I was delighted to see the July 6 edition of the paper with its focus on the 2012 population study. The study deserves comprehensive analysis and serious thought. Editor Gary Rosenblatt’s column (“Why ‘Jewish Community’ Is Harder To Define, And Serve”), with its usual keen analysis, and Jerome Chanes’ insights (“Demographics Put Pressure On Communal Groups,” Opinion) are spot on. In addition, I was especially taken with Sam Cohen’s Opinion piece on Jewish college students (“College Dropouts”).
Reading Cohen’s essay, I came away with the feeling that it is the Orthodox that were the most active in dealing with the very vital segment of the Jewish community — the college student. I was therefore mystified by Rosenblatt’s statement that the haredi Orthodox separate themselves from their fellow Jews. It seems to me that the Reform and Conservative have separated themselves, if not from all their fellow Jews, then at least from the Jewish college students.
No group of Jews is more involved with the total Jewish community than the haredi chasidic group, Chabad. Spend a Shabbat at the Chabad in Manhattan and you will see panoply of Jews that only Manhattan can provide. Furthermore go to any major Jewish population center in the country and you will find a kollel with a young, vibrant, active Orthodox cadre of families fully engaged in the total Jewish community.
From reports of people like Sam Cohen, who are out there in the trenches. it seems to me that it is the Orthodox — chasidic, yeshivish, and Modern — who are more actively involved in the total Jewish community than other groups.
I would like to see more analysis and more nuanced analysis in the weeks to come. The Jewish Week is the vehicle that can provide it.