This past year has been another busy one on the Jewish calendar. The ongoing global pandemic, politics, rising antisemitism… the list goes on. Unfortunately as we head into the new year many of the issues of 5781 remain unresolved.
Here’s what we are keeping a close eye on in 5782 and the questions we will be asking.
Coronavirus continues to divide us on how we approach Jewish communal life. Will there be more lockdowns? Will communal life continue to be disrupted? Will Israel open up more to foreign travelers? Will the pandemic finally be contained? What is the future of Jewish life in brick and mortar buildings?
9. Jewish TV/film
Jewish/Israeli television and film is having a moment (for better or worse). We are excited to see what new shows will come to our screens this year. We are willing and ready to binge watch what comes out.
8. Rabbinate control of Israel
The Chief Rabbinate of Israel is having a moment. From the government’s intention to break up their kashrut monopoly, to their control of the Western Wall and the prime minister’s endorsement of egalitarian prayer there, to the Supreme Court chipping away at their power over the acceptance of conversions, and now there’s a major push to secularize marriage… reform seems to be coming to the rabbinate, the question is just how much?
7. Israel-Palestinian relations
Sheikh Jarrah remains unresolved. Hamas remains defiant in Gaza. The debate over West Bank settlements continues under a new government. The U.S. announced its intentions to reopen a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem. Will the Abraham Accords further isolate the Palestinian Authority? Ben & Jerry’s boycott reignited the debate over the BDS movement. Will Israel build off of its rare meeting with Abbas? All these issues remain as we head into the new year.
6. Foreign relations
Diplomacy in 5782 is going to be huge. How will the US-Israel relationship continue? Will the U.S. put pressure on Iran? Can we expect more countries in the Middle East to sign on to the Abraham Accords? How will Taliban controlled Afghanistan affect regional security? Will Israel’s proxy war with Iran escalate?
5. The growing divide
One part of Pew’s 2021 census on Jewish American life turned a lot of heads: non-affiliated Jews say they have more in common with Muslims than Orthodox Jews. Can we bridge this gap in 5782 or will the polarization of American Jews only continue?
Will inclusion be more than just a buzzword in 5782? Will we start to see real representation of Jews of color in Jewish spaces?
2. Diaspora relations
Israel’s new government has identified improving the relationship with America’s Jews as a top priority, but it’s going to take more than just regular hasbara (propaganda) to improve a relationship that has severely soured over the years. Can the two largest Jewish communities in the world find common ground? How will young Americans react to the outreach?
1. Rising antisemitism
You can make an argument that antisemitism was the story in 5781. The U.K. saw a 600% increase in incidents in May, Jews in Canada were told to stay inside due to lynch mobs, Poland continues to revise the history of its role in the Holocaust. Jews dining on the street in Los Angeles were attacked, and there were random street battles in New York City by mobs looking for Jews. Liberal Jews were purged from online spaces… a swastika was found carved into the wall of a secure elevator at the State Department, the list goes on. Was 5781 an isolated year or is antisemitism becoming more mainstream across the political spectrum?
Originally Published Sep 9 2021 08:41AM EDT