A working paper prepared for next week's Conference on the Future of the Jewish People, sponsored by The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, contains the following assessment: "The future of the Jewish People is not assured, through there are great opportunities" for thriving.
Another paper, entitled "The Jewish People in 2030," suggests that the world is unlikely to see a significant increase in the number of Jews. Furthermore, it states, "the Jewish people is facing a serious problem of high quality leadership, spiritual, political and professional with no clear trend of improvement."
"One has to retain a sense of humility," says Dennis Ross, former peace envoy during the Clinton administration and now, among other things, chairman of the JPPPI.
"The whole profile of the Jewish people is changing," states another of the conference working papers. These are lengthy, detailed accounts of familiar problems. Groups whose children tend to marry non-Jews at a high rate, and which have low fertility rates, will be reduced in number and influence.
As for the Jewish people in 2030, the conference papers' prognosis covers all bases: either "thriving," "drifting" "defending" or "dismal." JPPPI Director-General Avinoam Bar-Yosef, who sounded ready for skeptical questions on the essence of planning a people's future, conceded in a telephone conversation from Jerusalem that the Jewish people had survived until now without any planning. On the other hand, he said, "maybe if they had planned things, the situation would be better."
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