What Canadian Jewry Gets Right

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, Canada’s Jews intermarry at approximately half the rate of their U.S. counterparts, but are twice as likely to belong to synagogues. Ari Blaff comments:

American Jews are half as likely to attend community day school, yeshiva, overnight summer camp, and Sunday or Hebrew school as Canadian Jews. While participation rates at communal institutions have dwindled among non-Orthodox American Jews, the same has not been true for Reform and Conservative Jews in Canada. Accordingly, while American and Canadian Jewish youth exhibit similar bar- and bat-mitzvah levels (50 percent to 60 percent, respectively), . . . Canadians are significantly more active in their religious communities. . . . Similar results are seen when it comes to Israel between the two communities: “American Jews have a much weaker connection to Israel than do Canadian Jews,” the report states.

[In an effort to explain the last trend, the survey’s] authors point to Zionism’s contentious reception among American Jews in the 20th century, particularly in the Reform movement where Jewish self-determination was seen to be in conflict with American patriotism. In Canada, by comparison, British efforts to accommodate French-speaking elements fostered the growth of ethnic institutions within the country. . . .

It’s not all bad news for American Jews, [however]. American Jewish leaders may not be able to replicate Canadian cultural attitudes . . . within their own communities, but they can certainly draw lessons from the distinctive experiences of their northern neighbors.

Above all, Braff concludes, Canadian Jews’ preference for marrying other Jews may be the foremost reason for the other positive data.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: American Jewry, Canadian Jewry, Intermarriage, Synagogues

 

How China Equips the Islamic Republic to Repress Its People

In its dedication to bringing totalitarianism into the 21st century, the Chinese Communist party has developed high-tech forms of surveillance using facial-recognition software, a vast system of “social credit,” and careful control over its subjects’ cellular phones. Even stricter and more invasive measures are applied to the Uyghurs of the northwestern part of the country. Beijing is also happy to export its innovations in tyranny to allies like Iran and Russia. Playing a key role in these advances is a nominally private company called Tiandy Technologies. Craig Singleton describes its activities:

Both Tiandy testimonials and Chinese-government press releases advertise the use of the company’s products by Chinese officials to track and interrogate Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang province. According to human-rights groups, Chinese authorities also employ Tiandy products, such as “tiger chairs,” to torture Uyghurs and other minorities.

Iran has long relied on China to augment its digital surveillance capabilities, and Tehran was an early adopter of Beijing’s “social-credit” system, which it wields to assess citizens’ behavior and trustworthiness. . . . Iranian government representatives have publicized plans to leverage smart technologies, including AI-powered face recognition, to maintain regime stability and neutralize dissent. Enhanced cooperation with China is central to those efforts.

At present, Tiandy is not subject to U.S. sanctions or export controls. In light of Tiandy’s operations in both Xinjiang and Iran, policymakers should consider removing the company, its owner, and stakeholders from the international financial system and global supply chains.

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More about: China, Human Rights, Iran, Totalitarianism, U.S. Foreign policy