Just what are the factors for and against continuity ?
What actions can community institutions take to truly foster continuity?
Are Jewish Schools necessary and sufficient,
or unnecessary and yet insufficient ? Should communal funds be
firstly invested in Birthright Israel
sponsorship, or do Zionist Youth Groups supply the answers.
If Birthright Israel is only a start, is MASA sufficient?
Or is it that the key issue of Jewish Continuity -- marriage within the community -- which
lies in the young adult community -- can be solved
by innovatory approaches such as those of Melbourne's Soul Fusion.
Can Jews who are marginal, outliers, be brought in by Community Radio ? Should special efforts be devoted to mixed marriages ?
In this section we link to both recent surveys of the Now, and to the emergent Plans and strategies of the Now to foster continuity.
The Jewish people survived as a despised people living apart in Europe and as dhimmi in their ancestoral Middle East homelands for centuries. With the enlightenment Jews joined in mainstream European life -- and there was a great burst of Yiddish Culture. In parallel during the Colonial era, European influence in Muslim lands both eased the disadvantages of the Jewish (and Christian ) dhimmis, as well as providing the opportunities of growth and capitalism. But then ... Almost 50 % were lost in the Holocaust, and post Colonialism rampant Arab nationalism drove out the million Jews that once populated Middle East lands. So the Jews now live In Israel, in Europe, in the Americas, Australia. Can the Jewish communities outside Israel survive ? And what else ? Can Jews survive in Europe when talk of a Jewish Problem is not politically correct, but it is so so correct to promote the destruction of Israel itself. And when immigrant minorities with rampant antisemitic attitudes are gaining political clout is emigration/aliya, as seriously proposed in Norway, the only answer?
In Australia a recent report about Jewish Continuity was presented in the Australian Jewish News with gravestone on the front page. And a Zionist leader's warning has rung Alarm Bells in the Diaspora over assimilation fears.
Jewish Communities Now: Surveys|
In Melbourne: Soul Fusion
What is the factor vital for continuity that Melbourne's Jewish Community lacked until August 2009? This question is asked in a promotional video which supplies the missing ingredient as the Soul Fusion Group. One could describe Soul Fusion as a singles group whose very existence facilites Jewish marriage, and indeed its functions do cater for Jewish singles 25-35 (and on occassion a broader age range.) But the Group is far more than that. The Group is broadly Jewish, and helps young adults of diverse backgrounds engage with their Jewish identity and with the Jewish Community, whilst at the same time, within structured purposeful and altruistic activities, provides just that non-confrontational opportunity to meet one's soul-mate. The intense competitivess that is the hallmark of the seculiar single's scene is bypassed in structured situations, with functions being pre-booked and limited to equal numbers of the sexes.
Altruistic activities of Soul Fusion include manning a soup kitchen, including meal delivery, aiding in the running of Yachad, a group for adult independent members of the Jewish Community with special needs, as well as raising funds for charity.
Soul Fusion has conducted a one hour radio program The Love Shack on Lion FM since September 2010. The show is fun to hear, deals with dating and relationship issues, kosher sex, with interviews with personalities from a spectrum from Rabbis through people of special needs to Hollywood actresses. The Soul Fusion website holds podcasts of past episodes. Although Lion FM is currently not broadcasting on the FM band, the station continues to broadcast over the internet at www.lionfm.org, and one may hear each week's program of the The Love Shack at the regular time, as shown on the station grid.
As befits a communal organisation, Soul Fusion is a constituent member of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria -- the JCCV. A creative partnership has recently been established with the B'nai Brith organization, under which Soul Fusion is described as a Project of B'nai B'rith.
From JCCV Website
Soul Fusion is a not-for-profit association that provides a much needed service to the Victorian Jewish Community, by holding diverse, innovative, altruistic and attractive Jewish Singles' events for Jewish people of any background. Such diverse events include: Romantic Speed-dating at Half Moon Bay; Cooking Shabbos Gifts for those less fortunate; Valentine's Day Speed-dating in the Royal Botanical Gardens followed by a Movie under the Stars; Honouring the First Australians event; Relay for Life - to raise money for cancer research; Kosher Sex and the City Seminar; 10 pin bowling; a First Aid Course and One Night in Paris event at the Felix Bar. Check out our website today to book for our next event! We are not just events though. We provide the full package including online profiles, live chat and personalized matchmaking. Website:www.soul-fusion.com
Responses Of The Now
New York NY: End the Madness
End the Madness established to end a problem that has emerged in recent years amongst the religious Jewish community. To quote from the website QUOTE:
All prior efforts to end the so-called “Shidduch Crisis” have failed. This fact, which is evidenced by the ever-burgeoning number of religious singles and the rising percentage of failed marriages, must be recognized.
Here is a brief but rather complete list of current attempts to address the “Shidduch Crisis”:
1 Matchmaking (“professional” or otherwise)
2 Singles events and activities (Shabbatonim, NCSY, Shiurim, etc.)
3 Wholesale introductions (mass socializing, Speed Dating, online dating)
What do these have in common? They are all designed to help singles meet one another. Different methods cater to different personalities and religious idiosyncrasies, but the bottom line is always the same: bring singles together in some fashion and hope for the best. There are success stories, but not nearly often enough to consider any of these attempts an actual solution.
If helping singles meet was all that was needed, there wouldn’t be any “Shidduch Crisis”. Difficulty in meeting is not the problem, but one of the symptoms. All efforts to solve the problem by concentrating on a symptom are doomed, and serve only to confuse people. UNQUOTE
In Israel: End the Madness
End the Madness was established in New York for the orthodox young singles in New England. This website is directed at the issue of continuity in the Diaspora -- but inevetiably Israel shares with the Diaspora some of the very same problems and possible solutions. Thus with regard to the so-called shidduch problem in the orthodox community, the approach pioneered in New York is being developed in Israel as described in a recent Haaretz report.