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.

Read more at Tablet

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

Hamas Has Its Own Day-After Plan

While Hamas’s leaders continue to reject the U.S.-backed ceasefire proposal, they have hardly been neglecting diplomacy. Ehud Yaari explains:

Over the past few weeks, Hamas leaders have been engaged in talks with other Palestinian factions and select Arab states to find a formula for postwar governance in the Gaza Strip. Held mainly in Qatar and Egypt, the negotiations have not matured into a clear plan so far, but some forms of cooperation are emerging on the ground in parts of the embattled enclave.

Hamas officials have informed their interlocutors that they are willing to support the formation of either a “technocratic government” or one composed of factions that agree to Palestinian “reconciliation.” They have also insisted that security issues not be part of this government’s authority. In other words, Hamas is happy to let others shoulder civil responsibilities while it focuses on rebuilding its armed networks behind the scenes.

Among the possibilities Hamas is investigating is integration into the Palestinian Authority (PA), the very body that many experts in Israel and in the U.S. believe should take over Gaza after the war ends. The PA president Mahmoud Abbas has so far resisted any such proposals, but some of his comrades in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) are less certain:

On June 12, several ex-PLO and PA officials held an unprecedented meeting in Ramallah and signed an initiative calling for the inclusion of additional factions, meaning Hamas. The PA security services had blocked previous attempts to arrange such meetings in the West Bank. . . . Hamas has already convinced certain smaller PLO factions to get on board with its postwar model.

With generous help from Qatar, Hamas also started a campaign in March asking unaffiliated Palestinian activists from Arab countries and the diaspora to press for a collaborative Hamas role in postwar Gaza. Their main idea for promoting this plan is to convene a “Palestinian National Congress” with hundreds of delegates. Preparatory meetings have already been held in Britain, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Qatar, and more are planned for the United States, Spain, Belgium, Australia, and France.

If the U.S. and other Western countries are serious about wishing to see Hamas defeated, and all the more so if they have any hopes for peace, they will have to convey to all involved that any association with the terrorist group will trigger ostracization and sanctions. That Hamas doesn’t already appear toxic to these various interlocutors is itself a sign of a serious failure.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian Authority