The new catchword or theme of organized world Jewry has been "continuity." This is most interesting for what the word quietly implies -- that if world Jewry continues along the same road, there will be no continuity for the Jewish people. While nobody is suggesting a total disappearance of Jewish life, there is great concern and in some cases even doubt as to how and if organized world Jewry can adapt to the major challenges it faces as we approach the 21st century.
Perhaps the greatest challenge facing Jewish leaders is how to adapt to a world which is very different from the one that existed when the general frameworks and agendas of their organizations were created. Assimilation is currently the greatest challenge to the continuity of Jews outside of Israel, and world Jewry is desperately trying to turn back this tide. One very significant outcome has been that Jewish education in the diaspora is now a much greater priority. However, if it is to be affordable to larger numbers, then monies must be invested. The much discussed "Israel Experience" is another venue for strengthening the ties between Jewish youth and Israel. However, all of this takes money and the world Jewish budget pie can only be divided into so many parts. This brings us to the question which for many years nobody dared to ask: Do we take money away from Israel in order to try and keep diaspora youth in the fold, and if so at how much of a cost to Israel?
Israel is also different today than it was 46 or for that matter even 15 years ago. The Jewish state is no longer the poor cousin from abroad. While projects funded by the Jewish Agency or other individuals from the diaspora are vitally important for a variety of reasons, one must look at the Jewish world in which there is a very different Israel.
There are very difficult decisions to be made in order for the world Jewish polity to be a strong and vibrant entity in the next century. To a large extent, every polity is a reflection of the quality of its leadership and organizations, and thus the Jerusalem Center is extremely proud of the work we have been conducting in this sphere, in particular, since the previous Iggeret was published in the Spring of 1992.
The JCPA's latest round of activities began when in 1991 we were commissioned by the Chairman of the Executive and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency to undertake the first in a series of three reports entitled "The UIA-KH-WZO Partnership in JAFI: Options for the Future." Completed in January 1992, it offered several institutional changes designed to improve the internal governance of JAFI. Questions taken into consideration included: Is the UIA-KH-WZO partnership broad enough to include all those who should participate in the JAFI arena? What accommodations have to be made between the different kinds of politics which the partners bring to the table? How should the formal leadership of JAFI be chosen so as to properly operationalize the institutional arrangements? We are pleased that the report helped form the agenda of the Committee of Six which brought about the reform in JAFI governance adopted in June 1994.
The second report in the series, "The Jewish Agency within the World Jewish Polity," was completed in December 1993. It is a comprehensive study which examines the goals and functions of the principal institutions in the world Jewish polity, and offers several recommendations encompassing five sets of issues: structure, function, budget, coordination, and consciousness- raising.
Since the report was prepared, several important issues, such as the transformation of the peace process by the Oslo Agreement, have had new impacts on world Jewry that needed to be taken into consideration. To do so, and to provide an opportunity for more extensive consideration of the report, the Center followed up the report with a three-day workshop on July 3 - 5, 1994, combining academics concerned with the world Jewish polity and senior representatives of JAFI, WZO, UJA, UIA and Keren Hayesod, led by then JAFI Acting Chairman Yehiel Leket. The Workshop provided the opportunity to discuss the finer details of the report as well as examine other developing issues, such as the role of the major Jewish organizations in the era of evolving peace. Also discussed were the governance and functions of the Jewish Agency, focusing on how JAFI's leadership should be elected or appointed, who should the Jewish Agency represent, should JAFI represent a wider spectrum of groups, and what should be the focus of the Jewish Agency after the current wave of aliyah ebbs. The participants also discussed how the organized world Jewish polity, with the Jewish Agency at its nexus, could work better together to respond to new Jewish needs and growing assimilation and apathy in the diaspora.
The third report which the Jerusalem Center is now proposing to undertake is on the future role of JAFI as Israel and the Jewish world gear up for what will hopefully be a period of peace and greater involvement in world affairs -- economically, politically, socially, and culturally. The second major issue involves the role of the organized Jewish community and its agencies as the State of Israel diminishes its role of guarding and fostering a separate national culture.
In the United States, we are making a different yet no less important contribution to the quality of the continuity of the Jewish people. As stated above, every polity reflects the quality of its leadership (professional or voluntary), and this includes the realm of Jewish communal service. Jewish communal workers are, in effect, a Jewish "civil service" employing diverse skills in a variety of settings but unified by their overarching responsibility to advance the Jewish community's purpose.
The quality of Jewish communal service involves more than simply using generic skills in a Jewish setting; it demands a specialized repertoire of skills, knowledge, and values. The study of Jewish political organization, institutions and behavior, of Jewish public law and practice, and of intercommunity and external relations -- all areas being developed within the framework of Jewish political studies -- can provide that body of shared knowledge which will give communal workers credentials as Jewish leaders with a broad perspective. The penetration of Jewish political studies into the area of professional education for Jewish communal service has been relatively limited and unsystematic.
Thanks to the foresight, wisdom, and generosity of the Wexner Foundation, the Jerusalem Center, together with all nine schools and programs for Jewish communal service professionals in North America, is developing the necessary educational materials. The program was initiated in December 1992 with a two-day conference in Boston on the ways and means to strengthen the disciplinary base and Jewish content of the above-mentioned programs, led by JCPA Vice-President Gerald Bubis and President Daniel J. Elazar.
As a result of the success of this first conference, the Wexner Foundation has provided the JCPA with a three-year grant. The Center has held two highly successful conferences, the first in December 1993 and the second in April 1994. The aim of the first conference was to provide the participants with the proper academic background materials. At the latter conference, work teams were formed for the development of curricula, teaching modules, case studies, and computer simulations and games. The next meeting has been tentatively scheduled for the Spring of 1995.
We at the Jerusalem Center believe that the outcome of the program will have a major impact on the quality of Jewish communal workers in North America. This can only have a positive and lasting effect upon North American Jewry, and we are proud to be leading this effort.
The work of the Jerusalem Center in these two spheres will help guarantee that what the word "continuity" negatively and invertantly implies will not only not come to pass, but that the continuity of the Jewish people, both in Israel and in the diaspora, will be a thriving and flourishing one as we cross over into the 21st century.
In a further move to strengthen the JCPA's governing structure, Mandell Berman, the outgoing Chairman of the Board of Overseers, was elected chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Overseers. Berman, a Detroit native, is the past President of the Council of Jewish Federations, the umbrella organization of over 200 federations in Canada and the United States, and is a member of the Board of the Jewish Agency. He presently serves on the Boards of JESNA, HIAS, JDC, UIA, and UJA.
Jack Rose of Toronto was reelected Treasurer. Rose, former Chairman of the UIA in Canada, serves as a member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency. Elections were held at the JCPA's annual Board Meeting which took place on June 24, 1994. In addition to the officers, the following individuals were elected to the Executive Committee of the Board: Robert Adler, Shoshana Cardin, Edward S. Cohen, Judge Abraham Gafni, Betsy Gidwitz, Ivan Himmel, Irwin Hochberg, H. Irwin Levy, Norman Lipoff, Esther Leah Ritz, and Ambassador Zalman Shoval.
Moreover, the following new Overseers were elected: Caryn Rosen Adelman (Winnetka, IL), Louise Brown (Philadelphia, PA), Betsy Cohen (Philadelphia, PA), Conrad Giles (Southfield, MI), Edward Kaplan (Washington, DC), Henry Koschitsky (Ontario, Canada), Neil Norry (Rochester, NY), Michael Rukin (Bostonm MA), and Irving Smokler (Ann Arbor, MI).
At the JCPA Fellows meeting, the following elections took place: Harvey Shulman (Concordia University) as Fellow, and Abraham Melamed (Haifa University) and Amikam Nachmani (Bar-Ilan University) as Associates.
Our first joint undertaking was a major three-day conference in December 1992 on The Israeli Economy at the Threshold of the Year 2000: Privatization and Efficiency in the Economy and Civil Service. The conference focused on all aspects of privatization, including health services, government ownership of land, water and industry, agriculture, and defense industries. Of equal importance, the lessons of East Germany, with its successes and failures, were discussed (Treuhandanstalt, the privatization authority of the government of Germany, privatized 15,000 companies in nine months).
The opening session featured the German Ambassador to Israel Otto von der Gablentz and then Minister of Energy Amnon Rubinstein. Other speakers included Members of Knesset, former MKs, leading figures in Israel's banking and business world, as well as experts on privatization from Germany.
With the support of the Jewish Federation of San Francisco, we published and distributed the proceedings of the conference in book form and disseminated it to pertinent MKs, government officials, and leaders in the Israeli business and financial world. We believe that this unique collection of ideas and views can only help to expedite the slow moving privatization process in Israel.
Exactly one year later, in light of the signing of the Oslo Declaration of Principles, we held a second joint conference, Political and Structural Arrangements in the New Era of Israeli- Palestinian Relations. Participants included a wide array of scholars and politicians -- Israeli, Palestinian, and German -- all of whom offered their views on various aspects of the newly forged relationship between Israel and the Palestinians. The opening session featured Minister of Energy and Infrastructure and Minister of Police Moshe Shahal and Hanns-Henning Blomeyer- Bartenstein, the German Charge d'Affaires in Israel. Speakers included Ambassador Zalman Shoval, members of the Palestinian Delegation and other leading Palestinian figures such as Radwan Abu Ayash, Dr. Hanna Siniora, Hatem Abu Ghazaleh, and Manuel Hassassian, former Likud MK Uriel Lynn, and Reuven Merhav, former Director-General of the Foreign Ministry.
We have subsequently published and distributed the proceedings in book form to those involved in the peace process in order to help elucidate the finer details of the Palestinian and Israeli perspectives, as well as the related experiences of other countries such as Italy, Germany, and Canada. We take pride in the fact that the information and thoughts shared at the conference have helped educate, as well as to clarify many points and issues on the agenda of the peace process. Both this undertaking and the aforementioned conference could not have taken place without the cooperation of Dr. Michael Lange, then Director of the Adenauer Foundation in Israel.
Another joint undertaking was Constitutional Reform and Its Implications, a very successful conference held on June 1 - 3, 1994. The speakers represented the wide range of views being voiced throughout the country regarding the constitutional reforms adopted in the 12th Knesset and their implementation, the current constitutional agenda, and judicial review of Basic Laws. MKs Dedi Zucker and Prof. Eliezer Schweid spoke at the opening session. Also appearing at the conference was a distinguished list of Members of Knesset and academics including MKs Naomi Chazan, Avraham Poraz, Dan Meridor, Judge Meir Gabay, and Mr. Elyakim Rubinstein.
Dr. Gerhard Wahlers, the new Director of the Adenauer Foundation in Israel, has already proven to be a supportive and thoughtful partner in our joint effort. Together, we are planning to expand our cooperative efforts in the future.
Finally, our thanks go to JCPA Project Coordinator Chaya Herskovic whose superb organizational skills greatly contributed to the success of all three conferences.
Major Knesset Debates, 1948-1981 -- JCPA Fellow Netanel Lorch makes available for the first time in English the history of contemporary Israel through the living words of its founders in this six-volume set. Destined to be an academic literary classic, the subject matter was chosen for its long-term relevance and includes political questions, fundamental constitutional issues, and problems concerning the relationship between the Jewish diaspora and the State of Israel as debated in the Knesset since just before the establishment of the state. In June 1993, Dr. Lorch, in the presence of JCPA Director General Zvi R. Marom and JCPA Publications Coordinator Mark Ami-El, presented a set of books to Knesset Speaker Shevah Weiss, who expressed his admiration for this superb undertaking.
Federal Systems of the World: A Handbook of Federal, Confederal and Autonomy Arrangements -- Written by JCPA President Daniel J. Elazar and the JCPA Staff, this Handbook represents the first major effort to describe the over 100 known examples of federal and autonomy arrangements, compare their basic features, and classify them by form. Published by Longman Current Affairs in England in 1991, Federal Systems sold out in less than two years and upon request by the publisher, a revised second edition appeared in 1994.
Israel at the Polls, 1992 -- This volume is the most recent addition to the "Israel at the Polls" series begun in 1977 and edited by Prof. Daniel J. Elazar and Dr. Shmuel Sandler. Documenting the transition of power from Likud to Labor, this book examines the parties, election campaigns, and major institutions, and analyzes the politics of the new government's first year. Published by Rowman & Littlefield.
Who's the Boss in Israel: Israel at the Polls, 1988-90 - - This was the first book on Israeli politics to cover an entire cycle of Israeli elections -- for the Knesset, local authorities, and the Histadrut. This authoritative volume provides a comprehensive discussion of the Israeli electoral scene as it existed prior to the 1988 elections and the state and course of Israeli politics which followed. Co-published by the JCPA and UPA.
Wrestling Until Day-Break: Searching for Meaning in the Thinking on the Holocaust -- Time has not obscured the harrowing memory of the cruel events of the Holocaust, and JCPA Fellow Prof. Eliezer Schweid examines several of the important Jewish thinkers who wrestled with problems of faith and ethics during the Holocaust. Included in this volume are Rabbi Leo Baeck, the central communal leader of German Jewry during the Nazi period; Dr. Victor Frankl, a world-renowned psychiatrist and religious philosopher imprisoned by the Nazis; Rabbi Yissachar Teichthal, a prominent Talmudic scholar in Budapest; and a number of leaders of the Jewish underground in the ghettos of Eastern Europe. Co-published by the JCPA and UPA, the volume also includes an examination of the same moral problems from a post- Holocaust perspective a generation later.
Democracy and Halakhah -- In this volume, Prof. Eliezer Schweid analyzes the late Rabbi Haim Hirschensohn's theories as part of his own comprehensive research on Jewish national thought in Eretz Israel during the first half of the twentieth century. Rabbi Hirschensohn was a religious Zionist philosopher and theoretician who dared to confront the complex problems of establishing a modern Jewish state according to the concepts of halakhah and to lay a halakhic foundation for a democratic, theological and political regime. Co-published by JCPA and UPA.
The State of Israel, the Land of Israel: The Statist and Ethnonational Dimensions of Foreign Policy -- The impact of the nation in foreign policy is not synonymous with that of the state. Understanding the effect of the nation is important because of the contemporary reawakening of primordial national aspirations. In his book, JCPA Fellow Prof. Shmuel Sandler examines nation-centered concerns in foreign policy as practiced within Israel. Published by Greenwood Press, it reviews and analyzes the roots of the territorial dimension in Israeli foreign policy since the establishment of the state up to the present, the impact of Israeli domestic politics, and the rise of ethnonationalism in Israeli foreign policy.
Since 1992, Ottomons, Turks and the Jewish Polity: A History of the Jews of Turkey by Walter Weiker, and Fundamentalist Islam and Israel: Essays in Interpretation by Raphael Israeli, were also published through the Milken Library.
The Senior Scholars Seminar is comprised of top scholars in their fields, all of whom are well-known figures in Israel and internationally renowned. They include Professors Ya'akov Blidstein, Ella Belfer, Daniel J. Elazar, Yeshiahu Gafni, Ze'ev Harvey, Jeffrey Macy, Bezalel Menken, Chaim Milikowsky, Aviezer Ravitzky, Mordechai Rotenberg, Shmuel Sandler, Eliezer Schweid Uriel Simon, Shaul Stampfer, and Yoel Weinberg; and Drs. Hanina Ben-Menachem, Gershon Bacon, and Robert Brody. As in previous years, the participants have varied academic backgrounds, thereby introducing a mixture of interdisciplinary approaches to the subject matter.
The focus of last year's Senior Scholars Seminar was "The Functions of Political and Religious Leadership: Separation of Powers and Its Practical and Theoretical Ramifications." The scholars explored seven specific topics: The Development of the Division of Functions in the Bible; The Patriarchate in Eretz Israel in the Rabbinic Epoch; The Transition from Religious Authority to Political Authority; Yeshiva Heads in Eastern Europe: Torah Leadership as Political Authority; The Perfect Man in the Workshop of Rambam: The Authority and Function of the Prophet; Theocracy in the Writings of Spinoza; The Nation and State in the Religious-Zionist Authority; Eretz Israel: Attraction and Awe in Religious Sources.
Each discussion leader presented a collection of selected textual material in advance reflecting the topic and field of study. These materials are studied by the participants and the discussion leader leads the discussion during which time each participant contributes his or her views and thoughts from their own perspective. We have maintained this format since the first seminar for it has led to rich discussion and results, way beyond our original expectations. Last year, we also began preparing a Sourcebook based on the documents and discussions of the first three Senior Scholars Seminars.
The theme of the 1994-1995 Seminar is The Jewish People in a Larger Context. As part of the Beit Va'ad outreach program, JCPA Fellow Stuart A. Cohen and Prof. Elazar spoke on The Role of Leadership in the Jewish Polity: Some Lessons from Past and Present at a Jewish communal leadership seminar on Looking to the Future - Responsible Jewish Leadership in a New Era. The February 1994 seminar was sponsored by the United Israel Office of the UIA, CJF, and UJA. The Beit Va'ad is also continuing to host missions and other groups visiting from abroad, such as the JDC's Eastern European Young Leadership Mission, the San Francisco Federation, and the Tucson Federation.
Throughout the summer of 1994, Dr. Stuart Schoenfeld, Professor of Sociology at York University in Toronto, studied under our roof. As part of our joint program with the Center for Jewish Studies at York, Dr. Schoenfeld, organized a joint conference with the two centers, and helped us to develop our Canadian Jewish public policy agenda.
Education and Socio-Economic Achievements, by Dr. Erik
Trends in the Israel Education Budget in the 1980s, by Dr. Shimon Rosevitz
Education Policy at a Crossroads -- Between Change and Continuity: Education in Israel in the Past Decade, by Prof. Haim Gaziel
Unity and Diversity of Culture and Curriculum in the Israeli Education System, by Jo-Ann Harrison
The four studies were presented in a one-day conference in the presence (among others) of the Mayor of Jerusalem M.K. Ehud Olmert. The conference was a success by all accounts. Our distinguished participants included Profs. Walter Ackerman, Haim Adler, Michael Chen, Haim Gaziel, and Dan Inbar, Dr. Jo-Ann Harrison, Director General of the Ministry of Education and Culture Shimshon Shoshani, M.K. Avigdor Kahalani, Matti Dagan who is Head of the Religious Educational Stream, and Nissim Salomon who is Director General of the Education Department in the Jerusalem Municipality. The audience was comprised of individuals from the Ministry of Education, high officials from throughout the various streams of the Israeli school system, academics from many of the schools of education, as well as others related to the field. Needless to say, with an audience of such caliber, the discussion period was marked by many probing questions, the answers to which were often as interesting as the presentations.
On May 20, 1994, a one-day conference was held at the Jerusalem Center to present and discuss the completed report on law before a very select audience comprised of high officials from the Ministry of Police and Ministry of Justice, senior faculty members from the law, sociology and criminology departments of Israel's major universities, and several leading judges, legal advisors and lawyers. Following Prof. Daniel Elazar's opening remarks, Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Police Israel Barak, and Professors of Law Mordechai Kremnister and Meni Mautner presented their findings.
Subsequent meetings will be held throughout the year, each dedicated to presenting the findings of the other reports. In a following step, criminologists will apply the results of the studies in order to increase their efficiency and effectiveness.
The Jerusalem Center's participation in this very important project could not have been possible without the guiding hand of our Director General Zvi R. Marom, and the generous support of the Joseph P. Mayerhoff and Kahanoff Foundations.
Our renewed efforts in this program area are already producing substantive results. The Jerusalem Center has recently become involved in promoting democracy and improving local government in Turkey.
JCPA Associate Baruch Susser edited the recently published Political Science in all of its Variations: Schools and Attitudes in Political Research, a collection of translated articles and discussions on this topic.
Translated from English, JCPA Fellow Prof. Mordechai Rotenberg's book Re-Biographing and Deviance: Psychotherapeutic Narrativism and the Midrash was made available in Hebrew early in 1994.
JCPA Fellow and Treasurer Efraim Torgovnik's book The Politics of Urban Planning Policy was published in both English and Hebrew by the Jerusalem Center.
Attending the November 1994 General Assembly in Denver were the following JCPA Officers, Overseers, Fellows and Associates: Gerald B. Bubis, Steven M. Cohen, Daniel J. Elazar, Sidney Goldstein, and Jonathan Woocher.
JCPA Associate Secretary-Treasurer Rela M. Geffen edited the recently published book Celebration and Renewal: Rites of Passage in Judaism. In it, the ten contributors explore what Jewish tradition teaches about the rituals that have historically been available to mark life's passages. Where tradition does not supply defined public rituals, the authors draw from contemporary practice as it is developing in the pluralistic American Jewish community.
The JCPA is cooperating with the Israel Association of Graduates in the Social Sciences and Humanities. This working relationship is based on lectures, seminars, and research studies. This year a five-lecture series dedicated to the topic of privatization of the economy in Israel was held at the JCPA. Our thanks go to JCPA Director General Zvi R. Marom for taking the lead in this new cooperative relationship.
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