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New Group “Jewish Leadership Project” Formed to Challenge “Failing Jewish Leadership” On Threats To Community

New Group “Jewish Leadership Project” Formed to Challenge “Failing Jewish Leadership” On Threats To Community

Many Jews already understand that we are being assaulted from several ideological camps simultaneously, and that our leadership, because of its ideology, its willful blindness, and a general lack of courage, has failed to effectively respond to this startling reality.

I’m a young woman, a musician, and a New Yorker who grew up in the Bay Area. The granddaughter of Jewish Holocaust survivors, I’m also an unapologetic Zionist. And I’m proud to be part of the launch of The Jewish Leadership Project, the first Jewish organization in America that is mobilizing to challenge our failing Jewish establishment. Founded by veteran Jewish activists, Dr. Charles Jacobs and Avi Goldwasser, JLP seeks to create substantive change in Jewish community policies in order to effectively counter the threats we face.

This new movement shouldn’t be necessary, but the Jewish community is under siege. We are being shot and held hostage in our own houses of worship, assaulted on city streets, pushed out of social justice spaces, and defamed in the media, in the halls of Congress, and on college campuses. Proportional to our population, we are the victims of more hate crimes than any other group in America – twice a likely to be targeted as Black Americans or Muslims, and 50% more likely than someone targeted for sexual orientation or gender identity. There are armed guards outside of our schools and synagogues, as our institutions gradually approach the security levels required in Jewish venues throughout Europe.

All of this is happening on the watch of legacy organizations like the ADL and Jewish Federations –institutions created to prevent this exact catastrophe.

The crisis is particularly acute for Jewish youth. Anti-racism seminars and diversity training sessions push a doctrine of intersectionality that falsely paints Jews as rich, white, privileged, and therefore undeserving of society’s sympathy. Anti-Israel education in high schools is spreading across the country, and despite the fact that 90 percent of Jews identify as Zionists, anti-Zionism has become a fashionable, and even virtuous, form of Jew-hatred.

And the “adults in the room” are doing little about it. Establishment Jewish leaders have abandoned the community they were meant to serve. Instead, they have shifted their focus toward feel-good efforts like social justice and fighting for racial equity, voting rights, and support for the LGBT community and immigrants. Regardless of where one stands on those issues, they have nothing to do with protecting the Jewish community –the raison d’etre of legacy Jewish organizations.

Our organizations seem to provide cover for groups that attack Jews in the streets and encourage immigration from countries where antisemitism is rampant in school textbooks, teaching children to believe that Jews are descendants of apes and pigs. Campus Hillels host anti-Zionist speakers in an effort to be “inclusive” and “diverse.” Rabbis promote utopian notions of “allyship” and “reciprocity” that aren’t working due to the complexity of human nature and the persistence of tribalism.

More interested in “repairing the world” than in defending our people, Jewish “leaders” are wasting limited resources on their pet political projects. They seem unable to speak out against the violence done to us without including Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry in the same sentence to signal their virtue and increase their own social standing. While many groups are surely deserving of support and resources, we are a small, beleaguered minority and cannot attend to everyone, especially when doing so comes at the expense of our own safety and security.

When confronted, Jewish leaders self-righteously point to the task forces and committees they’ve set up to deal with antisemitism, but these initiatives focus almost exclusively on the lethal threat of white supremacy and Neo-Nazis, while ignoring or downplaying the Jew-hatred of woke progressives, black nationalists, and radical Muslims. In doing this, they are dangerously politicizing antisemitism.

JLP is organizing a national network of Jewish community activists who will challenge their local Jewish leadership —their rabbis, local Federations, the ADL, and the JCRCs— to break out of their failed ideological strait jackets and explore new ways of thinking.

Many Jews already understand that we are being assaulted from several ideological camps simultaneously, and that our leadership, because of its ideology, its willful blindness, and a general lack of courage on the part of our elites, has failed to effectively respond to this startling reality. If you agree, join us. You can sign up on the Jewish Leadership Project website, which features resources and concrete action plans.

As more people sign up to be involved, JLP will be organizing them into local teams; we have already established over a dozen activist teams throughout the United States. JLP will provide organization, training, assistance, and advice. Activists will learn to identify problematic organizations and leaders (local and national, rabbis and Federations, JCCs and JCRCs), and how to activate the community to pressure them and demand a change in priorities or a change in the very leaders themselves. JLP will also train activists to influence major donors. The donors make it possible for these “leaders” to ignore their mission and abandon the Jewish community.

Our current leaders must declare a state of emergency. The fire alarms are ringing, but for them, it’s business as usual. We are now at a tipping point. Jews – young and old – all over the country sense this. The community must mobilize to bring needed change, so that the next generation of Jews will be secure.

Karys Rhea is a Fellow at The Jewish Leadership Project.



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The Gentle Grizzly | July 31, 2022 at 4:50 pm

Good luck.

I’m a member of a Reform (yeah, I know) congregation and I swear the Rabbbi and by extension the URJ are foot soldiers of the Democrat party and the SJW DEI alphabet soup Left.

Recently the Rabbi sent out a mournful email about how horrible it is that the birthing people congregants may now have to travel outside the state to kill their babies. For the last 6 years he was summoning strength on the pulpit to save us all from the evils of Trump, while telling us to open our homes to Syrian refugees and illegal border crossers and on and on.

I am sick and freaking tired of this BS. Thankfully I can’t go in person and heckle the schmeckle from the peanut gallery because I’d have to show my (vaccine) papers.

The majority of Jews in America are Reform (the more lax of the three traditional branches in the US, not counting some newer even more lax varieties that have sprung up) and the majority of them are Democrat voting liberals. Reform Judaism is not the same religion I up knowing in 1960’s New England. It is nucking futs today. Oy gevalt!

    Milhouse in reply to WestRock. | August 1, 2022 at 1:36 am

    So why do you stay? If there’s an Orthodox synagogue you could attend instead, try that and see how you like it. You don’t have to observe all the commandments in order to attend; of course that’s what we would like you to do, but if you choose not to you’ll still be completely welcome. Nobody checks at the door whether you walked or drove.

    Jazzizhep in reply to WestRock. | August 1, 2022 at 9:10 am

    I’m 50 years old and raised in a Southern Baptist church in Texas. You would probably be pleasantly surprised at our attitudes towards Jews. The current evangelical support of Israel and the Jewish people has been building for decades.

    I will give even the most strident Jewish SJWs a pass considering history. As such, I am not going to comment on intra-faith issues re direction of leadership. I will, however, silently cheer for a more conservative stance.

The mainstream Jewish organizations have been taken over by progressive Jews who are left-wing Democrats first and Jews a distant second (at best).. The only issues they are concerned about are ones that impact Blacks, illegal aliens, gays, trangenders, and Muslims. They are the first to cry Islamophobia and the last to acknowledge acts of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. My local Jewish Federation proudly sponsored a drag queen book reading for Jewish toddlers. I spoke to the heads of our Jewish Federation to ask them to explain how this event was part of their mission. I asked why they thought that adult entertainment was appropriate for young children. Of course, I got no rational response. Anything in support of the LGBTQ+ community is more important to them than protesting attacks against the Jewish community. They don’t think combating BDS is part of their mission. The only thing important to them is to virtue signal how progressive they are in support of every minority community except the Jewish community.

“Reform Judaism” is a blending of Marxist social policy and a Laissez-faire form of the Jewish religion, kind of a “Jewish light”, the way Episcopalianism is “Catholic light”.
Reform Judaism is far left wing and anti-Israeli. It’s a dangerous, radical sect of the Jewish religion and is to be met with extreme caution.

ADL has been a wing of the Democratic Party for a decade. Think about that, the ADL is sleeping with the enemy. When Trump ran, I had to hear all about how Trump had concentration camps readying for the day he took office, how Jews would need special IDs, etc. I asked where did you get this information?…the answer was special sites on the internet. It was surreal. And i could not find these sites myself.

Liberal Jews are as dangerous to world Jewry as any Obama or Soros.

    JackinSilverSpring in reply to | July 31, 2022 at 8:32 pm

    Leftist Jews who are Jews only by an accident of birth.

      Being born Jewish is hardly an accident. It’s deeply meaningful — but unfortunately not to them.

      That is the ones who actually are born Jewish. A majority of Reform members are not born Jewish, and have never properly converted, so they’re not Jews at all.

        The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Milhouse. | August 1, 2022 at 8:36 am

        It never meant much to me, Milhouse.

        Having parents who never went to school but required it of my brother and me didn’t help.

        Being enrolled in a synagogue full of people who judged others by their professions, where they lived or the cars they drove didn’t help. (My father was a junkman; that meant I was on the bottom compared to the kids whose fathers were lawyers or doctors.)

        Later on, we moved into the Jewish neighborhood of Los Angeles; my mother wanting us to be among “our own”. I never was more alienated in my entire life. The Reforms were all about a social pecking order, and the orthodox looked upon us as something unpleasant stuck to their heel..

goddessoftheclassroom | July 31, 2022 at 8:43 pm

I am an Orthodox Christian (Eastern Orthodox). I have the greatest respect for Judaism and Zionism; I support both and am opposed to anything that undermines either.

JackinSilverSpring | July 31, 2022 at 8:45 pm

The ADL is a joke. I call it the Association of DemoncRat Leftist. The Federation is almost a joke. It contributes in some cities to Jewish Day Schools. I used to contribute to the Federation in Montgomery County MD, but when it sponsored an anti-Israel dance recital, I stopped contributing. My advice to my co-religionists, get a carry permit and carry because you never know what crazy will attack you generally, and for being Jewish specifically. As it says in Psalm 146: Do not trust in princes or in human beings.

    I grew up in Potomac, MD. I had friends at CES Day Achool and knew a couple of people from Hebrew Academy.

    My advice is different from yours. It is to get out. Make Aliyah. Look at history. What has changed? A gun may help temporarily. But it can’t stem the tide.

If you are Jewish and have young or youngish children, understand this: it’s time to leave. I’m sorry. It’s just the truth. I left in 2018. I’m not religious. But I saw the handwriting on the wall. Israel is there for a reason.

    LukeHandCool in reply to Stuytown. | August 1, 2022 at 1:41 am

    I hope you are wrong about this. Our daughter just converted to Judaism a few months ago and just gave us our first grandchild this month … our Jewish granddaughter. I wish she and her husband would leave NYC with the baby. From the news reports I see, anti-Semitism is really on the rise there (as is just about all forms of crime). I work for LAPD and I’ve definitely seen an increase in anti-Semitic incidents and crimes. I would encourage the author of this post to have her organization work with local law enforcement agencies and develop a good relationship and rapport with them. The recent racialization and woke direction of our institutions has me very nervous about anti-Semitism as well as the future of this country. I would never have imagined feeling this way just 10 or so years ago. Things happen fast.

      Stuytown in reply to LukeHandCool. | August 1, 2022 at 8:18 am

      I hope I’m wrong, as well, Luke. Congratulations on your first grandchild. That’s a beautiful thing.

        LukeHandCool in reply to Stuytown. | August 1, 2022 at 12:19 pm

        Thank you! My wife and I will travel to NYC this month for our granddaughter’s Hebrew naming ceremony. This is the first time we get to see her. She’s one month old today. I can’t wait to hold and shower with love the adorable little girl who is the star of daily pictures and videos we receive. Just precious. She’s already stolen my heart.

Steven Brizel | July 31, 2022 at 10:54 pm

You must be confident and knowledgeable in classic Jewish sources to present the Jewish view on any contemporary issue Both ReformJudaism and ADL offer ersatz woke versions of Jewish identity

I’m not Jewish, just run of the mill CONSERVATIVE nondenominational Christian. What I have seen in the last two years appalls me. I was stationed in Europe for well over a decade and have walked the paths in the concentration camps, talked with those with number tattoos. I cannot grasp HOW, we – the bastion of freedom of religion, are allowing this to happen. There’s no need to agree with their beliefs in order to respect them. They do not foist their beliefs on others. It is wrong and I will not tolerate it in my presence.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to clevergirl. | August 1, 2022 at 1:40 pm

    It’s not just the strident leftists beating the drums of anti-Semitism, or the militant blacks.

    Marjorie Taylor Greene let her mask slip and is making noises about Christian Nationalism. One other (female) member of congress spoke of it being time to end “this separation of church and state [stuff]”.

    Some choose to make alyah and that is fine for some. I won’t do that. I am old, my health is not good, and I fear that if I did I would be just as alienated – or more so – there as I was in the Beverly – Fairfax district in the 1960s.

    I’ll die here, thank you, and maybe take a few with me before I get herded into a truck at the point of one of MTG’s bayonets.

I consider the Jews in this country “too smart by half” as the expression goes. They blindly support the democrat party and will eventually be destroyed by the radical wing of that party. They live in the US cocoon that protects them and have lost the ability to defend themselves. They are blind the the fact that anti-Jewish opinions are growing in spite of all the Holocaust evidence that is out there! They should be defending their beliefs like the Moslems do.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to srroelker1946. | August 1, 2022 at 1:44 pm

    They live in the US cocoon that protects them and have lost the ability to defend themselves.

    That, and many work hard to take that ability away from the rest of us.

    As for defending their beliefs: aside from the Orthodox, what beliefs do the average American Jew, that is, Reform Jews, really have? I grew up around Reform, and aside from being able to speak bad Yiddish, be bigoted, and be pessimistic about everything, I saw no real beliefs or values, or embrace of traditions.

      LukeHandCool in reply to The Gentle Grizzly. | August 1, 2022 at 2:01 pm

      Seeing the seismic shift of Hispanics away from the Democrat Party towards the GOP revealed in recent polls gives me hope. Hopefully more and more Jewish Americans will trend the same way. It’s hard to break old habits, but when one side increasingly openly embraces obvious anti-Semites and blames Israel more often than not for the Middle East’s problems, they might run out of rationalizations and excuses for supporting today’s toxic Democrat Party. That’s not to say the GOP doesn’t have its nutcases. But the dems have many more and they’re more virulent.

        The Gentle Grizzly in reply to LukeHandCool. | August 1, 2022 at 2:40 pm

        Hispanics are, by and large, Christian. They also have a very strong sense of family and unity, so their fit into the GOP is more or less natural.

        Yes, the GOP has its “nutcases”, and maybe some not so nuts.

        Marjorie Taylor Greene let her mask slip recently in saying the GOP should be a Christian Nationalist party. I doubt even conservative Jews take much comfort in that.

        Kristi Noem is making noises about putting prayer back in schools. Everyone, be they Jew or Christian or any other religion, KNOWS this means Christian prayer, likely Protestant at that. I don’t see Mohammad, Apu, or Sammy reciting prayers to Jesus. Or, if they don’t,. Notes Will Be Sent Home, or A Teacher/Parent Conference Will Be Requested.

          LukeHandCool in reply to The Gentle Grizzly. | August 1, 2022 at 3:05 pm

          Yep, you’re spot on about Hispanics being a natural fit for the GOP. If the shift does actually materialize in the midterms and ’24 election, be prepared to see Dems suddenly in favor of very strict border security.

          I know next to nothing about MTG. I immediately discounted her when she came out with nutty views on Israel. I don’t even remember exactly what she said. Seems I was right to discount her. Any time I see something about her, I ignore it.

Stuart Hurlbert | August 2, 2022 at 3:27 pm

There is much promise in the arrival of the JLP. Something like it has long been needed as an institutional counter to ADL and the antisemitism to which ADL itself inadvertantly contributes.

The past year or so I did some research on the ADL, especially as to how it was regarded within the Jewish community. The result is a 35-page compilation of: 1) information on the No Place for Hate program that ADL currently operates in 1800 school systems in the U.S., and 2) verbatim excerpts from 106 articles on ADL politics and, to a lesser extent, Jewish attitudes on immigration, a major focus of ADL politics.

This compilation is now available, in html and as a pdf, on at least two websites:

Anti-Defamation League: A Compilation of Information on Its Political Nature
Stuart H. Hurlbert, Professor of Biology Emeritus, San Diego State University
Californians for Equal Rights, May 2022

The CAIRCO Report, June 2022 (this version is accompanied by some additional materials)

There are two questions that the JLP leadership might address as a way of making its principles crystal clear for both the larger Jewish community and for U.S. citizens generally.

First, would public school systems be well advised to disallow penetration by the ADL via its very political and partisan No Place for Hate program or, for those already using it, to cancel their alliance with ADL?

Second, should ADL be censured by JLP for the former’s demonization of and hate-mongering against organizations and individuals simply because they argue for enforcement of existing immigration laws and return to more moderate levels of immigration, as favored by past national commissions and a majority of the U.S. electorate?

Simple questions JLP’s answers to which would be of exceptionally wide interest.