A Dangerous Disconnect: The UJA and the Orthodox Jewish Community
Fighting the alarming and dangerous escalation of virulent anti-Semitism in the US, requires a steadfast and inclusive commitment amongst organizations that represent the Jewish people. As history has recorded, in order to be effectual in these trying circumstances, it is incumbent upon the entire Jewish nation to band together in unity and march under one banner. It is particularly important to not exclude Orthodox Jewry, which has been bearing the brunt of many anti-Semitic attacks.
While the UJA-Federation claims to adhere to a “big tent” philosophy; we need to explore what that translates into. While this catch phrase may sound like an inclusive term that if implemented would serve to provide common ground and foster unity amongst divergent groups and perspectives; in reality it means that the “big tent” reaches out exclusively to organizations that adhere to a far-left, woke, progressive ideology.
This fallacy that the UJA is fostering unity must be exposed. Tragically, the UJA has failed abysmally in terms of establishing any kind of beneficial partnership with those Jewish organizations (that is, Orthodox groups) whose views that UJA deems odious and with whom UJA strongly disagrees.
Orthodox Jewish organizations and those groups that champion varying perspectives are summarily dismissed by the UJA and erroneously labeled as “extreme”. As such, the UJA has established a policy of refusing to coordinate a united front against the vicious onslaught of visceral Jew hatred that has engulfed our country and the entire world.
The question that begs to be answered is why the UJA has not reached out in a substantial manner to the broad Orthodox Jewish communities in New York City and beyond and more importantly, why the Orthodox Jewish communities have not embraced the messaging of the UJA.
At a cursory glance, one can glean a voluminous amount of information about the generous funding that the UJA provides to a plethora of secular Jewish organizations as well as non-Jewish organizations, all in the name of promoting the concepts of diversity and tolerance. Moreover, both Conservative and Reform Jewish groups are also on the receiving end of the UJA’s financial largesse.
The Orthodox Jewish community naturally feels alienated from the UJA because of their lack of affirmation and support for Torah values and religious dictums. As such, the conglomeration of Orthodox Jewish communities have publicly responded in kind to the UJA’s dismissal of them by distancing themselves from them in every way possible.
Case in point: When the UJA holds demonstrations in predominantly Orthodox Jewish areas such as Monsey when anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish bias rears their ugly heads, nary will one see an Orthodox Jewish participant.
While the UJA may claim that they do indeed support programs geared for the needs of Orthodox Jews, the truth is that since their inception, the UJA has never solidified a concrete, productive and respectful relationship with the Orthodox Jewish community.
Today, the Orthodox Jewish community is served by a litany of organizations that focus on concerns and needs that are applicable to them. The UJA is considered feckless in encouraging and maintaining the kind of ties that it should have to such a vibrant and growing community.
On December 19th, the UJA is organizing a public gathering on the second night of Chanukah to spotlight the malicious scourge of widespread anti-Semitism that has even sparked the concern of the White House. The sad reality is that this event will not attract all segments of the Jewish community and it will be devoid of any participation from the Orthodox Jewish community.
As we continue to collectively harbor tremendous anxiety over the normalization of Jew hatred in all stratas of society, we must put our heads together to craft a plan for survival as the onslaught of visceral anti-Semitism mushrooms before our very eyes.
The UJA would do well to take a pro-active stance, to posit themselves as genuine leaders and to alter their ill-conceived political trajectory. The time is long overdue for the UJA to come to the stark realization that we are living in the middle of a Marxist revolution, driven by the nefarious agenda of the “woke, progressive” movement that tacitly approves of and condones reprehensible anti-Semitic diatribes.
The UJA must invite and even cajole the Orthodox Jewish community into their “big tent” before the proverbial winds of evil knock down this flimsy and ineffectual tent.