J.J. Goldberg

'Lost' In Plain Sight: An Israeli Plan To Rescue American Jews

By J.J. Goldberg

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One of the most spectacularly knuckle-headed advertising campaigns in modern Jewish history was unveiled in Israel September 2 by an international organization devoted to strengthening Diaspora Jews’ attachment to Israel.

The organization, Masa (“Journey”), promotes long-term gap-year and junior-year study programs in Israel for Diaspora young adults. Its latest recruitment strategy involves a new Hebrew-language television commercial, laden with Holocaust imagery, somberly warning Israeli viewers that “more than half” of young Diaspora Jews “are assimilating, and we are losing them.” Viewers are asked to pass along the names of their overseas relatives and acquaintances so Masa can save them from being “lost.”

Here’s what the ad looks like. Note the recurring, ominous image of railroad cars.

English translation: “More than 50% of young Jews overseas are assimilating and we are losing them. Do you know a young Jew overseas? Call Project Masa, and together we will strengthen the tie to Israel so we won’t lose him. Masa — a year in Israel, a love for a lifetime.”

The ad campaign has drawn some blistering responses. Masa is a joint operation of the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency for Israel; half of its $38 million is provided by the Israeli taxpayer and half by donors to Jewish federated philanthropies around the world. Members of both groups have weighed in to protest the ad’s wasting of their money. Major figures in Jewish philanthropy are reported to have sent written messages to Masa officials that can’t be printed in a family journal. Responses out in the field, like this and this, lean in the how-could-this-happen direction. Israeli media accounts report some tart responses over there as well.

As for the third interested party, the potential recruits, their reactions seem to range from disapproval to derision and outrage.

Here, for example, is Kung Fu Jew, a popular blogger at Jewschool.com, one of the most influential sites of the new Jewish Web culture:

I am not lost. Fuck you very much, Masa, excuse my manners. The scary voices of Jewish continuity say that 50% of young Jews have only one Jewish parent. Which is great. It means my generation is twice as international, twice as multicultural, twice as diverse, and twice as blessed with mutt-like intelligence and fearlessness of boundary-straddling.

And a reply to Kung Fu Jew from a blogger identified as EV:

We should make a counter-ad to rescue Israelis lost to religious fundamentalism, lost to land idolatry, lost to rabid-eyed nationalism, lost to a propagandistic ideology that has distorted the Judaism of previous generations. We should make a counter-ad to save Israelis from themselves.

What’s the objection? To begin with, the ad’s 50% “assimilation” figure seems to a garbling of the intermarriage statistic published in 1990 — a generation ago — by the Council of Jewish Federations. The finding (later repudiated by the council as inflated, but now evolved into a durable urban legend) did not say that 50% of Jews were “assimilating,” but rather that they were marrying non-Jews. The pessimistic prediction was that their children were unlikely to be identified and involved as Jews, absent some strong educational effort. Nobody said these Jews would vaporize the moment the goblet was shattered.

Many Israelis, even those paid to understand and work with the Diaspora, had a hard time understanding the distinction. Avi Becker, who headed the Israel office of the World Jewish Congress and later became WJC secretary-general, reported more than once during the 1990s that one-half of all American Jews were assimilating each year. If that were the case, we would be down to a few dozen Jews by now. The U.S. Congress alone has more Jews than that.

The reality is that a major proportion of self-identified Jews under 25 today have only one Jewish parent. Many Reform religious schools report that majorities of their pupils are from interfaith families. Huge numbers of these children — we used to call them half-Jews — grow up to become active, identifying Jews. They make up an increasingly prominent proportion of new, innovative Jewish organizations, projects and Web sites. From a practical point of view, the issue in America is no longer how to fight intermarriage. That horse is out of the barn. The question now is how to draw the new Jews to Judaism.

If the Masa folks are looking for young Jews who could use some outreach, these are the ones they’re after. And nobody is going to win their hearts with commercials implying that their parents’ marriage was a form of genocide.

Beyond the issue of insulting the very people the organization is supposed to be reaching, there’s the practical question of whom the ad is supposed to target. After all, any potential recruits provided by Israeli friends and relatives will by definition be people with at least some active connection to Israel, which would put them in the category least in need of a booster dose of Israeli nationalism, if that is indeed the cure for assimilation. The people Masa needs to reach are the ones who aren’t in touch with Israel.

So, as Jimmy Durante used to say, what happens? The Hebrew TV commercial cost somewhere between $400,000 and $800,000, according to various reports. By contrast, Masa’s budget for marketing in North America is said to be around $80,000. Really.

The Jerusalem Post claims that the ad may not be intended to influence the public at all, but rather to pressure the prime minister’s office and the Jewish Agency into giving Masa more money. On the other hand, some sources close to Masa say the order came “straight from the prime minister’s office,” and hence reflect his thinking. More likely, it reflects the thinking of Natan Sharansky, the recently chosen chairman of the Jewish Agency, whose ear is not as sharply attuned as Netanyahu’s to shifting winds of public opinion, whether in Israel or the diaspora.

Wherever the order originated, it’s a sign of something very wrong in Jerusalem. The fact that the barons of world Jewish philanthropy could put $38 million of taxpayers’ and donors’ money in the hands of people so staggeringly clueless as to the requirements of the job they’re supposed to be doing makes a fellow feel — well, lost.



Comments
Joel Katz Sun. Sep 6, 2009

Amir Mizroch writes from Moscow in his recent article "Sharansky’s Mission to Moscow" ( http://ow.ly/ofUU ) :

"There is a dramatic increase in the interest young Jews here show in the wildly successful Taglit and Masa programs.

Studies show that Taglit/ Masa participation has dented assimilation rates in the FSU.

Enrollment in these programs has jumped, but while funding for Taglit [which introduces youth to Israel on a ten-day blitz] remains strong, donations to the less sexy, but more substantive and expensive Masa program is failing.

Sharansky faces a tough challenge indeed to find partners to keep this program going, and he also needs to create post-Taglit programs to build on the momentum it creates."

I noticed that you - like most American Jewish commentators - believe the MASA campaign is focused on American Jewry. Yet, few writers have spoken about the "Lost" posters appearing in Russian in the commercial.

Perhaps the commercials are in fact primarily aimed at those Israelis originally from the FSU who most certainly still have friends or relatives in the FSU eligible for MASA programs.

Joel Katz Religion and State in Israel http://religionandstateinisrael.blogspot.com/ http://twitter.com/religion_state

anti-intermarriage Sun. Sep 6, 2009

What's wrong with promoting Jews innermarriage? Real Jews support this message. The only "Jews" getting mad are intermarried Jews and so-called Jews from intermarried families.

The blog "Jewlicous" is one of the most anti-Israel anti-Orthodox blogs and is only popular with self-hating Jews and people who hate Israel and Jews. The ignorant blogger "Kung fu Jew" is actually a Gentile, mother is a Christian, who wasn't raised Jewish and celebrates Easter and Christmas. He hates Israel and believes that individuals with a Gentile and Jewish parents, like himself, are superior to those with two Jewish parents. This guy is not even Jewish so who cares what he has to say about Judaism.

Yes, intermarriage is bad for the Jewish community. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out. It's not surprising that the majority of the secular whiny cowardly Reform Jews don't like the message. The majority don't even have Jewish families. Masa speaks the truth and you can't aruge with the truth.

anti-intermarriage Sun. Sep 6, 2009

I made a mistake. The anti-Israel blog is "Jewschool" not Jewlicious. The latter is actually a real Jewish pro-Israel blog.

Kung Fu Jew 18 Sun. Sep 6, 2009

Hi, anti-intermarriage. You did indeed make a mistake, or two, or fifteen. I'm indeed the product of two generations of intermarriage, and very proud of it. But by all halakhic rules I am a matrilineal Jew and I can't sing a single Christmas carol. Oh, and I wear tzitzit.

Mixed Jews aren't superior, but we're pretty awesome. Nothing helps us all understand the hybridism of historical Judaism than today's intermarried Jews. I want every intermarried Jew who you deride to feel pride in their (and their parents') choices, to take leadership, and heft their full multi-cultural weight towards educating the ignorant. There are so many ways they strengthen Jews, Judaism, and Jewishness. We are an asset. Bigoted attitudes unfortunately are not.

As for Jewschool, we're the largest progressive Jewish blog and one of those ways that new Jews engage old attitudes. We publish a lot of voices you might find uncomfortable, but we're all absolutely engaged and involved in positively redefining Jewish life. And we cost a lot less than a $800,000 TV spot.

Robbie Mon. Sep 7, 2009

Let's not forget that N. American Jewry has been pretty skilled in the past at coming up with equally demeaning and stupid ad campaigns about Israelis in their various 'emergency campaigns'. Not defending the Masa campaign in the slightest, but let's at least admit that throughout the Jewish world we allow too many dumb advertisers to set the tone for our relations. http://makom.haaretz.com/topic.asp?rId=146

Elizabeth Mon. Sep 7, 2009

I am surprised at the use of the term 'multicultural' as a positive adjective by the 'new Jews' posting here and elsewhere in condemnation of the Masa ad campaign. To many of us this shows that the American 'new Jew' phenomenon is all pure American Reform: revisionist, intolerant, Let, anti-Israel and obfuscationist. The insistence of American Reform on re-branding Judaism into a hybrid religion of J-Lib has been very successful with people whom other streams of Judaism did not target. The chickens of this effort are now coming home to roost. Subsequently many 'new Jews'are unable to tolerate any form of Judaism or Judaic reasoning that is not tantamount to Leftism dressed in Judaic clothing, and who despise those of use of the 'old-fashioned' variety. To them our responsibility for each other is 'racism', our love for Eretz Israel is 'fascism' and our desire to practice our religion as our forefathers did is 'fundamentalism'. The real question is then, how 'Jewish' are the New Jews, without any reference to their halachic status? Leftism dressed in a tzitzit is no more Jewish than one without it.

Shmuel Mon. Sep 7, 2009

Elizabeth.....

Wow, your commentary is spot on! Very well put - you seem to really hit the nail right on the head.

Dan Friedman Mon. Sep 7, 2009

What I admire most about Jewish leftists like J.J. is how fast they close ranks and attack anything or anyone who challenges their flimsy ideological house of cards. Most effective. I can see the loyal followers nodding in unison now.

Lisa Barr Mon. Sep 7, 2009

Elizabeth -

What bothers you so much about being multicultural? I would consider Israel to be multicultural. I would consider Israeli Jews to be multicultural - Secular, Orthodox, North African, Eastern European - a wonderful blend of different cultures and traditions, blood lines and levels of observance.

What bothers you so much about Jews reimagining their observance and rediscovering their faith? Judaic traditions have never been immutable, the Hasidim were once radicals, joyous observance was seen as blasphemous by the powers of the time. Early pioneers who traded their books for shovels and set out to farm the Jordan Valley were shocking in their habits and lifestyle.

From Teaneck to Efrat to Har Nof, there is an outspoken group, mainly North American in source, that demands a homogeneity in observance and culture never before seen in the Jewish world. It must take a lot of insecurity to spend so much time attacking all other Jews for their differing beliefs and practices.

Lisa Barr Mon. Sep 7, 2009

Elizabeth -

What bothers you so much about being multicultural? I would consider Israel to be multicultural. I would consider Israeli Jews to be multicultural - Secular, Orthodox, North African, Eastern European - a wonderful blend of different cultures and traditions, blood lines and levels of observance.

What bothers you so much about Jews reimagining their observance and rediscovering their faith? Judaic traditions have never been immutable, the Hasidim were once radicals, joyous observance was seen as blasphemous by the powers of the time. Early pioneers who traded their books for shovels and set out to farm the Jordan Valley were shocking in their habits and lifestyle.

From Teaneck to Efrat to Har Nof, there is an outspoken group, mainly North American in source, that demands a homogeneity in observance and culture never before seen in the Jewish world. It must take a lot of insecurity to spend so much time attacking all other Jews for their differing beliefs and practices.

Elizabeth Mon. Sep 7, 2009

Dear Lisa Barr, please find a response to your questions below.

On multiculturalism: this term came to signify a concerted campaign by the international Left to devalue the Judeo-Christian tradition and subsequently strip the Western civilisation and its values, both traditional and those of the Enlightenment. This successful campaign, whose results are now evident in the UK, US, EU and Israel, has equated any appeal to traditional Western values with racism and denounced any indigenous patriotic sentiment as fascism. Therefore my objection to its use as a laudatory adjective.

On 'reimaging' Jewish observance: changes of form is one thing, changes of substance is quite another. Judaism, as any other world religion, bases its ethical reasoning on a normative framework. To demolish this framework in favour of a relativist and politicised eclecticism means to change the substance of a religion, i.e., to make it into something else. What American Reform has done is to effect this substitution, equating American political leftism with Judaism. Many people in the US are now so misinformed as not realize that the two are incompatible.

I am afraid that your comparison of American Reform's J-Lib ideology with the beliefs of Israel's first pioneers does not hold. The pioneers did not normally observe yet were staunchly Zionist and worked for the creation of a Jewish state. Could you imagine any of them proclaim that Judaism was 'racist' or that wanting to offer a national home to the threatened Jews of the world was 'fascist'? Yet this is what the J-Libbers/'New Jews' do as easily as take a breath.

The ideological roots of American Reform and Reconstructionism are not with Israel or its pioneers but with the Bund, the socialist Jewish movement that started in Tzarist Russia and then moved to the US. The rejection of Judaism in favour of 'world revolution' or 'social justice', as well as the attempt to rebrand the Jewish identity into a revolutionary one are the Bund's American legacy. Ironic, isn't it?

To sum up I'd like to quote from Leon Uris' novel QBVII: '... there is a line no one should ever cross.' By plagiarising Judaism into J-Lib and then using the 'New Jew' identity to denounce the fundamentals of Jewish faith and Israel's right to exist - i.e., unapologetically fronting the greatest attack on Jews and Judaism since the 1930s - is crossing this line. From this point on these people are not Jewish, no matter what their Halachic status is.

I thank you for your comments and your interest in my comments.

Adam Levick Mon. Sep 7, 2009

I agree that the Ad in question was offensive, but I'm curious why Goldberg chose to print the comment by EV, accusing Israel of:

''land idolatry, lost to rabid-eyed nationalism, lost to a propagandistic ideology that has distorted the Judaism of previous generations''

I'm not familiar with EV, but suffice to say that there's really something wrong if such a hateful anti-Zionist diatribe passes for ''progressive'' Jewish commentary. There's really not much difference between this passage and the words written by Paleocons such as Pat Buchanan. I'd be tempted to dismiss it as sophomoric, but as I think that bad ideas have a way of getting into the public bloodstream, and need to be rebutted.

So, I'm just curious, EV, is it only Jewish nationalism you find offensive or do you have a problem with the other 191 nations-states in the world, also? There are 52 nations in the world who are self-described Muslim states, yet the one Jewish state, Israel, a country whose land represents a fraction of one percent of the entire Middle East (and the only democracy in the region) must constantly defend its very right to breath. Please, come to Israel, EV, and take a look at the neighborhood, and tell me what the progressive way to deal with Hamas and Hezbollah would be. What is the progressive way to answer the ugly anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial constantly disseminated from these regimes? What is the progressive answer to cultures where The Protocols of the Elders of Zion sells briskly year after year, and is sold (in Amman, Cairo, and Damascus), as non-fiction?

More than 60 years after the Holocaust its truly sad that I have to tell you that there's nothing even remotely progressive about demonizing the 6 million Jews that live in Israel. You see, true progressives don't have any doubts whatsoever that defending the rights of Jews to live in their homeland is consistent with their most cherished ideals.

Lisa Barr Mon. Sep 7, 2009

Elizabeth - I'm sorry, but your response has all of the inflated language and lack of depth of a college essay or a diatribe from some far-Left progressive ranting on about "the Zionist regime". Interesting how extremes tend to mirror each other.

Lets simplify: "Judeo-Christian tradition"? This is an evangelical term. Christian tradition emphasizes salvation through belief in Jesus. Jewish tradition emphasizes salvation through action, adherence to G-d's laws. Other than "do unto others..." and a singular deity and they have very little in common.

Your comments on American Reform, hardly a homogeneous group (and not all Liberal) is stereotypical nonsense. Interesting you don't have any quibble with Conservatives, although they are just as useless to the Haredim as Reform Jews. All Liberals are not all Reform either, they are Orthodox, Conservadox, Modern Orthodox, Conservative and whatever other label they attach to themselves. Liberalism is political, not religious. Before you apply your venom to one particular group, you might also consider that less observant forms of Judaism provide a home for the less observant, rather than pushing them away altogether. There is a great deal of mobility between streams. Much like the Talmud provides a fence around the Torah, so Reform and Conservative Judaism provides a fence around Orthodoxy.

You do seem to be willing to substitute observance for Zionism when you talk about the early pioneers. So now it is either/or? What happened to your scathing attack on liberal, less Observant Jews? Make you mind up. Can they be substituted? Not according to tradition. Just according to a few rabbis in the territories.

Before you go into your "Bund" diatribe, you might want to revisit the early pioneers connection to socialism, look up the term "socialist Zionism" and rethink your use of the word irony. Just sayin.

Your not saying anything new. It's the same conversation to be had with a thousand North American settlers in the West Bank (and Jeff Seidel). The Land suddenly becomes more important than life, than commandments. Torah doesn't teach us, it is a roadmap of how we should be. Disagreement or another way of thinking is evidence that anyone else is against Israel, or against Jews, even if they are a rabbi living in Israel. If you can't win the argument, define the other person and their belief system. Isn't that right?

However, thank you for responding.

Elizabeth Mon. Sep 7, 2009

Dear Lisa Barr,

You seem to be so very eager to go for the ad hominem that I am tempted to go for it myself, which I will do with your indulgence. So here we go...

Firstly, from which Leftist US college did you just emerge? I use this assumption as you seem to use the campus - favoured technique of vilifying the opponent and his/her motives rather than addressing the argument. I am sorry that scholarship has fallen so low in your neck of the woods, but bashing the speaker a la Obama rather than dealing with argumentation on its own merit is not 'debate'; it's slander, and what's much worse, a waste of time.

If you are unsure what 'Judeo-Christian Tradition' means, may I suggest you look it up in the nearest Encyclopaedia? It is not an 'evangelical' term, whatever you mean by that. If you think that Christianity and Judaism share no values you are once again advised to look up the origins and interaction of both. God speed.

May I add that putting words into your opponent's mouth is also very a la Obama, and very childish? It is you who claim that 'Torah doesn't teach us'. It is you who claim 'Liberalism is political, not religious'. It is you who claim 'Torah ... is a roadmap of how we should be.' I leave these statements without comment as they clearly speak for themselves. I am sorry, but it is you who go off on a tangental diagribe, thinking happily that you are done with the argument because you called your opponent names and imputed to them things they have not said.

Let us now concentrate on the important points posted by other commentators. Joel Katz above is writing on the enthusiastic response of the Russian Jewry to the Masa campaign. Surely this is more important than the upset of the Americans? In Israel itself the campaign was received with equanimity. The imputed 'Holocaust' imagery did not upset most viewers. No one fainted and asked for their smelling salts.

The most important point to emerge from this event is the distance that liberal (politically and religiously) American Jews manage to put between themselves and the rest of us. They are saying, in so many words (or expletives) that they don't care about the rest of us, in Russia or Israel or Latin America. That their sensitivities, real or imagined, outweigh our needs and concerns.

This is very frightening, not least because the one who tries to rule the roost to the exclusion of others is usually the one who gets cut off.

Shana Tova to all, Elizabeth.

Oleg Tue. Sep 8, 2009

I have to say that here in Israel the Masa campaign was received without any sense of offense. Many people here, both from the FSU and native Israelis, have friends or relatives abroad who are unfamiliar with Jewish culture, not to mention with Israeli culture, and are thus at risk of drifting away culturally from any sense of a Jewish identity.

As we saw it here the campaign is about helping Masa to do what we would love to do ourselves but cannot afford privately: invite those friends for some time in Israel. No one took it to refer to matters of marriage, and I have actually gone to the trouble of asking among my friends, many of whom are in mixed marriages or mixed civil partnerships.

I then did some Googling, and realized that it's mostly Americans from the liberal streams of Judaism that are complaining about the campaign, even though it was never shown in the US. Those Jews, with all respect, are very cut off from the lives of average Israelis like me and my friends. When they do come to Israel (and many never bother) they treat us like backward natives of some savage country. Many go about spouting nonsense about Israel in the US media, even though it's a country most don't know or care to know. They don't stop to think that it may be very offensive to us.

I find their rude and patronizing remarks over this campaign downright insulting. If they want to shoot their mouths off they can practice on Israel's enemies. It may be time to tell them to take their money back and leave us alone.

Lisa Barr Tue. Sep 8, 2009

Elizabeth -

I assure you that I am not the product of a "Leftist US college", nor did I recently graduate. I am also an Israeli citizen and work in the field of Jewish philanthropy and Jewish travel to Israel so lets get all those pesky little stereotypes out of the way, shall we?

I don't think you are really interested in levels of observance. The trend of your comments is more Michelle Malkin or Little Green Footballs - general right wing "Zionism" wrapped up in a religious ribbon. It bears little resemblance to the Zionism of the early pioneers, or even 30 years ago, so the emphasis is deliberate.

I suggest you take a much harder look at the term "Judeo-Christian". It is a singularly American term that came into use in the late '30's as Hitler rose in Germany, presumably to show some solidarity with Jewish victims. The common political usage is recent, only over the last 15 years or so and typical among the religious right. A good look at these "values" (that morality is possible only through belief in G-d, which goes against Jewish teaching) shows that they are singularly Christian. You won't find Jewish organizations or most Rabbis saying anything of the sort and there are literally scores of papers by Jewish theologians essentially claiming that the term is nonsense.

Jews willing to co-opt the term are rare and invariably right wing. It strikes me that some appear proud to be nominally considered equals by the same people who wouldn't let them into their Country Clubs 50 years ago (and yet they'll decry the Jewish left for pandering). The other group are Religious Nationalist happy to have the financial support of Christian Zionists. An insecure alliance if ever there was one.

I'm not sure what Obama has to do with anything here.

I should also add, that due to my work and access to actual statistics, the Reform movement has been the biggest American supporter of both Birthright and Masa and sends more kids on these programs than any other denomination. They also send money and delegations to Russian and Latin American Jews, especially through the VERY secular Federation system.

Course if those facts don't fit in with ideology.....

Boaz Tue. Sep 8, 2009

Everybody who was offended by the ad is NOT somebody that the ad was trying to reach. If you saw the ad, read the articles, took the time to sit down and write a respond - You are not "drifting" away from the Jewish world. On the contrary, you are a lay leader and we need a ton more like you.

The ad was aimed to encourage Israelis to look for those who get lost. If the likes of "Kung Fu Jew" fail to realize that this is a problem that should he tackled, then the discussion is mute. If we can agree that assimilation is a problem, we should definitely discuss on the different way to approach it, and different ways to resolve it. Birthright and MASA are great programs to tackle the problem.

MASA has a government financial support, and the ad (as offensive as it is) was looking for a different way (outside the box) to get to those Jews who we might lose to other religions. It has nothing to do with the beauty of multi-cultural. It has to do with the simple fact that we lose hundreds of Jews to other religions, and it has to do that we think it is a problem we should tackle, rather than hiding behind the beauty of modern Judaism.

Shanah Tova, Boaz

Lisa Barr Tue. Sep 8, 2009

Boaz -

I agree, Birthright and MASA are great programs.

The issue is a good example of two points:

1. Advertising to different groups is incredibly difficult, just because the target of the ads are all Jews does not mean that they will all view the ad in the same way.

2. The fact that such a furor has erupted among the target demographic (and this includes in Israel) shows that the ad was in fact not successful. Alienating and offending intermarried families isn't really the way to go if you want to bring people BACK into the fold.

anti-intermarriage Tue. Sep 8, 2009

The zealous reaction to this ad shows the depth of self-hatred among the radical progressive Jews. They constantly promote intermarriage and attack Orthodox Jews on their blogs but just let someone suggest the idea of Jewish inmarriage and they go crazy.

To Kung Fu; I think Jews with two Jewish parents are awesome too. I don't buy that Gentiles like yourself are superior to us. As far as "Jewschool" being the largest progressive Jewish blog, so what? It doesn't say much since very people actually read it. I had to laugh when you wrote about redefining Jewish life. That's ridicolous since you know nothing about Judaism and aren't even Jewish like most of your readers.

You are absolutely right Elizabeth about the motivations and goals of the radical progressive "Jews." They are enemies of Judaism and want to destroy the Jewish community. They don't have that much power but in the meantime they spread their anti-Israel, anti-Orthodox vermin all over the internet. It's obvious who funds these anti-semitic blogs who claim to be Jewish.

anti-intermarriage Wed. Sep 9, 2009

I meant to write that very few people read "Jewschool." The appeasers Masa has dropped the ad due to pressure by donors like Edgar Bronfman who advocates intermarriage because he thinks it's great for the Jews. Mr. Bronfman is also transforming Hillel to an all inclusive club that will basically rid it of any Jewish influence. This is not surprising since all of Mr. Bronfman's children have intermarried and none of his grandchildren or great-grandchild is Jewish. The destruction of Judaism continues. Will the last Jew please turn out the light.

D Fri. Sep 11, 2009

Wait a minute, one of the guys in the posters in the add is wearing an I "heart" Israel t-shirt...he's lost too?

Huh? Mon. Sep 14, 2009

what is the basis of you labeling "Jewschool" as "influential?"

They might have been a few years back, but now they are widely considered extremist liberals who equate the spread of antisemitic "elders of zion" myths with the very real threat of global jihad.

far more influential is the Jewish Internet Defense Force (JIDF) - with over 38,000 followers on Twitter and 13,000 fans on Facebook, and a very solid moral compass, they are much more in tune with what younger Jews are thinking and feeling.

Joe Mon. Sep 14, 2009

Hey "anti-intermarriage", I'm mad and both my parents are Jewish. This commercial offends me BIG TIME. I live in America and I happen to think of myself as American. So sue me.

Joe Mon. Sep 14, 2009

JIDF is absolutely terrible. He's consistently offensive to Jews and non-Jews, labeling some denominations as wrong. He represents an ignorant, fundamentalist, intolerant brand of Judaism that is no way a moral compass for any thinking individual. If that is your idea of an influential Jewish social networker, then you are one sorry sack of hate.

Joe Mon. Sep 14, 2009

JIDF is absolutely terrible. He's consistently offensive to Jews and non-Jews, labeling some denominations as wrong. He represents an ignorant, fundamentalist, intolerant brand of Judaism that is no way a moral compass for any thinking individual. If that is your idea of an influential Jewish social networker, then you are one sorry sack of hate.

Joe Tue. Sep 15, 2009

JIDF is absolutely terrible. He's consistently offensive to Jews and non-Jews, labeling some denominations as wrong. He represents an ignorant, fundamentalist, intolerant brand of Judaism that is no way a moral compass for any thinking individual. If that is your idea of an influential Jewish social networker, then you are one sorry sack of hate.

Racheli Thu. Oct 8, 2009

Of course American Jews are shocked and dismayed by the ad. We wouldn't be living in the States if we weren't comfortable being assimilated. If being "assimilated" is something bad we have to be offended. But if we want to be realistic and thoughtful we should consider the many studies that have been conducted about the nature and trends of the American Jewish community.

Assimilated is not the end of the world. Intermarriage is not the end of the world. Heck, I'm the product of a mixed marriage and I keep mitzvot, give to Federation, read Jewschool, read the Forward, staff birthright trips, etc.

But neither of my brothers knew it was the new year until after I called them.

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