When the Pew Research Center released its survey of Jewish attitudes in the United States in 2021, one finding jumped out at observers. Although a significant majority of American Jews feel connected to Israelis, they don't feel the same kinship with their American co-religionists who identify with a different denomination.
The divide between the Orthodox and non-Orthodox world is real and serious.
"Among American Jews, there was always a sense of we're all in this together," said Rabbi Dr. Morey Schwartz. "What we're now seeing is this polarization. There's a distancing that has occurred. It's related to Jews not praying together, not meeting together. But it goes further than that. There's a sense of 'what they believe in, I don't believe in.'"
Rabbi Schwartz is the international director of the Florence Melton School. In response to this increasing divide, the Melton School has launched the Roundtable Learning Initiative, a pilot project specifically directed at bringing together Jews of diverse backgrounds to get to know each other through dialogue inspired by Jewish texts.
Houston is the first community to roll out this initiative.
Inaugurated on Nov. 10, 15 members of the Houston Jewish community, representing Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Judaism, gathered at the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC to study medical ethics.
Read the full article here, published Nov. 18, 2021, by the Jewish Herald-Voice.
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