Reaching Across the Jewish Divide

Have you ever had to explain to a non-Jew the difference between being Jewish and being Israeli? I’m not so patient, so next time I’ll just show them this first episode of the Jewish Reconnection Project.

Founder Todd Schetchter has other reasons for producing it: “It’?s meant to give viewers a sense of the diversity of Jews around the world and to let college age people express their own ideas about Judaism. Ultimately, we hope that helping disparate groups of Jews understand each other will make for a stronger, healthier Jewish community.”

It’s nothing terribly sensational, just two groups of young Jews talking about their lives, about how Israeli Jews take their Judaism for granted and the isolation of American Jews and why it’s not so easy to openly support Israel on American college campuses. The funny thing is that I had almost the same exact conversation last month with the Israeli three kids spending their summer as slaves camp counselors. In that gruff, no nonsense way Israelis have, 19 year-old Nitzan shrugged when I asked if her family was religious.
“Eh, why should we be? We are reminded of our Jewishness all the time. Only the Jews that make aliyah from somewhere else are religious.”

I’ll have to watch the future episodes of JRP with the hopes that these kids find more, not less, common ground…

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