Why Should our Students Want to be Jewish in America Today?

By Tamara Beliak

A Judaism based on community and focused on the “here and now” of a person’s life will build Jewish identity and inspire long-term allegiance to Judaism.

Two years ago, this issue crystallized for me in the “eternal classroom,” my family’s Pesach seder. One uncle in his 50’s was talking about how much it had meant for him to travel to Poland and how much it strengthened his Judaism. His daughter, a senior in high school, was unimpressed and countered that if anti-Semitism was the man reason to be Jewish, she wanted out. As a teacher of Jewish History, this predicament is something I struggle with.

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