In The AJN – The Community Survey; a Question; and Coming Next

Community Survey

Headed by Andrew Markus, the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash has recently completed a 45 page study on patterns in Australia’s Jewish community.

This week, The AJN published some of the results, and this post will examine some of the more interesting findings:

1) Religious affiliation – As expected, Orthodox Jews are in the minority, comprising only 25% of the community. Certainly, a quarter of the community constitutes a significant proportion, and I would not suggest that their opinions or interests should be ignored.

Their influence in peak bodies – particularly in the JCCV – is, however, entirely disproportionate.

There are those who defend the JCCV – and they are ever dwindling – as being representative because they comprise so many individual Jewish organisations.

It is worth remembering, however, that amid the myriad reasons that such a structure is not truly representative (enumerated in many previous posts here), one very important reason is supported by this survey.

When Aleph (the Jewish homosexual support group) attempted to gain admission to the JCCV a number of years ago, the orthodox representatives simply blackballed them. When Aleph was approached more recently to try again for membership, the group refused, because they knew that nothing had changed in the JCCV’s structure, and that once again, a minority would be able to block their membership.

That a sector representing only a quarter of Victoria’s Jews are able to prevent the integration of a such a group, speaks volumes about both the disproportionate sway Orthodoxy has in the community, and about the structural flaws of the state’s peak Jewish body – flaws that ensure they cannot adequately reflect the true values of the Jewish majority.

2) The importance of Jewishness in respondents’ lives – This is where the methodology of the survey becomes problematic. Because it relied on a self-selected sample, the people taking part were surely more likely to view their Jewishness as central to their lives.

The proportion of people for whom their Jewishness was significant did not fall below 90% in most age groups. This is an extraordinarily high figure.

3) Zionism – The results here actually surprised me.

Broadly, 80% of respondents reported that they were Zionists.  This struck me as quite a low figure, particularly considering, as mentioned above, the self-selecting nature of the participants, and the reported importance of Jewishness in people’s lives.

Before this survey, had a non-Jew asked me my estimate of the proportion of Australian Jews who were Zionist, I would have guessed the figure would be closer to 90%. This is because the only non/Anti-Zionist Jews I’ve met or read about in this country, have been deeply involved in a broader leftist ideological movement.

I’ve never come across an otherwise apolitical Jew who is not a Zionist. Perhaps the community has more leftists than I imagined.

4) Anti-Semitism – this particular element of the survey struck me as the most bizarre. Firstly, anti-Semitism was not defined by the survey itself, but was left to respondents to interpret as they pleased. This is going to return data that is extremely difficult to make any sense of.

That such a large number (60%) reported  anti-Semitic incidents, does not gel with the perception survey in which the largest number of respondents reported feeling that anti-Semitism was, “not very serious,” in Australia.

If anything, all this data can tell us is that there may be feelings of vulnerability that coexist with feelings of security, and that the each sentiment gains ascendency according to what is happening at any particular moment.

5)  Feelings about intermarriage – For me this was hands-down the most interesting finding. Firstly, if we look at the issue of regret (and leave out issues of degree) about intermarriage, attitudes to intermarriage don’t vary all that much, regardless of the religiosity of one’s schooling or home life.

But most fascinating, is that even among people who come from a religious home and received a religious education, less than 40% of respondents expressed, “very considerable regret” at the idea of intermarriage. This indicates a level of tolerance that may surprise many in the non-religious sector.

6) More than half of all respondents spend every Shabbat dinner with their families. This makes sense on both a gastronomic as well as sociological level. Shabbat food is delicious.

7) Reasons for estrangement from the community – These results are particularly illuminating. These respondents in this section come from the 20.1% of those interviewed, who reported feeling disconnected from the community.

Top of the responses, was the feeling that Jewish leadership did not represent respondents’ views.

This was closely followed by living outside a Jewish area. One has to wonder if there is any correlation between these two points. How many Jews, uncomfortable with the culture being imposed from the top, simply move away?

***

A Question Regarding The AJN upheaval

There has been upheaval at The AJN: editor Ashley Browne is leaving for unspecified reasons, and his replacement has not yet been found.

Speculation is rife as to the reasons for these events, but nothing concrete has yet emerged.

Is it a matter of economics, or is his departure political? Did his castigation of religious incitement against homosexuals, which infuriated certain religious bloggers, have any connection? Is there a move away from the moderate editorial stance he took?

I have absolutely no idea.

***

Coming next

It is a shame that more on the issues of how people feel about our leadership was not published in the community survey.

Hopefully, an opportunity will arise to study this area, and related issues of the impact our leadership has on participation in the community, and the perception of non-Jews on Australian Jewry.

In the next post, I will be writing from an anecdotal perspective about the relationship between our leadership and wider society, and the impact it has on all of us.

For example, in today’s Age, a rather large article concerning a nasty shul spat involving Rodney Adler was deemed by the Age editorial to be sufficiently newsworthy for page 3.

There are most certainly problems for Jews in much of the media in this country, and we need to start asking why, and how we might go about fixing them.

Make no mistake: these problematic perspectives filter through to broader Australian society, and individual Jews are left to do ad hoc PR with non-Jewish acquaintances, friends, and colleagues.

I will ask if perhaps there is a symbiosis between our leadership and an unsympathetic media. Is there a cycle in which one of our men makes an inflammatory statement, this is reported unfavourably, and the leader can then turn around to the community and remind us all how vulnerable we are and how much we need strong leadership.

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Related posts:

  1. The Community Survey: Civil Discussion, the “Volunteer” Canard, and Intimidation
  2. Coming Next – In The AJN Bumper Edition: Pontificators, Congratulations, and our GLBT Community
  3. SJ Signs off – temporarily
  4. Winning Friends and Influencing People 3: Anti-Semitism, The Hiatus, and Secret GLBT Business.
  5. Reader Response 7: Responding to our Non/Anti-Zionist Readers

51 Responses to “In The AJN – The Community Survey; a Question; and Coming Next”

  1. michael says:

    No doubt there will be some Jews not happy and will be choking on their Kebab’s after reading some of the survey results, in particular revelations that 80% of Australian Jews consider themselves Zionists.

    Today’s AJN Editorial was quick to point out that we can now put to rest the ridiculous fantasies by Loewenstein and his fringe extremist anti- Zionist followers that there is a large silent Jewish population that doesn’t support Israel. Loewensteins biggest supporters and backers at MUP, Fairfax, ABC, SBS & CRIKEY.Com will also be disappointed on these results .We can be sure they will all carry Loewenstein and his comrades spin on how the results are not a true reflection of the Jewish community Blah Blah blah…
    My prediction is Loewenstien and CO. will shoot the messenger, argue the method of the survey, how the questions were formulated and that the organizers were biased …but is this true ??
    Well we all know that the academics at the Monash Jewish studies department who conducted the Survey are certainly not all ”Card carrying Zionists’ in fact one of the academics is a supporter of Australia’s most notorious Anti- Zionist Jew Loewenstein and is listed on his website. The Jewish studies Department has also invited Palestinian activist/ Age Journalist Maher Muhgrabi and Australia’s favorite Muslim son, Islamic community spokesperson Waleed Aly to spin their stuff to Jewish students. Recently one of the academics even participated in a Anti -Israel Palestinian Propaganda event recently. This academic even praised his Palestinian Lobbyists hosts. So it would be hardly credible to argue impartiality of those that conducted the survey, perhaps Loewenstein and his followers listed on his b log site should come up with some new spin to their gullible audience.

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  2. michael says:

    I don’t think I should discuss my views on the ACJC in the public domain other than to say during a discussion I was having with a Palestinian activist he made a interesting comment ” That the Jewish academics are the best Palestinian advocates they have”. I think that sums up the ACJC.

    I like the bit about ”Freedom Meat wraps” at least you have some sense of humour keep it up.

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  3. Sisu says:

    Hi Alex, I’m only a recent reader – bought over by The Age article last weekend. In full disclosure spirit I will say that I am politically leftist.

    Perhaps your surprise at the 80% figure for Jews who support Zionism is unfounded. To think that to be anti-Zionist equals leftist politics discounts many on the left-side of politics who are actively trying to approach the Israel-Palestine issues. I know many lefties who are trying to have a more nuanced approach than the standard leftist line of Zionism = postcolonialism = subjugation of the “innocent” Palestinians.

    Is it possible that there is a growing number of apolitical, younger generation Jews who are more willing to consider a similar non-standard viewpoint about Israel? Is it possible to be pro-Israel (right to exist, right to define itself and its citizenry, right to defence and security) but not define yourself as Zionist? Or is it, like many young people today, apoliticalness that has prompted the 80% figure?

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  4. sensiblejew says:

    Sisu, hello and welcome!

    You ask so many interesting – and important – questions.

    Firstly, my understanding of Zionism is that in itself, it’s not an ideology. It’s more a philosphy that contains within it many ideological strands, but also has room for the non-ideological (like me). So maybe this is essentially a problem of terminology. I would have lumped anyone who is pro-Israel into the Zionist camp, but it seems a number of people would not agree with me.

    And your question about a lack of political inclination among younger people is particularly interesting. I don’t know the answer to that one.

    Thank you for your refreshing perspective on this issue.

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  5. Keller says:

    You very selectively failed to mention that 68% of respondents indicated that they felt connected to the Jewish community to a ‘great’ or ‘moderate’ extent. Of the 20% that felt only a slight connection or no connection at all, 4.8% cited their reason as ‘views different from leadership’. I am not a statistician but this does not seem to indicate the large degree of disaffection that you claim.

    So, other than the few anecdotal (and unverifiable) examples provided here, on what basis do you male your claim? I think this is a fair question considering the criticism you make of these institutions and your claim that they are alienating.

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  6. SJ,

    You point to the self-selection aspect of the survey whenever you don’t like its findings! Either none of the findings have validity because of the method of selecting, or they all do – you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

    I’ve not yet seen the AJN-published results; I saw a presentation on it last week by Andrew. He spent a lot of time (too much for most of the people there) talking about the validity of the survey taking into account the self-selection aspect, and what they did about this.

    On the topic of religious affiliation and community representation: you cannot force people to represent their subcommunities. The people involved in leadership are the ones who want to. Perhaps you should group the orgs in the JCCV by “affiliation” and determine if that group itself meets your standard of representative? Despite all your rallying calls, there isn’t a queue of people going around the corner wanting to take up leadership positions in our community.

    There is lots more I’d like to say about your comments, but it’s Friday arvo.

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  7. Princess says:

    David Werdiger writes:”Despite all your rallying calls, there isn’t a queue of people going around the corner wanting to take up leadership positions in our community.”

    Of course he’s right. But I seem to remember that back in school, just because you put up your hand, didn’t mean you knew the right answer. Equally – or even more so – it is too often the case that those who seek out leadership positions (in effect putting up their hands to questions they simply cannot answer) are least qualified to hold them. Desire for the job does not necissarily equal either ablility or competence. Surely it behooves us to find ways we can vote into power effective leaders that will answer the community’s needs rather than prioritising their own agendas – whatever those might be.

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  8. Moish says:

    Alex

    The community identified intermarriage (and assimilation) as the major problem/challenge facing the Jewish community. What are your views on this? Do you agree?

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  9. Distant Relative says:

    A very crucial point:a shawarma is completely different from a kebab – the first is comprised of strips of meat (usually turkey or lamb) on a large skewer in that circling grill, while kebab is minced meat (usually lamb or beef) grilled or fried on a platter. It’s true that the Turkish doner kebab resembles the shawarma,and that in Australia people tend to mix the two, but in Israel (and other Middle Eastern countries) shawarma is as distant from kebab as milchig from fleishig (well, almost).

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  10. Moish says:

    I’m as liberal and secular as they come but surely the line has to be drawn at intermarriage. The preservation of Jewishness is clearly not a priority for those who choose to leave the fold. I am not making any value judgements, just pointing out that marrying-out is the ultimate act of voting with one’s feet and sends a clear message that Jewish continuity is not of any significance. My two cents…

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  11. Keller says:

    We stop losing Jews by them not marrying out. Jews who marry out clearly do not place a high value on their Jewishness. Further, if their partners are not Jewish (especially in the case of Jewish men who marry non-Jews), raising their kids Jewish is a moot point.

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  12. Keller says:

    I am not sure which data you are referring to as Prof. Markus’ stats show that 60% of respondents regard intermarriage with ‘regret’ or ‘considerable regret’. I definitely do represent the majority as I also regard the issue with regret.

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  13. Keller says:

    I will address each of your points:

    1. People do not choose to die, they do, however, choose to marry-out. Your analogy is fallacious.

    2. I am not passing judgment. It is a pure exercise in logic. You cannot claim to value womens’ rights and beat your wife. It is a contradiction. Similarly, you cannot value Jewish continuity and choose to have non-Jewish children.

    3. Be honest, how many women do you know who have married a non-Jewish man (who did not convert) and raise their children Jewish? What is there to keep those children Jewish?

    4. You are right that intermarriage exists but you cannot force people to be something that they don’t want to be.

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  14. David Zyngier says:

    Alex wrote that she is not sure what Zionism is:
    Firstly, my understanding of Zionism is that in itself, it’s not an ideology. It’s more a philosphy (sic) that contains within it many ideological strands, but also has room for the non-ideological (like me). So maybe this is essentially a problem of terminology. I would have lumped anyone who is pro-Israel into the Zionist camp, but it seems a number of people would not agree with me.

    Certainly Zionism is an ideology – Wikipedia states:
    Zionism is the international political movement that originally supported the reestablishment of a homeland for the Jewish People in Palestine. … It is a type of the broader phenomenon of modern nationalism.[6] Initially one of several Jewish political movements offering alternative responses to assimilation and the position of Jews in Europe, Zionism grew rapidly and after the Holocaust became the dominant power among Jewish political movements. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionism

    More succinctly :
    The Jewish national liberation movement which proclaims that the Jewish people constitute a nation and are entitled their national homeland
    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/zionism

    Clearly Zionism is a political movement – therefore it is an ideology.

    On the other hand Philosophy is more broadly understood to mean:
    # doctrine: a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school
    # the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics
    # any personal belief about how to live or how to deal with a situation
    http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=philosophy

    Clearly Zionism is also a philosophy!

    However to be pro-Israel means neither of the above! At its most basic to be pro means to support or stand up for, pertaining to, or supportive of.

    But would anyone understand what you mean if you said you were pro-France or pro-Japan? Not really – because neither of those countries existence is under question. Only pro-(or anti)American makes some sense – but only in reference to the country’s foreign policies. If the same is applied to Israel then the term pro-Israel makes sense. But it does not equate with Zionism. To be pro-Israel could also mean to support it financially or politically – again this does not equate with Zionism.

    That is why a Zionist can be anti-Israel – in as much as one can reject or disagree with the policies of the Israeli government but vehemently and vigorously support the right of the Jewish people to their national homeland.

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  15. Sisu says:

    I don’t think in my case (as the poster that prompted the pro-Israel / Zionist response of Alex) it is a matter of believing (or not) in the right of Israel to exist. The point that some on the left would make (but find it difficult to get through the clutter of anti-Zionist AND anti-Semitic ramblings of others on the left) is that Israel does exists. As a realpolitik, Israel exists; its citizens therefore have certain rights and responsibilities, as well as circumstances unique to that nation. That is why I would contend it is possible to be pro-Israel yet not define oneself as Zionist.

    And I think that Alex was quite clear in her definition of Zionism; the issue is that Zionism is both a philosophy and a political ideology. Thus from some quarters, any criticism of Israel is equated to an attack on Zionism which is equated to anti-Semitism. And whilst it is true that many allegations made against Israel are anti-Semitic, it does not follow that all are; and this belief is why moderate voices are often marginalised in any discussion about Israel

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  16. David Zyngier says:

    Alex, I am sorry if I mis-attributed! The point being that you do state your belief that Zionism is not an ideology but a philosophy. I am not sure what you have against Wikipedia but perhaps you might prefer Enc Britannica which similarly defines Zionism as:
    Jewish nationalist movement that has had as its goal the creation and support of a Jewish national state in Palestine, the ancient homeland of the Jews (Hebrew: Eretz Yisraʾel, “the Land of Israel”). You can read definitions of Zionism By Zionist Groups.

    Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, brought about the establishment of the State of Israel, and views a Jewish, Zionist, democratic and secure State of Israel to be the expression of the common responsibility of the Jewish people for its continuity and future.

    The foundations of Zionism are:

    1. The unity of the Jewish people, its bond to its historic homeland Eretz Yisrael, and the centrality of the State of Israel and Jerusalem, its capital, in the life of the nation;

    2. Aliyah to Israel from all countries and the effective integration of all immigrants into Israeli Society.

    3. Strengthening Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state and shaping it as an exemplary society with a unique moral and spiritual character, marked by mutual respect for the multi-faceted Jewish people, rooted in the vision of the prophets, striving for peace and contributing to the betterment of the world.

    4. Ensuring the future and the distinctiveness of the Jewish people by furthering Jewish, Hebrew and Zionist education, fostering spiritual and cultural values and teaching Hebrew as the national language;

    5. Nurturing mutual Jewish responsibility, defending the rights of Jews as individuals and as a nation, representing the national Zionist interests of the Jewish people, and struggling against all manifestations of anti-Semitism;

    6. Settling the country as an expression of practical Zionism.

    Zionism as defined by the World Zionist Movement is therefore both a political ideology AND a philosophy.

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  17. Morry says:

    Hi SJ, you wrote:

    What I’m advocating, is that we face the reality that intermarriage is happening, and rather than throw up our hands and consider such people lost, we actually make an effort to create environments in which they can live Jewish lives, and their kids can be raised Jewish.

    That environment already exists within the framework that still allows for clear definition of being Jewish .. an obvious necessity for any form of survival. A very dear friend married out (I don’t like that term, given that the family stayed firmly embedded in the community), but stipulated that her children be raised Jewish, and that’s what they did. The man she married learnt to say Kiddush for Friday nights … and continuity survives at least another generation.

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  18. Morry says:

    I have some real problems with David Zyngier’s:

    That is why a Zionist can be anti-Israel – in as much as one can reject or disagree with the policies of the Israeli government but vehemently and vigorously support the right of the Jewish people to their national homeland.

    You can certainly disagree with some of Israel’s responses, but there is an inherent mutual exclusivity between Zionism (upholding Jewish self-determination) and “anti-Israel” opposing the very notion of Israel and the self-determinaing choices of that population. There is something very undemocratic about saying “I agree with your right to make choices, but only if they are choices I would make” … it’s very unVoltairian.

    There is, of course, also a world of difference between “policies”, those things people stand for, and “decisions”, often unwanted results of the needs to behave in a certain way to defend yourself. Roadblocks and fences are not policy, and will appear in no policy statements, but are responses to the needs of protecting citizens … something many erroneously label as “policies”.

    Israel’s actual policies as a state are summed up in the only document that matters because it serves as the cornerstone of Israel’s Basic Law, the Declaration of Independence. Here’s the relevant extract … please tell me which of these policies you disagree with:

    STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

    WE APPEAL to the United Nations to assist the Jewish people in the building-up of its State and to receive the State of Israel into the comity of nations.

    WE APPEAL – in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months – to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.

    WE EXTEND our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighbourliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.

    As a longterm Zionist and resident of Israel, these are the only policies I’ve ever known Israel to have. I both agree with them and find them commendable in the extreme.

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  19. Shavuah Tov to everyone!

    DavidZ, SJ & others,

    The survey itself defined Zionism before asking the question, and the definition was considered, with hindsight, very broad. The AJN didn’t mention this, rather took a simplistic approach. So I wouldn’t waste time debating what Zionism is or isn’t in the context of the survey results or their interpretation.

    SJ,

    Some of your comments welcomed the results or used them to push a specific agenda, and some expressed surprise or disappointment. On that basis, and based on other views expressed by you through this blog, I characterized you as “liking” some of the results.

    In any event, you do seem to apply the self-selection aspect of the survey arbitrarily.

    Princess & SJ,

    Your comments about those who seek leadership ring very true. However, we can’t just “vote into power” better or more effective leaders, unless (a) we have a pool of people who have the ability, and (b) also have a desire to serve as leaders. Additionally, we need (c) leadership structures that are suitably representative.

    Right now, you might say that we have none of the above, because the people in (b) do not satisfy (a). Therefore instituting reform to fix (c) won’t get us very far.

    The logical place to start would be to encourage/train the next generation of leaders, and build capacity for leadership across the community. This in turn will drive better representation.

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  20. David Zyngier says:

    Morry, I have been informed by others that the Declaration of Independence (DoI)has absolutely no legal status in Israeli law – just as the US Declaration has none. When the High Courst of Israel makes a judgment it does so on the basis of the Basic Laws and all other subseuqent legislation – not in reference to the DoI.

    Be that as it may, how have the sentiments expressed in what you call policies in the DoI have been put into practice?

    The crucial section I would like to focus on states that Israel:
    will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture;

    Past and current Israeli government practice as reflected in government legislation and implementation has been too often in breach of those wonderful sentiments:
    would anyone want to argue that the recent immigrants from Ethiopia have equality of opportunity and social justice;
    that immigrant workers are not disgracefully exploited; that Israel is not in breach of the UN Convention on Refugees when it turns back asylum seekers to Egypt or shoots them;
    that the Palestinians with Israeli citizenship have equality of social and political rights when their democratically elected political representatives are forced to flee the country for fear of arrest because they ‘liaise with the enemy’;
    when they are prohibited to commemorate Nakba Day, when their children receive second class education funding;
    when their houses are demolished for want of an impossible to obtain permit or when longterm inhabitants in Jerusalem are expelled forcefully from their homes on the basis of patently bogus Ottoman documents;
    that secular Jews have the same freedom to live their lives as the Jewish religious minority; when Israeli gays are shot in their clubs;
    why did PM of Israel Olmert to declare publicly last year that settlers in Hebron who attacked Palestinians and their property as a “progrom” if those sentiments were pout into practice.

    As a long term Zionist and former resident of Israel these policies are just the tip of the iceberg of current policies of racism, sexism, religious fundamentalism, inequality and injustice. But I do not despair and keep working for social and political change both in Australian Jewish community and in Israel.

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  21. michael says:

    ” these policies are just the tip of the iceberg of current policies of racism, sexism, religious fundamentalism, inequality and injustice”..Says Zyngier

    I take it the policies Zyngier refers to in the Palestinian Terror tories ,Saudi Arabia, Syria, Malaysia,Iraq,Iran,Lebanon,Egypt,Sudan,Somalia,Afghanistan, Kuwait,Yeman, UAE & the other members of the O.I.C ??

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  22. Sisu says:

    Does it have to be an either/or situation, Michael? I don’t think there is any party in the Middle East than can claim any moral high ground.

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  23. eli says:

    David,

    You are boring us all to tears. You spun the same diatribe over at Gallus Australis. In fact i see you did not even work hard at changing the text from your post there to what you posted here. The topic here is about the In The AJN – The Community Survey

    As soon as there is the slightest reference to Zionism out comes the standard rhetoric and accompanying accusations.

    How about staying on topic and if you have something concrete and informative to say please do so.

    Most of the contributors here already know your stance on Israel.I for one cant be bothered sparing with you over the same mishegas,and as i have already made my thoughts known to you on Gallus, I wont waste SJ’s space any longer.

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  24. Eli,

    Please qualify your Davids with a W or a Z (or something) or else I might have to call my lawyer *grin*.

    That said, I echo your sentiment – the Zionism debate is so far off topic, and is not helped by huge cross-posts.

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  25. eli says:

    I have just spoken to my lawyer who says the onus remains on whomever David wishes to challenge my remarks and who has the biggest bank account i could claim costs from.
    But for the sake of peace to all mankind I willing to direct my comments at David Z. :)

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  26. michael says:

    eli said
    August 29, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    David,know your stance on Israel….

    David Zyngier is a supporter of anti Zionist Jew Antony Loewwenetein [ http://www.iajv.org/signatures/

    At least on this blog site unlike with Davids mate Antony & Co. all posts are allowed even if the author does not agree with them ..

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  27. Albert says:

    May I suggest this artical to readers of this blog.

    August 27, 2009

    Neve Gordon and the Boycott of Israel
    The Last Refuge
    By GIDEON LEVY

    “The timing of the mini-maelstrom over an opinion piece by Neve Gordon, who teaches politics and government at Be’er Sheva’s Ben-Gurion University, calling for a boycott of Israel, was somewhat grotesque. Hardly have the throats dried of those calling for his dismissal, for his citizenship to be revoked, for his expulsion and, if all else fails, his stoning, when another petition has surfaced on the Internet, this one calling for a boycott of Ikea. A bad article on the back page of a Swedish tabloid is enough to produce a call here for a consumer boycott to which thousands sign their names. Turkey has barely recovered from the boycott that our package tourers imposed on it because its prime minister had the gall to attack our president, and already we are cruising toward our next boycott target. It’s our right. ” read more here -

    http://counterpunch.org/levy08272009.html

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  28. Albert says:

    Moish on the subject of conversion – have you read the top selling book by -
    Tel Aviv University historian, Prof. Shlomo Sand, author of “Matai ve’ech humtza ha’am hayehudi?” (“When and How the Jewish People Was Invented?”; Resling, in Hebrew),

    “And how did millions of Jews appear around the Mediterranean Sea?

    “The people did not spread, but the Jewish religion spread. Judaism was a converting religion. Contrary to popular opinion, in early Judaism there was a great thirst to convert others. The Hasmoneans were the first to begin to produce large numbers of Jews through mass conversion, under the influence of Hellenism. The conversions between the Hasmonean Revolt and Bar Kochba’s rebellion are what prepared the ground for the subsequent, wide-spread dissemination of Christianity. After the victory of Christianity in the fourth century, the momentum of conversion was stopped in the Christian world, and there was a steep drop in the number of Jews. Presumably many of the Jews who appeared around the Mediterranean became Christians. But then Judaism started to permeate other regions – pagan regions, for example, such as Yemen and North Africa. Had Judaism not continued to advance at that stage and had it not continued to convert people in the pagan world, we would have remained a completely marginal religion, if we survived at all.”

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  29. Almoni says:

    I raised concerns about the methodology of the survey (at least the online version) when it appeared with people at Monash.

    There are real issues about self-selection in surveys, particularly if particular groups of people are motivated to answer questions (it skews answers). Thus, the number of surveys completed may not be representative. SO claims about a high number of responses (something like 6200) can be negated because they are biased towards on category of person.

    Second, I found many of the questions leading, and exclusionary (ie. no opportunity for don’t know/not relevant, other. In fact, questions around identity, Israel, anti-semitism etc were often leading. And of course, there is debate around different forms of acts as constituting generic ‘antisemitism’.

    Third, it was much too long (144 questions), leading to survey fatigue. This is due to what is known as survey bloat, when there are many different interests wanting answers to their needs (e.g. welfare) and in fact I was unable to answer some of these questions. They assumed particular knowledge. Thus I believe the survey only had a 80% or so completion rate.

    It would have been much more useful to conduct particular targetted, smaller surveys.

    So while the survey may be indicative of particular trends, care has to taken about generalising its findings. This is first year sociology or survey design stuff.

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  30. David Zyngier says:

    Michael makes the totally unsubstantiated claim that I am a supporter of anti Zionist Jew Antony Loewwenetein (sic) – perhaps he means Loewenstein! For the record when I read Loewenstein’s first edition of his book I thought he was a misguided, misunderstood and confused Zionist!

    So what makes Michael think I am a supporter of the dreaded AL?

    I was one of over 500 Australian Jews to have signed the following:

    Statement of Principles: A Call for an Alternative View

    We are Jews with diverse opinions on the Middle East who share a deep concern about the current crisis in the region.

    We are committed to ensuring a just peace that recognizes the legitimate national aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians with a solution that protects the human rights of all.

    We condemn violence by all parties, whether state sanctioned or not. We believe that Israel’s right to exist must be recognized and that Palestinians’ right to a homeland must also be acknowledged.

    As Australians we are privileged to live in a democratic state that embodies the principles of tolerance and free speech. We feel there is an urgent need to hear alternative voices that should not be silenced by being labelled disloyal or “self-hating.”

    Uncritical allegiance to Israeli government policy does not necessarily serve Israel’s best interests. Our concern for justice and peace in the Middle East is a legitimate opinion and should be met by reasoned argument rather than vilification and intimidation. In particular, we are concerned that the Jewish establishment does not represent the full range of Jewish opinion. Contrary to widespread concerns, anti-Semitism is not fuelled by Jews who publicly disagree with actions of the Jewish State.

    Jews understand what it is to suffer racism and victimization and therefore we are not only concerned about anti-Semitism but also the demonisation of all other minorities.

    We call upon fellow Jews to join us in supporting free debate to further the prospects of peace, security and human rights in the Middle East.

    The Originally published signatories (March 5th, 2007)

    Professor Peter Singer (Princeton University),
    Robert Richter QC
    Louise Adler (Melbourne University Publishing CEO)
    Ian Cohen MLC
    Eva Cox (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, UTS)
    Professor Dennis Altman (Politics, Latrobe University)
    Moss Cass (former Federal MHR Whitlam government)
    Professor Ivor Indyk (publisher & UWS)
    Henry Rosenbloom (founder, Scribe Publications)
    Professor Andrew Benjamin (Associate Dean of Research, UTS)
    Professor Arie Freiberg (Dean of Law, Monash University)
    Professor Andrew Jakubowicz (Sociology, UTS)
    Professor Ephraim Nimni (Queens University, Belfast)
    Professor David Goodman (Contemporary China Studies, UTS)
    Antony Loewenstein (author and journalist)
    Dr. Geoffrey Brahm Levey, (Foundation Director of Jewish Studies, UNSW)
    Dr. Peter Slezak (School of History & Philosophy, UNSW)
    Dr. Jim Levy (School of Languages & Linguistics, UNSW)
    Hashomer Hatzair (Socialist Zionist Youth Movement)
    and more than 100 other signatories

    Perhaps Michael will tell SJ readers why that makes me a supporter of anything except Peace. What does he find objectionable about the statement? Why didn’t he sign?

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  31. michael says:

    You left out your name on “‘loewensteins List’.

    Zyngier David

    Rubinstein Keren

    Oh and of course you have another fellow academic from Australian Center for Jewish Civilization at Monash probably others too havn’t checked all the names…

    Oh Mr Academic it’s the other Loewenstein statement from Loewenstein below that I find objectionable its a bit hard to cheery pick his outrageous statements !

    Gaza Media Statement
    Posted on Friday, January 2, 2009 at 08:22PM by IAJV | Comments Off
    The following statement reflects only the views of those signatories whose names appear below. Signatories of other statements or authors of articles and blogs on our IAJV website are not to be taken as endorsing this statement.

    ***

    We are Australian Jews who join thousands in Israel and around the world condemning ongoing Israeli military attacks on Gaza. Together with Israeli peace group Gush Shalom, we condemn the current war as “inhuman, superfluous” and “abominable”.

    While Israel has the right to protect its citizens and to demand an end to the crime of Palestinian rockets that target civilians, this cannot be used as a pretext for the grossly disproportionate military assault on Gaza because it was Israel that violated the fragile truce on November 4, 2008. Furthermore, Israel ignored Hamas’ diplomatic initiatives to re-establish the cease-fire since it expired on December 19.

    The crude home-made rockets have caused relatively few Israeli casualties. By contrast, Israeli bombardment has caused around 400 deaths and 2,000 casualties including a large proportion of women and children. The bombardment has included civilian targets such as a university, television station, factories, mosques, ministry offices, parliament and refugee camps. Since Hamas is a legitimate, democratically elected political party that controls the government, security-related institutions are also civilian targets including police departments and uniformed officers.

    History has demonstrated that military punishment has never broken the spirit of a people or produced peace. On the contrary, the assault on the population of Gaza will only inflame hatred of Jews and of the State of Israel while doing nothing to protect the lives of Israelis. Above all, it will undermine the prospects of joining with peace-seeking Palestinians to negotiate a lasting, just solution to the conflict.

    The war on the population of Gaza comes after the Israeli blockade that had already created a severe humanitarian crisis under which the Palestinians suffered from lack of food, electricity, medicines, hospital equipment and other basic necessities of life. The blockade was condemned by the UN as a violation of international law and, like the massive Israeli air-strikes, constitutes illegal collective punishment prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.

    We call for an immediate end to attacks on civilians by Palestinians and Israelis. However, since Palestinians have no means of self-defence against the most powerful military force in the Middle East, we particularly call on Israel to end its brutal assault on the vulnerable Palestinian people of Gaza and to reconsider its rejection of the UN Security Council’s call for a cease-fire.

    Israel has refused to accept Hamas’ consistent offer of negotiations since its election win in 2006. There can be no solution to the conflict without Israel being a willing partner to dialogue.

    Current total = 222 (Jan 24, 2009)

    1. Aarons Debra
    2. Abarbanel, Avigail
    3. Amaterstein-Winton, Shirley
    4. Asoulin, Eran
    5. Balint, Dr. Anthony
    6. Bancroft, Russell
    7. Barak, Sivan
    8. Barnes, Margaret
    9. Bartels, Dr. Ditta
    10. Bamberger, Judy
    11. Beauchamp, Alice
    12. Beinart, Liza
    13. Belnick, Judith
    14. Benjamin, Professor Andrew FAHA
    15. Bersten, Bruce
    16. Bersten, Robyn
    17. Berzin, Pat
    18. Bilander, Celina
    19. Bilander, Berish
    20. Bilander, David
    21. Bilander, Isy
    22. Binder, Geoffrey
    23. Blay, Ben
    24. Blay, Danny
    25. Blay, Paul
    26. Bloch, Dr. Barbara
    27. Blooman, Geoffrey
    28. Bloomberg, Karen
    29. Bloustien, Dr Dave
    30. Blustein, Shiffi
    31. Bokor, Imre
    32. Boniface, Harry
    33. Braun, Leo
    34. Briskman, Linda
    35. Brook, Steve
    36. Brull, Michael
    37. Buckrich, Judith
    38. Buckstein, Ron
    39. Bush, Jenny
    40. Carleton, Jenny
    41. Carleton, Susie
    42. Carey, Allan
    43. Cass, Moss (former ALP)
    44. Chaitman, Lynn
    45. Clemens, R.
    46. Cohen, Harry AM
    47. Cohen, Ian MLC
    48. Cowen, David
    49. Cox, Eva
    50. Crafti, Dr Naomi
    51. Dahlstrom, Bronwyn
    52. Dapin, Mark
    53. D’Aprano, Leonie
    54. Dean, Tamara
    55. DeSaxe, Ian
    56. DeSaxe, Mannie
    57. di Suvero, Henry
    58. Douglas, Greg
    59. Dowse, Sara
    60. Dryen, Fred
    61. Dryen, Robyn
    62. Dwyer, Joan
    63. Ebel, John
    64. Edwards, Julia
    65. Edwards, Julie
    66. Elson, Shane
    67. Epstein, Jonathan
    68. Erlich, Nicole
    69. Esdaile, Peter
    70. Fagueret, Corinne
    71. Faire, Shoshana
    72. Faye, Dr. Esther
    73. Fine, Beverley
    74. Fink, Michelle
    75. Flax, Gabrielle
    76. Fox, Louise
    77. Fox, Mim
    78. Fraser, Anne
    79. Freadman, Anne
    80. Frenkel, Professor Steve
    81. Fried, Nadia
    82. Galbally, Rhonda
    83. Gill, Dr. Flora
    84. Glasbeek, Harry
    85. Gold, Suzie
    86. Goldberg, Aaron
    87. Goldflam, Russell
    88. Goldman, Arnold
    89. Goodman, Professor David S G
    90. Gordon, Michael
    91. Grant, Dr Joan
    92. Grossman, Associate Professor Michele
    93. Harris, Marshall
    94. Hermolin, David
    95. Helfand, Sylvia
    96. Holloway, Simon
    97. Horsburgh, Jennifer
    98. Horsburgh, Maurice
    99. Imber, Madelaine
    100. Jacobs, Margaret
    101. Jaivin Linda
    102. Kamerman, Sol
    103. Kay, Hanna
    104. Kaye, Dr. David
    105. Kaye, Margaret
    106. Kitching, Professor Gavin
    107. Klempfner, Nicky
    108. Kosky, Jan
    109. Kosky, Yvonne
    110. Koval, Peter Jnr
    111. Krantz, Katie
    112. Lambert, John
    113. Langsan, Vic
    114. Leber, Sylvie
    115. Legge, Bill
    116. Leigh, Sue
    117. Leonzini, Victor
    118. Levey, Dr. Geoffrey Brahm
    119. Levy, Dr James
    120. Levy, Valerie
    121. Lindell, Geoffrey
    122. Loewenstein, Antony
    123. Loewenstein, Jeff
    124. Loewenstein, Violet
    125. Marasifgan, Maria
    126. Markiewicz, Anne
    127. Macredie, Rochelle
    128. Marin, Paul
    129. McLean, Jean
    130. Midalia, Dan
    131. Midalia, Harry
    132. Midalia, Leon
    133. Miller, Jamie
    134. Moore, Stefan
    135. Morris, Dr. Alan
    136. Morris, Jenny
    137. Munz, Martin
    138. Nahvi, Emma
    139. Nathani, Sharon
    140. Neering, Ian
    141. Nestle, Joan
    142. Nimni, Ephraim
    143. Nissen, Alex
    144. Nissim, Rivkah
    145. Otterman, Michael
    146. Pataki, Tamas Dr
    147. Philips, Michael
    148. Pogos, Abe
    149. Porter, Marlon
    150. Porzsolt, Vivienne
    151. Potipa, Naomi
    152. Prestel, Claudia
    153. Raber, Richard
    154. Rantzen, Vicki
    155. Reed, Ann
    156. Reed, Karl
    157. Rich, Dr Joe
    158. Riemer, Andrew
    159. Romer, Marta
    160. Rosenblatt, Julio
    161. Ross, Dr. Edna
    162. Rothfield, Andrew
    163. Rothfield, David
    164. Rothfield, Pam
    165. Rubinstein, Keren
    166. Rubner, Paul
    167. Rudner, Allan
    168. Salom Margot
    169. Samorzewski, Meika Loofs
    170. Samuels, Amanda
    171. Sarkadi, Andrew
    172. Schenk, Alan
    173. Schetzer, Louis
    174. Schonstein, Dr Eva
    175. Seeligson, Bella
    176. Segall, David
    177. Shapiro-Liu, Rosemary
    178. Shenfield, Gillian
    179. Shimmin, Dr Nick
    180. Silverstein, Jordy
    181. Singer, Esther
    182. Singerman, Deborah
    183. Slezak, Dr Peter
    184. Smit, Jack H
    185. Solomon, Robyn
    186. Sosnowski, Marika
    187. Sperling, Leone
    188. Starfield, Sue
    189. Steen, Marc
    190. Stein, Yasmin
    191. Stockman, Lanie
    192. Stratton, Jon
    193. Tambour, Anna
    194. Tillman, Clive
    195. Tropp Fred
    196. Tsukasov, Rene
    197. Urbinder, David
    198. Varga, Susan
    199. Vorsay, Avril
    200. Walton, Peter Leman
    201. Wand, Leslie
    202. Wasowski, Vera
    203. Weisser, David
    204. White, Kevin Judah
    205. Witton, Nic
    206. Witton, Ron
    207. Wolkenberg, Gaby
    208. Zagor, Matthew
    209. Zilko, Julie
    210. Zion, Deborah
    211. Zion, Lawrie
    212. Zyngier, David Dr

    Plus 10 Anonymous.

    Email Article to Friend

    COPYRIGHT © 2009, INDEPENDENT AUSTRALIAN JEWISH VOICES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CONTACT@IAJV.ORG

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  32. michael says:

    I thought he was a misguided, misunderstood and confused Zionist!

    So what makes Michael think I am a supporter of the dreaded AL? Says Zngier

    and you signed your name to Loewensteins propaganda after how you have just described him above …and you are an academic.. gee those poor Kids!

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  33. Morry says:

    Hi SJ, I found the debate between you and Keller fascinating. I know it’s putting it a little crassly and simplisticly, but, looking from the outside it seemed that you saw Judaism like a shop, which, if it but changed its wares a little could attract far more customers, whereas Keller saw it as a Chess Club, that’s been told that many people aren’t interested in chess, so if they simply abandon chess they could attract so many more to their club.

    I’m sure that this is indeed a subject where 2 Jews will generate 3 opinions. Certainly the days when families sat shiva when someone married out are gone. I’m not sure that bringing Reform norms into the discussion is that relevant. The Reform path historically is so very different. With an initial thrust of change for the sake of change and abandoning most aspects of Judaism, it has largely come back to the fold, so to speak, in more recent times, reintroducing at least some Hebrew into its liturgy, and abandoning some of the other draconian changes. Reform represented revolution rather than evolution, and at it’s core, its base values differ substantially from the traditional Jewish streams.

    I think the bottom line is that we should be as inclusive as we can, without abandoning core values of who we are. What actually represent core values will differ from individual to individual. For most, outside the reform, matralinial descent remains a core value. I think this is the crux of the matter. At its extreme on one end would be the question “Should we include Jews for Jesus, who see themselves as Jewish?”. For most of us that represents the abrogation of a value so basic that the answer is a resounding “no”.

    Ultimately, I don’t think that we can forget that individuals are responsible for their choices, which they are free to make, but as my mum always said “you can’t dance at two weddings”. I know that the fact of the loss that comes with choices irks many, but it is a fact of life. I don’t think that the rest of us should be changing who we are to try to accommodate the choices of others. If you are a Jewish man who marries a spouse who has no interest in converting, that becomes a choice to live with.

    It has been heartbreaking for me to see the suffering of friends who have made choices, conscious or unconscious, not to raise their children as much of anything so as not to impinge on a non-Jewish partner, only to feel the incredible misery of seeing their children marry without a hint of Yiddishkeit.

    The best we can do as a religious community is make ourselves open to people, but not at the expense of how we define ourselves. If that includes retaining matrilinity and the children of a Jewish father feel connected to Judaism, they will happily go through a conversion ritual. And if they feel nothing … the chess club shouldn’t give up its chess. I certainly see it as no different to a club with a dress code. Yes, you are free to wear torn blue jeans and sandals to your heart’s content, but if you do, you don’t get into this club, because that’s the way the club defines itself.

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  34. Morry says:

    David Zyngier,

    you seem to invest a lot of energy into your claim to being a fair-thinking Zionist, but the simple fact is that you grossly misrepresent Israel and hold it to a very different set of standards to anyone else, especially the Arab terrorist side of the conflict (as opposed to the Palestinians). These double standards, in anyone’s language, are generally associated with bigotry, which belies the support the word “Zionist” would imply.

    Take for example your “would anyone want to argue that the recent immigrants from Ethiopia have equality of opportunity and social justice;” But it is a given that recent poorly educated immigrants from anywhere to any country, including Australia (Sudanese, Afghanis, Somalis) , lack “equality of opportunity and social justice”, yet you clearly hold Israel to a totally irrational standard that applies nowhere else in the world …. that is bigotry.

    There is just so much that is either misrepresented, or factually flawed that it is clear that you adher to an emotive narrative that is, at best, loosely based in fact. I would recommend you do what I did, abandon all narratives, and go to primary documents (the UN has a wonderful archive) to first get your history straight. Then you might go into that Ottoman Law relating to land ownership that you dismiss, as that is the applicable law under the Ottomans, under the British and under current Israeli law (because its complexity leaves it unique in legal terms).

    That may prevent you from signing petitions that are so irrationally partisan, so factually bare, and so misrepresented as to be rididculous to any thinking person. Just as an example we have the issue of proportion that cites the Palestinians as having home made bombs as opposed to Israel’s superior fir power. But the issue of proportionality was never so ridiculously simplistic as to demand that one nation match another’s firpower. It was always about the use of the amount of force required to get the job done, and no more. The “job” in this case was stopping the missiles raining down on Israeli civilians.

    Perhaps a better example is one which really needs no comment at all:

    Since Hamas is a legitimate, democratically elected political party that controls the government, security-related institutions are also civilian targets including police departments and uniformed officers.

    If you weren’t trying to have it both ways you may realise that rocket fire from one country on another constitutes an act of war, and legitimate governments don’t tolerate it because legitimate governments find it unlawful, and when it is being done by forces of that legitimate government it is by definition war waged by that government, with all the consequences of war. Does any of this make you wonder why you signed that petition?

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  35. Michael says:

    Morry,
    It is pointless trying to reason with members of A.J .D .S or Loewenstein’s I.A.J.V if you read their doctrine their views on this subject are closer to Sonja Karkar’s Australians for Palestine than the SZC. For example A.J.D.S spokesperson Sol Salbe claim to fame is he has been fighting for Palestinian rights for 35 years ,Loewesnetein argues Israel should not exist as a Jewish state but part of the Arab world,how can you expect far left wing extremists like Zyngier to be moderate in their thinking when it comes to the Israeli/Arab conflict.

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  36. MA says:

    When you say that the survey shows that only 25% of the community is orthodox and therefore that sector is over-represented, you are assuming that anyone who does not describe themselves as “Strictly Orthodox” or “Modern Orthodox” should not be represented by someone religious. You are assuming (if this religiosity-representation equation is at all valid) that none of those who call themselves “traditional” are included amongst the “religious”.

    I would suggest that if you assume that half of the “traditional” are at least, partly, religious, that brings the religious-leaning bloc up to 42%, and if you include them all (and after all, traditional means, …traditional) that comes to 61%. And that’s assuming that no-one who identifies as Conservative or Progressive has any sympathy with the orthodox on any religious issue, which I would not believe to be the case.

    In particular, on the issue of Aleph joining the JCCV, you assume that only the 25% identifying as orthodox would agree with the JCCV’s line, and hence you argue for disproportionate influence. That is assuming that all 75% would disagree, and I suggest that you have little evidence to substantiate that.

    How about pointing out the zero-representation of the strictly orthodox, which, on the survey’s findings (which I doubt, since they assume the same proportion of respondants amongst all the communities) comprise 5%. Where are they on the JCCV?

    Best wishes

    MA

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  37. sensiblejew says:

    Michael, you know that a kebab is a shwarma, and that Jews eat shwarma.

    I guess, since “schwarma,” is an Arabic word, we all might be better off calling them, “freedom meat wraps.”

    But seriously, you seem furious with the ACJC. Do you not acknowledge valuable elements of their work, or does that fact that maher Mughrabi has associated with them render all their work without value?

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  38. sensiblejew says:

    Hi Michael.

    I’m sure you’ve heard of the terms, zero-sum, and non-zero sum. So, don’t you think it’s possible that there might be some circumstances when Palestinian and Jewish interests are actually the same, and that talking about them together might be a non-zero sum game?

    Of course there are going to be issues (like the return of Palestinian refugees and their descendents) to Israel which cannot be reconciled with Jewish Israeli interests.

    But not all matters fall into that latter, zero-sum category. And for those that don’t, aren’t you at least a little bit glad that some of Melbourne’s best academics happen to be involved? And that they happen to be in a highly respected Jewish studies department?

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  39. sensiblejew says:

    Hi Keller and, welcome.

    You are quite right: I did not make it clear that I was referring to the small percentage of respondents who felt unconnected. This was unintentional. I will edit the post to reflect that. Thank you for pointing out the oversight.

    Otherwise, I’m not sure what you’re referring to, regarding the “anecdotal (and unverifiable) examples,” or the claim I’m making that you find problematic. My post on the survey data was taken directly from what was published in the AJN.

    As for my reporting my own observations and experiences (in past and future posts), of course they will be anecdotal, and unverifiable in the scientific sense. Unfortunately, not all commentary lends itself to carefully constructed studies. That doesn’t mean that sharing such impressions has no value. They are, if nothing else, important jumping off points for further discussion.

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  40. sensiblejew says:

    Hi David.

    You must have skimmed the post very quickly. Nowhere was there a correlation between my “liking” a result and my wondering about problematic samples. There is no issue of cake or eating here.

    For what it’s worth, not only do I strongly believe in having cake, I also believe it is there to be eaten (what else is one meant to do with it?).

    That Andrew Markus spent a lot of time talking about the validity of the survey and self-selection is a very good thing. it demonstrates scholarly seriousness. It’s a shame that some of those present might not have appreciated that.

    As for representation: this has been discussed ad nauseum. Princess writes very well about the subject. The truth is, we have no idea who would or would not put a hand up to do the work, because the leadership is structured in such a way as to make the entry of fresh talent, or dissenting voices, nigh impossible.

    And grouping organisations to assess whether they meet any of my standards?

    That is a bizarre suggestion that indicates you have forgotton many of our previous discussions. The problem is not that one group is better than another. It is that having a roof body based on groups it chooses is not in any way representative, democratic, or transparent.

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  41. sensiblejew says:

    Hi Princess.

    Thank you for your insightful comment. Needless to say, I strongly agree with it.

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  42. sensiblejew says:

    Hi Moish.

    You’re right about intermarriage. I didn’t include it because the result was quite expected and because the subject probably needs its own post.

    My own views on the matter are quite complicated.

    On the one hand, I really can’t envisage how Jewish continuity is possible with intermarriage.

    On the other hand, free will on such a personal choice as with whom one spends the rest of one’s, life must be paramount.

    The question might be, is there a way of implementing struuctures/institutions specifically geared to preserving the Jewishness of people from mixed-marriage families.

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  43. sensiblejew says:

    Hi, Distant Relative.

    In the West, “Kebab” is actually the same as a Shwarma – sliced, spit roasted meat, wrapped in a flat bread with all the fixins.

    I just ate Shabbat dinner, but this crucial discussion of wrapped-meat terminology is making me hungry.

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  44. sensiblejew says:

    Hi Moish.

    The way I see it, is people marry out. In increasing numbers.

    And people marry out for all sorts of different reasons. The most common one is that they fall in love with a person who, by accident of birth, isn’t a Jew.

    What I’m advocating, is that we face the reality that intermarriage is happening, and rather than throw up our hands and consider such people lost, we actually make an effort to create environments in which they can live Jewish lives, and their kids can be raised Jewish.

    All the admonishments, and all the history lectures in the world won’t stop intermarriage.

    My question is, how do we stop losing Jews?

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  45. sensiblejew says:

    Hi Keller.

    1) Sure we stop losing Jews if they stop marrying out, just as we stop losing people, as long as they don’t grow old and die.

    There are certain things over which the community – and even families – have no control. Increasing rates of intermarriage is one of them. Is the idea of someone marrying out so repugnant that it is better to lose him/her to the community than to make provisions for continuity?

    2) You seem quite confident that you are in a position to pass judgement about a person’s commitment to his Jewishness. In the same way that it is for no one to judge your commitment to your faith, even though you are happy to use a computer on the Shabbat, it may not be up to you to pasken on who is a Jew.

    3) Raising Jewish kids is most certainly not moot. Jewish mothers have no problem halachically by the standards of even the strictest interpretors of the law. Meanwhile, Reform, Secular, and many other Jews would not have a problem embracing the children of Jewish fathers.

    4) A certain reality exists: either we face it and try to find ways to manage it, or we allow ourselves to be overcome with an unattaiable idea, and lose a good proportion of the community.

    You may not want these people in your community, but – and there is now data to back this up – you do not represent a majority view.

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  46. sensiblejew says:

    No, Keller. You do not express, “regret.”

    Your comments express a wish to exclude Jews who marry out. This is a sentiment considerably stronger than, “regret.”

    I too, “regret” intermarriage, inasmuch as at the moment, it tends to mean a loss of people from the community. Any threat to the continued existence of the Jewish people is beyond regrettable.

    You need to pay closer attention to the survey. It distinguishes between, “some regret” and “very considerable regret.”

    The latter, into which category you seem to fall, is most certainly the minority view in every demographic.

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  47. sensiblejew says:

    Keller, it would be helpful if you could consolidate your thoughts in the one comment.

    1) My analogy was less fallacious than facetious. And some people either choose to die, or live in such a way to hasten death. But that is quibbling over a trifle.

    2) Of course you are passing judgement. Logic does not enter into it – especially with the wife beating analogy. Wife beating is evil. Loving a non-Jew is not. That’s just the first of your analogy’s problems.

    And what if people want to raise their children Jewish, but there are not the structures in place in the community to realise this? Of course people who want to leave the community do not care for continuity. But I have never been talking about them

    3) Again, this is a specious argument: make the space for mixed couples to raise Jewish children, rather than be so quick to judge and condemn.

    4) Once more, Keller, you seem to have profoundly misunderstood my meaning. I am not talking about forced repatriations of community-loathing Jews. I’m talking about making it easier to stay in the faith after intermarriage for thjose who want to.

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  48. sensiblejew says:

    Hi David.

    Alex wrote that she is not sure what Zionism is:” No I did not. Please check carefully before any attribution.

    I’m surprised you’re using wikipedia and a aiki dictionary to bolster your claims. They do not carry all that much weight.

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  49. sensiblejew says:

    Sisu, thank you for your well reasoned and thoughtful response.

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  50. sensiblejew says:

    Good Morning, Gentlemen.

    A lady tries to take a Shabbes, and Motzei Shabbes away from the scrum, and look what happens!

    Unfortunately, at the moment, time does not permit me to answer each question as I have been doing.

    I would, however, like to thank you all for the interesting and vigorous debate that took place here yesterday.

    For those tempted, please remember that it’s not a good idea to step too close to the line of dehumanising Palestinians. Those sorts of comments – just like comments denying Israel’s right to exist – get deleted.

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  51. sensiblejew says:

    Hi Almoni. Am a bit pressed for time, so I can’t respond properly. But it’s always good to hear your perspective!

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