism reductio ad absurdum, the exact opposite of what Judaism carried into the world. You seem to have lost the ability to find value in your heritage; it's no wonder you want to abandon it like a cheap trinket. And yet you lay claim to the moral high ground! How contradictory when you define your raison d'etre as "to find lunch and not be lunch"!
28. Darwin & empty religious classes
Mike ,   Portland, USA   (08.17.09)
I can accept being called a caveman or even an animal. That is because as a human, I AM an animal. I am not Lord over anything.This is where Judaism, Chrisianity, & Islam veered off into superstitious futility (now culminating in ecological disaster). The price for overpopulating one's resource base is death, whether you are a human, squirrel, or skunk. This is where the big 3 monotheististic religions lost their educated youth. Darwin trumped Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed . Public college educated youths aint coming back to the people who want to teach this ancient moralistic mythology. Hence the empty classes. I taught my daughters to stay out of mean neighborhoods, whether here or abroad. The middle east; the wellspring of G-d talk, and moral mythology has un-ironically turned out to be the worst and meanest neighborhood on planet earth. Like... no one couldn't see that one coming????
29. to 16 mike
yara ,   jerusalem   (08.18.09)
religion is not in gene .. this is the base of study of any religion .iam not a jew but like to study judism . and i think if iam a jew i will study judism and other religion .. and religion is not philosophy it is faith while philosophy is to suspect . but study is to think whatever you are studying even if you study the religion
30. to 28
yara ,   jerusalem   (08.18.09)
you can put it as ..darwin and classes empty or full religouse or not .... but if you put it religion you can not compare it only to faith .... to study darwin need classes but religion always started by faith .. many ordinary not educated persons were religouse knew that it is the god create evry thing order the good and there is paradise and hell there is punishment there is bleess and so on .. sure i have faith like that was before 1500 years before darwin but i study the darwinism it is right insome aspect wrong on others as any human but not like that with faith and believe on god
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