June 21, 2024
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What Is the Greatest Danger to the Jewish Community?

The Jewish people have been in danger ever since we left Egypt, over 3,500 years ago. What has changed? What hasn’t changed?

Threats to the safety and security of the state of Israel? Yes, it’s deeply concerning. Yet is it the greatest danger? I suggest no, as more than half of the world’s Jews live outside of Israel.

Global or local anti-Semitism? While horrible on any level (and there has been an uptick of global anti-Semitism in recent years), there have been many decades even within the last century that were considerably worse.

Assimilation? This is a threat that has plagued the Jewish people while they were still in Egypt.

Jews creating a chillul Hashem? Yes, it’s terrible, yet also something that has plagued the Jewish people since biblical times.

In my opinion, the greatest dangers currently are disconnection and disunity.

If someone doesn’t fit in the “box,” they are often discouraged from participation in observant Jewish life. The teachers and parents have not instilled in the next generation the love and connection to the diversity of Judaism, Jews, and of God. Yes, the students do the actions, yet all too often there is limited thought or passion behind it. Due to this disconnect, disunity follows. Either the next generation is going off the path, aka assimilation, or they double down and position themselves as better than other Jews (often learned behavior).

We see this in communities that weed out those who are different and create insular enclaves. As it says in Vayikra 19:18, “V’ha-vahti l’reyecha kamocha”—Love your neighbor like yourself. The lack of attention to the full intention of this pasuk is what presents our greatest danger.


Malcolm Greenberg, aka the Monk Fruit Guy (sweetener specialist and leading expert on monk fruit sweetener solutions for sugar reduction) has been a member of the Highland Park/Edison Jewish community for over 42 years. He currently lives in Highland Park with his awesome wife and great family. He is looking forward to the weekly sit-down kiddush at Congregation Etz Ahaim when things are safe again.

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