Significant changes are afoot in Jerusalem, as the Israeli government has agreed an "historic compromise". Back in 2013, as these shifts were being mooted, we produced some materials exploring Jewish attachments to the Western Wall.
I went to a wonderfully inspiring religious service. Beautiful singing, an inspiring sermon, a warm and welcoming community atmosphere. It was a snap shot of all that is dynamic and valuable about North American Jewry. And at the same time a snap shot of how sustainable Israel engagement is in real trouble.
So what did the whole thing look like?
In this chapter we will examine how the Jewish community was structured and how the values and beliefs that lay behind the whole Rabbinic system produced an institutional structure that reflected them. We will examine the institutions of the community and we will acquaint ourselves with the main types of personality that could be found in such communities. We will then go on to examine the way that individual communities fitted into a wider structure within a given center and finally we will look at the issue of relations between different centers.
The United States is the largest Diaspora community in the world and has been since the mid twentieth century. It is an extraordinarily successful community, on the whole, and there are many who argue that it represents a totally new chapter in Jewish history in that there has never been a community where life has been so good for the Jews and where Jews have been able to create such a strong community and at the same time contribute so greatly to the wider society. As with all the contemporary Diaspora communities we will examine the community by asking twelve questions about it. So, welcome to America!