I found the article by, and Gary Rosenblatt’s interview of, Elie Kaunfer to be very interesting (April 2). I agreed with a number of Kaunfer’s points but disagree with his de-emphasis on Jewish experiences. In fact, the success of Chabad around the world is an example of meaningful Jewish experience being an important gateway to learning.
We live in an age when Jews of all ages and stripes are bombarded constantly by a multitude of very professional stimuli. Unless the Jewish communal leadership can compete with the growing and very attractive opportunities that are out there, we will be fighting an increasingly tough battle. As a result, we have to meet our fellow Jews in whatever venue they find themselves (within the parameters of halacha) in order to engage them. Expecting them to engage on our turf is a common mistake that continues to cost us dearly.
I wish Torah learning would be the starting point for all, but the fact is that a great amount of variety and creativity is needed to succeed in today’s marketplace. For most, meaningful Torah learning is often a goal that requires the bridge of experience to get there.
Director, Chabad Lubavitch of Long Island