• Failed to respond aggressively to physical attacks on Jews,

  • Failed to act vigorously to combat demonization of Jews and Israel in the media, academia and culture,

  • Failed to recognize that anti-Zionism is Antisemitism,

  • Failed to mobilize and prioritize communal resources to protect the community,

  • Failed to protect Jewish education from being hijacked by political radicals.  The result has been a formation of antisemitic and anti-Israel cult-like organizations, preying on naïve, vulnerable, and ill-informed Jewish youth,

  • Failed to understand emerging threats from the Left, Radical Islam,certain parts of the African American community and Identity Politics (tribalism),

  • Failed to respond adequately to the explosion of Jew-hatred within leadership positions in Congress and academia,

  • Failed to understand human nature and lessons of history and, instead, adopted feel-good utopian fantasies,

  • Failed to understand the nature of political power,

  • Failed to promote true Jewish values in order to advance an ideological political agenda.

You might be a failed Jewish leader if you believe that:

  1. Helping others and tikkun olam (“fixing the world”) are more important than protecting Jews,

  2. Fighting for Social Justice will reduce Jew-hatred,

  3. Blindly supporting immigrants from Jew-hating cultures poses no threat to Jews,

  4. Precious Jewish resources should be diverted to support non-Jewish causes,

  5. Jewish generosity and political support will be reciprocated,

  6. Progressive ideology is supportive of the Jewish community and Israel,

  7. Jewish values are always the same as progressive values,

  8. Jewish values are a political guide for dealing with Jew-hatred, a nuclear genocidal Iran and Jihad,

  9. Interfaith dialogue with people dedicated to the destruction of Israel will reduce Jew-hatred,

  10. American Jews are exempt from Jewish history,

  11. White supremacists and neo-Nazis are the biggest threats to the Jewish community,

  12. The big tent should include those who blame Israel,

  13. Israel is not so important for American Jewry,

  14. Israel's policies are the cause of Jew-hatred,

  15. Israel’s policies taint your moral purity,

  16. Applying a double standard to Israel is not a manifestation of Jew-hatred,

  17. Radical Arabs have given up their genocidal intent,

  18. Doing more of what has failed will bring the desired results.

At a time when the community is under assault, we need strong and effective Jewish Leadership.

WHO ARE STRONG JEWISH LEADERS?

  • Authentic Jewish leaders have a clear vision of how to build, defend and protect the community, including ensuring that Jews receive the rights, protection and recognition afforded to other minorities.

  • They place the safety of the Jewish community above any personal political ideology.

  • They understand  there is no future for American Jewry without a coherent Jewish identity and a strong Israel.

  • They understand that Jews need  allies, but also must  be strong and command respect.

  • They understand the nature of identity politics and related power dynamics. 

 

  • They are proud Jews rooted in reality, not utopian fantasies.​​

HOW IS JEWISH LEADERSHIP FAILING?

HOW TO IDENTIFY FAILED JEWISH LEADERS?

HOW TO IDENTIFY STRONG JEWISH LEADERS?

The Communal Obligation to Challenge Failed Leadership

American Jews are rapidly coming to understand that Jew-hatred is surging from a variety of sources and in ways unimaginable a decade ago.  A growing portion of the community believes that the Jewish communal leadership is failing to effectively combat this.  Yet, apart from a few outspoken writers, most Jewish leaders with few exceptions (such as ZOA) refrain from public criticism of failed Jewish leaders.

 

The central reason for this silence is the fear of Jewish division – classically cited as the reason for the destruction of the Second Temple.  Today, many Jews fear, that as a besieged minority, “washing our dirty laundry in public” can make us even more vulnerable.  Finally, there is the distaste of fighting with fellow Jews, some of whom may be personal friends with differing opinions.  These are the sentiments and beliefs that continue to shield Jewish leaders and organizations from legitimate criticism.  Anyone who is publicly critical runs the risk of being censured and canceled in the community.  The exception to this rule is criticism of Israel’s leaders and politicians, which is not only seen as fair game but is applauded in many quarters.  Often such criticism of Israeli leaders, who won their positions in open elections and can legitimately claim that they are doing what their constituents want, comes from American Jewish leaders who are not elected by the people they claim to represent, but are anointed by wealthy donors.

Judaism teaches that criticism and self-criticism are fundamental to decent societies, not only to correct and improve the character of individuals, but also because such practice leads to truth.  How can it be a Jewish precept that when we believe our leaders have trapped themselvesand usby following false ideas, that we should refrain from serious efforts to correct them?  In such circumstances refraining from criticism would be against our tradition and our interest.  And there is now too much at stake to be reticent.

ARE WE ALLOWED TO QUESTION JEWISH LEADERS?

―  Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch

“What higher responsibility does a Jewish leader have than to protect fellow Jews?”

― Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch

Reform Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York City

November 19, 2021

― David Harris

“In an era in which antisemitism again is tragically on the rise, we need to not just talk about the problem, we need to act.”

― David Harris

American Jewish Committee

November 18, 2021

―  Bret Stephens

"Prominent Jewish Americans need to use all the political influence, social capital, and institutional muscle they have to defend baseline Jewish interests in ostensibly liberal institutions. That hasn’t happened. Instead, in one institution after another, Jewish leaders — trustees and major donors, university presidents and academic deans, senators and representatives, CEOs and board directors — have, to paraphrase Lenin, sold the rope from which their enemies will hang them."

― Bret Stephens

SAPIR, A Journal of of Jewish Conversation

September 1, 2021

Ze’ev Jabotinsky

“We were not created in order to teach morals and manners to our enemies. Let them learn these things for themselves. We want to hit back at anybody who harms us. … When we are in a position where — through no fault of our own — physical force dominates … the blackest of all characteristics is the tradition of the cheapness of Jewish blood, on the shedding of which there is no prohibition and for which you do not pay.”

Ze’ev Jabotinsky

― Rabbi Hillel the Elder

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me?"

― Rabbi Hillel the Elder