Though reports of the demise of America are greatly exaggerated the world is still at a crossroads. We are living in the age of democratization of the nuclear bomb, the rise of autocratic China, and the retreat of the West. At home, we have gone through 4 years of a Democratic President focused more on domestic than foreign policy and even the internationalism of the opposition Republicans is on the wane. It is not a foregone conclusion that it will, but if America continues to become a smaller place in a more chaotic world, what of the Jews?
Can Israel survive without a larger patron? Without the threat of American intervention will there be more “small” wars? Is Israel’s Jewish – democratic balancing act going to continue to be an ever narrowing tight rope walk? Will the military tech trade relationship with China prevent the Peoples Republic from favoring the Islamic nations whose oil it needs? Are current Egyptian, Hashemite, and Saudi nuclear ambitions going to bring regional stability or end with a Middle Eastern city in radioactive ashes?
Are Progressives going to push an inward looking US along a similar route they have done in Europe (and San Francisco) by trying to ban circumcision and kosher slaughter? Can Jews come to terms with a country that culturally, even if informally, defines itself as Christian? Is the Jewish community going to support school vouchers as a way to enhance Jewish education and grow the number of students enrolled in Jewish dayschools? Will more Jews rely and contribute to traditional Jewish organizations, such as the Federations, due to economic turmoil? As communities come to rely on each other more, is the Jewish community going to continue to pay for free programs for all when a plurality of participants come from a home in which the Jewish parent is the father? Will the ethnic Jew of American Jewish lore be reborn?
These are the questions of our Jewish generation. The answers are TBD.