In the weekly “Lifeline” message that we just published from Project Genesis, I decided (after consulting with Rabbi Mordechai Dixler, the program director) to remove two paragraphs. Project Genesis is about encouragement, helping people to explore Jewish spirituality. It wasn’t the place for me to be, perhaps, a little too honest. So here is what I left out, which was originally found right before the closing line:
As we all know, there has been a school of thought which flourished in the Jewish people within the past 200 years, that questioned whether the Torah indeed contained great, supernatural wisdom — rather than simply reflecting the human understanding of G-d in an ancient era. They supported permitting people to pick and choose, to “roll your own Judaism.”
Beginning over twenty years ago, when the Jewish federations in America began to recognize that Jewish affiliation seemed to be fading and our numbers decreasing, they began to commission studies of the Jewish community. Within the past five years, though, a dividing line previously ignored, in favor of multiple “Jewish denominations” and other artificial distinctions, became so clear as to be a focal point of all recent surveys. In terms of Jewish demographics and the Jewish future, there is little difference between any Jewish groups — with one exception: those where the Torah’s requirements are given priority over our own opinions and understanding, and those where the opposite is true.