Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Conference on the Future of the Jewish People

Ynetnews has extensive coverage of "The Conference on the Future of the Jewish People" which is being sponsered by The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, or JPPPI for short. They also have a bunch of articles by the JPPPI staff.

I once passed the posh JPPPI office building on Pinsker St. and I was wondering who these people are that want to plan the policy of the Jewish people. Here is what their web site says:
The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute (JPPPI) is an independent think tank incorporated in Israel as a non-profit corporation. The mission of the Institute is to promote the thriving of the Jewish people via professional strategic thinking and planning on issues of primary concern to world Jewry. JPPPI's work is based on deep commitment to the future of the Jewish people with Israel as its core state.

Located in Jerusalem, JPPPI engages in policy-oriented study and analysis aimed at identifying critical issues, developing creative, policy options and analyzing their potential impacts. JPPPI's work serves as the basis for assessments, alerts and strategic policy designs provided to Jewish decision makers, and to opinion leaders and publics at large.
Of course, this costs a lot of money:
The 2007 budget will reach one million and eight hundred thousand US dollars, one million from the Jewish Agency and eight hundred thousand from leading Jewish organizations and philanthropists.
They are not embarrassed to shnorr engage in fundraising:
Professor Yehezkel Dror, the Founding President of JPPPI, and Mr. Avinoam Bar-Yosef, the Managing Director, will be glad to meet interested potential sponsors, in Jerusalem or,at another convenient location.
David Eliezrie of Chabad notices a lack of ultra-Orthodox participation in the conference and asks why this is so:
AN INSTITUTE dedicated to long-term Jewish planning should, at the minimum, pick the brains of those - such as Chabad - who have created a successful modality of Jewish survival in both Israel and abroad. Not everyone in the frum community is prepared for this type of engagement. Some see little value in dialogue with more secular Jewish leaders. However, in the interest of intellectual honesty they should at least be invited.

Failing to do that raises a deeper question. Is not the unwillingness to extend such an invitation merely the mirror image of a narrowness found among segments of the haredi world? Shouldn't the spirit of liberal tolerance prompt organizers to seek partners outside their own world view?
Well I think I know the answer. Chabad, as well as the rest of the Orthodox Jewish world know that Jewish survival is absolutely dependent on learning Torah and keeping the mitzvot:
See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil, 16 in that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances; then thou shalt live and multiply, and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest in to possess it. 17 But if thy heart turn away, and thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; 18 I declare unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish; ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over the Jordan to go in to possess it. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed; 20 to love the LORD thy God, to hearken to His voice, and to cleave unto Him; for that is thy life, and the length of thy days; that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD swore unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
This is not the kind of stuff that the JPPPI, the Jewish Agency and the Israeli government want to hear. But this is what God is telling us. Nothing else will work! A fancy office on Pinsker Street and a 1.8 million dollar budget may provide a livelihood for a few academics. However, the answer to Jewish survival can be summarized in one word: Torah!

Update: Don't forget the copper mirrors.


Avi said...

What is Torah? What are its limits?

70 Faces of Torah, שיבים פנים לתורה

Does Chabad or the Ultra-Orthodox have a monopoly on Torah? Some of this is discussed at JPPPI.

Don't be so simplistic.

Cosmic X said...


Learn Tanach, Mishnah, Gemara, Rishonim and Acharonim and you will know what is Torah. You will also know what is not Torah. A hint is enough for the wise.

Let's say the ultra-Orthodox and Chabad don't have a monopoly on the Torah. Is that a reason not to include them in a conference that purports to deal with the future of the Jewish people?

yaak said...

Nice post, Cosmic.

Cosmic X said...



Avi said...

We've been here for 4000 years, we're not going anywhere soon.

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