The October 2013 Pew report and other studies raise major questions as to whether this pattern of activity can continue, at least in its current form. These questions are less concerned with the concrete attitudes and positions the Jewish leadership and the Jewish community are currently advocating, and more concerned with the type of Jewish identity that underpins such advocacy and engagement. In part, the effectiveness of such publically engaged Jewish organizations such as ADL, AIPAC, JFNA, and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations rests upon the fact that Jews and the Jewish community are (or have the image that they are) willing to be mobilized for various political and public causes. The Pew report and other research raise questions as to why Jews are willing to be mobilized for such causes and whether this willingness will persist. Does it have to do with the nature of contemporary Jewish belonging, identity, and commitment? If so, are these changing or staying the same? If they are changing, in which direction is this happening?
These questions should be asked not so much in terms of the Jewish community’s current attitudes and support, but in terms of the trends that the Pew and other studies have revealed. We view these issues as the determining part of the socio-cultural infrastructure of American Jewish communal life in general,including the triangular relationship between Washington, Jerusalem, and the American Jewish community.
To read the full paper: Implications of the Pew Report for the Public and Political Involvement of the Jewish Community