A recent article on Foward.com highlights a demographic study by Leonard Saxe that offers some new insights on the national Jewish population and might even contradict some of the generally-accepted-as-gospel research on the matter. In the Forward article, Saxe talks about the sticky problem of “identification”:
Instead of writing some fancy introduction, I’m going to just start by telling you that the thesis of this blog post is that the entire concept of the “December dilemma” is a myth. I’m going to explain why, and then I’m going to suggest what we (the Jewish community, and perhaps more specifically, those of us who serve in
leadership roles in the Jewish community) should do about it.
So with that totally transparent introduction, you can click if you’re interested in reading more.
My friend Ira recently got me riled up. On his blog, he posted about a “Mindset List” recently published by Hillel.
In case you’re unfamiliar: Beloit College, a liberal-arts school in southern Wisconsin, puts out this thing every year called the Mindset List. A few humanities or social sciences professors sit around and list a whole bunch of cultural references that, while familiar to adults, are not familiar to 18 year-old freshman.
“Professors will teach by referring to cultural information for purposes of analogy or illustration,” Beloit College humanities professor Tom McBride, one of two who developed the list, told the AP a few years ago. “But the kind of information they’re using may simply not be relevant to 18-year-old minds.”
This year, Hillel joined in on the fun by releasing a “Jewish Mindset List” of their own. Theirs is titled, “What Are Jewish First-Year Students Thinking?” and it’s introduced with the line, “Here, then, are the Jewish ideas that are kicking around in the minds of today’s first-year students.”
The entire concept of a “mindset” list is stupid. Here are four reasons why: