Everyone is talking about: demography. Barely a day goes by when the long term predictions about the number of Jewish people living in Israel discourages and the number of those marrying out disappoints. Facing the onslaught of the world, its values and beliefs, the sheer difficulty at times of living in Israel against all odds , being a part of the Jewish community can feel like being a people under siege, fighting to exist and even argue our case to exist!
In recent articles by the Jerusalem Post (12th July 2013) this was highlighted and once more the debate turned on the issue of Jewish survival. We must survive! We must do whatever it takes to survive! Now, no one will disagree with this, of course, and we must survive and will survive because the living G-d of Israel has decreed it to be so. JA Chairman Nathan Sharansky went on the record saying that the solution to this survival was to strengthen Jewish identity. We must endure that our children identify with Jewish life, nationhood and culture. Agreed. Again, Harry Triguboff argued that we could lose a whole generation of Jews unless we educate as, and teach our children to be Jews. Agreed. But the whole purpose of these proposed good acts is to… survive. It seems that to preserve the Jewish people is the highest goal; the aim of our existence is to exist; we survive so we can survive.
Is this what G-d has called us to? Were we brought up out of Egypt so we can survive? Given our own homeland so we can be preserved like some museum piece for the nations to look at? Is ‘mere’ survival the national aim of the Jewish people? We are a particular people but we have a universal message. We have Jewish roots but Jewish branches too for those of the nations to come and sit in. You can’t keep a good thing to yourself! Through us was given the oracles of G-d, states Rav Shaul; the very concepts of redemption, salvation, forgiveness, repentance, restoration, the idea of Mashiach and the truth of the One true G-d of all mankind were given through the calling and election of the nation, the people of Israel.
‘Merely’ educating in who and what we are will not set the next generation on fire with a passion to be Jewish. Bringing our young people to the feet of the One who called us in the first place, to serve Him and the national mission entrusted to us will however bring a passion with it. We shall survive because G-d is not liar and His word is faithful and true. Let us not worry about survival but serving the One to whom we owe our lives and to whom we give our allegiance. Let us concern ourselves with the calling to bring a message of hope and salvation to a world that so desperately needs it.