With resounding endorsements from Natan Sharansky, Michael Oren and others, Gol Kalev’s new book is triggering a new conversation. It was selected as the cover of the 2022 New year issue of the Jerusalem Report, even before it was published.
Kalev claims that Judaism is going through a historic transformation just as it did 2,000 years ago. He argues that there is a shift in global consciousness of what Judaism is. Zionism, the national aspect of the Jewish nation-religion is becoming its organizing principle. With secularization on the one hand, and the increased attention on the Jewish state on the other, this transformation, he argues, is a natural process that is already happening.
Kalev examines this by delving into analysis of long-term trends in Israel and in North America, collectively home to 85% of today’s Jewry. He argues that the transformation to Judaism 3.0 is not just a function of intra-Jewish trends, but also of global trends, and hence he spends a significant part of the book analyzing developments in America, such as the shift from a cohesive homogenous culture to the embrace of multiple identities, centered around a common trunk of Americanism.
He also places the state of Judaism in the context of what he views as the defining global philosophical divide of the 21st Century between Americanism, a culture centered on particularity, nationalism and religion, and Europeanism which, as a reaction to the wars of the 20th Century, is now centered on counter-particularity, post-nationalism and zealous secularism. He shows how this helps define Judaism from the outside, and further augments the relevancy of Zionism as Judaism’s organizing principle.
Kalev views criticism of Israel, which is prevalent in much American Jewry, as affirmation of his thesis. He argues that for under-engaged Jews, estimated to be about 80% of American Jewry, Israel has turned into the primary conduit to one’s Judaism, in positive and negative connections alike. “From Barbara Streisand as Yentel, to Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman,” but also through facebook posts such as “As a Jew, I am embarrassed about Israel.” Zionism draws the American Jew into his Judaism, he argues. “No other aspect of Judaism evokes such a degree of passion, anger, love, fear, pride and dissent.” Hence Zionism has become the anchor of Judaism.
While the bulk of the book is demonstrating methodically that Zionism has turned into the organizing principle of Judaism, Kalev then asks what such recognition would mean. He shows how Judaism 3.0 is a better construct to address contemporary Jewish realities such as intermarriage. He then demonstrates how it is also the right framework to counter contemporary threats to Judaism, first and foremost, the existential threat of Israel-bashing, which has replaced antiSemitism as the currency of age-old opposition to Judaism. (Kalev separates Israel-bashing from criticism of Israel, which he argues must be protected): “recognizing that Judaism has transformed would rob Israel-bashers of their prerequisite assumption: the premise that Judaism is merely a religion. It would clarify that Israel-bashing and Jewish-bashing are one and the same.”
Throughout the book, Kalev ties his observations to the original vision of Theodor Herzl, founder of modern-day Zionism, who, as Kalev explains, planted the seed for the transformation of Judaism. Bringing Herzl’s vision to today’s realities, Kalev states that Zionism as the organizing principle of Judaism is “relatable and simple, given that it has a relevant tangible expression – the State of Israel. Israel’s success, its contribution to humanity, its culture, its people, as well as its controversies and flaws, all dictate how nations view the Jews and how Jews relate to Judaism.”
Press release: A revolutionary approach to countering Israel-bashing unveiled at Judaism 3.0 book launch
Judaism 3.0, launched on March 7th, was unveiled on January 12th in a pre-launch Garden-party.
In a few decades the terms Judaism and Zionism will be synonymous:
Hasbara (Israeli PR) is insufficient. Herzl realized that one can not change dogmatic thinking. Hence, there needs to be a more radical approach to dealing with anti Semitism then, and with Israel-bashing now:
More clips: Judaism 3.0 launch event
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For more information: Judaism-Zionism.com
“This book should play an important role in the discussions about the future of world Jewry and its relations with Israel.”
Natan Sharansky, former Chairman of The Jewish Agency, former Deputy Prime Minister of Israel
Gol Kalev does not just know Theodor Herzl – he lives and breathes Theodor Herzl…This book should trigger the conversation the Jewish community needs about Israel, Zionism, Judaism and Identity. Bravo!
Professor Gil Troy, author -The Zionist Ideas
“A courageous, compelling, and thoughtful thesis that must be part of any serious discussion of the future of Israel and the Jewish people.”
Michael Oren, historian, former Ambassador of Israel to the United States
ייA remarkable ideas book that is about much more than the state of Judaism….One of the most important books about Judaism, Zionism and global trends of our times.”
Catherine Carlton, former Mayor of Menlo Park, Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur
“Fresh new thinking about the relationship between Judaism and Israel. Kalev picks up where Herzl left off……A must read for people of all religious and political backgrounds who want to get a deeper understanding of the state of Zionism and Judaism today.”
Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem