Intra-Jewish Relations

Although Jews often disagree vigorously over the interpretation of tradition and over a vision for the future, these disagreements reflect our concern for the Jewish people and its future. Some level of ideological tension and debate is desirable because it indicates the depth of passion in understanding the meaning of being a Jew in the 21st century.

In spite of our differences, ties of peoplehood and heritage remain deep. Intra-Jewish tensions tend to recede when Jews feel besieged by common external threats, but differences over fundamental issues--who is a Jew, what does it mean to be a Jew, the meaning of a Jewish state, and the future agenda of the Jewish people--are real and warrant significant attention. We must never permit our disagreements, no matter how passionately debated, to undermine our commitment to klal yisrael, our devotion to one another, and our covenant of participation in the ongoing Jewish historical enterprise. Our disagreements should not be permitted to spill over into delegitimization of one group of Jews by another.

AJC has been a leader in convening diverse Jewish leaders to consult and write about the issues that currently divide the Jewish people. During the past few years, the battle for Jewish ideas on the American scene has been focused in part on the future of denominationalism and the advent of post-denominationalism, in both theoretical and practical terms. AJC has commissioned and published research to better understand these trends. Beyond the research, AJC has affirmed its role in American Jewish life as a judicious and prudent evaluator of trends within the Jewish world. AJC is particularly well-equipped to lead debate in this specific area because of its historical neutrality on issues of religious identification and denominationalism.