Reading James Loeffler’s masterful diagnosis of the failure of cultural Judaism, I was reminded of my first meeting, nine years ago, with the newly arrived director of an Orthodox educational center in Portland, Oregon. We were walking out of synagogue services together when he introduced himself by saying: “I hear we’re in the same line of business.” Without wanting to be rude, I felt I had to correct him. “No,” I said, “we’re not. You teach Torah. I teach Jewish studies.”
Culture and the Classroom
Programs of Jewish studies in colleges and universities have added greatly to the possibilities for Jewish self-understanding. But they offer no sure pathway to Jewish identity.