I decided to enter the fray.
Before I hit the "return" key, I thought long and hard about what such a response might mean for my still-small-and-growing Jewish music career. And then i decided that there were simply too many things I'd longed to say and had not, out of fear.
I decided it was okay to be afraid, and time to speak up anyway.
And if indeed my comments -- my lack of circumspection, as it were -- should create a situation in which I never again earn a living from working in the Jewish community, well, so be it. I can do other things.
Still, I want to believe that we can have uncomfortable discussions without excommunicating each other; as a people relatively few in number worldwide, we can ill afford to exclude any Jew from a place at the table.
So I hit the "return" key.
Then, re-reading my post, i decided I wanted to share it here, so that friends of my music would know exactly where I am coming from.
There are "lost" Jews in every generation, including mine (I'm a late-stage Baby Boomer). Lacking money and children has caused too many Boomers to feel just as lost -- and outright irrelevant to the furtherance of Jewish life -- as the rest of you.
In the years between my parents' generation and my own, there was white flight to the suburbs; ramped-up consumerism and a sense that the New Prosperity (which came in the years immediately after WWII) would last, well, sort of forever.
That ship has sailed.
The number of affluent families in North America with strong traditional Jewish affiliation/connection is shrinking.
Now, we have a crippling recession which I believe has permanently altered the education-job-life paradigm in this country; people putting off childbirth until their forties or skipping childrearing altogether (by choice or default); and two generations of college graduates whose degrees aren't worth the parchment they're printed on. Worse, we are facing hard questions about what it means to be Jewish, what it means to have connection to Israel (and how relevant such a connection even is anymore) -- and who have NO safe place or person to bring their questions to without fear of a kind of excommunication. Questions stifled by fear serve no one.
What to do?
At the risk of biting the hand that feeds me (albeit sporadically at this point), I will dare to suggest that traditional bastions of Jewish communal life will slowly and painfully erode over the next twenty years or so -- unless they concede that the old models aren't working anymore and then do some serious changing/evolving/adapting. So let's ask the painful questions -- about money, about geography, about class and race and politics -- and demand answers, or at least a safe and open place for all in which to struggle for those answers. Revolutions needn't be bloody but they are always fraught with risk. How much are any of us willing to risk in pursuit of a Jewish life that makes sense in the world we actually live in?