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Jews in the United States

February 04, 1992

It is sad, but typical, that not one of the experts consulted by Anthony Day ("Troubling Times for U.S. Jews," Jan. 23) had a self-critical word to say.

Day's report noted that more than one in five U.S. Jews proclaim their identity with the culture of Jewishness rather than with the religion of Judaism and that about four in five Southern California Jews are not affiliated with any religious institution. It seems rather shortsighted for the experts to insist that only a religious or spiritual revival can secure Jewish continuity.

The organized Jewish secular and humanistic movements have declared that "pluralism is not a threat to . . . (Jewish) survival, but its guarantee. . . . Jewish history is witness to the positive force of diversity."

Included in that diversity are hundreds of families in Southern California who are actively involved in exploring their Jewish cultural identities outside religious institutions and many thousands more, including intercultural families, who would welcome such an alternative if news of its existence could break through the wall of silence erected by "official" spokesmen.

HERSHL HARTMAN, Educational Director, Sholem Community Organization, Los Angeles

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