Three Steps To Preserving Peoplehood: A Global Perspective

By Eli Ovits

Over the last year, I’ve travelled across the Jewish world to work with communities on several continents involved with Limmud, the global volunteer organization committed to Jewish learning, diversity and empowerment that I serve as chief executive.

It is remarkable to see how much connects us as a people despite our cultural differences and geographical distances. So many communal ventures. So many exciting innovations. And, at the same time, so many common challenges.

Reflecting on these encounters, and the desire our young leaders have for a vibrant Jewish future, we can advance peoplehood by championing diversity and creating ways to re-engage with those who wish to explore their Jewish identity and connect to their rich heritage.

Indeed, safeguarding a global sense of peoplehood has always been essential for our collective and individual survival. After all we are known as Am Yisrael – the People of Israel, rather than the Religion of Israel. As we approach the festival of Passover and throughout the year we learn about our vivid history as a people and become acutely aware that not all Jews have been as fortunate as this generation: free to learn and share meaningful memories.

Nevertheless, we are also living in an increasingly polarized world. A time when many Jews feel excluded from existing communal constructs.

So, perhaps it’s time to broaden the lens in how we create community and peoplehood.

Young adults increasingly testify to having multiple layers of identity. We have all witnessed a rise in national identities. Yet, the notion of a global identity and connection is also increasing. And, it is at this layer where we see so much renewal and opportunity as a people. For instance, when considering what is igniting curiosity and inspiring thousands to learn, several good practices can be derived and then applied wherever we reside:

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