Although many young Jews after their bar/bat-mitzvah as well as many Jewish adults are abandoning their synagogues, they remain Torah-based Jewish. To understand why they remain solidly Jewish, we have to understand the two foundations of being Jewish – Intellectual Judaism and Intellectual Rabbis.
From the very beginning, from the times of Mount Sinai and Moses, these two foundations were in play.
At the heart of Intellectual Judaism is the guidance of the Torah on building the human realm in accordance with the laws created by the Supreme Power above us the humans – by the Supreme Power with many images and names.
At the heart of Intellectual rabbis is the obligation to safeguard the religion of Judaism created by us the Jews to strengthen our unique mission of the Chosen assigned to us, as we believe by the same Supreme Power.
God created all humans in His image and likeness. He created in His image and likeness those who believe in His existence and those who do not. He created in His image both Rabbis and an Ordinary Jews. He provided the Torah as the spiritual guidance for everybody, and He made the Torah’s instructions understandable by everybody and tailorable to individual life circumstances.
The Torah/Bible provides a clear description of His image.
God is an All Mighty “individual” who created His world and us the humans in this world. He created us the humans as individuals “in His image and liking” – not as a collective human herd. God created the laws that are governing our human life and our human creative work. He created the laws for everybody – for those who believe in the image of All Mighty as the loving father that takes care of us and for those who believe in the image of All Mighty as Big Bang that created our universe.
To follow the image and likeness of God, a human-individual creates his or her individual realm and personal approach for managing it. It is done almost intuitively, on the “genetic” knowledge of the God’s laws that are governing our human lives.
The individual realm includes a family, a work place, a social circle, a political affiliation, a religious institution, and so on. A Jewish individual is managing his/her realm using a God-given intellect that is genetically transferred from generation to generation from the times of Mount Sinai. A Jewish teacher, or a rabbi in his capacity as a teacher, may help a Jewish individual to apply the God’s laws to an individual’s realm. That is Intellectual Judaism in action – it connects a Jewish individual to the God’s guidance on how to live “in the image and likeness of God”.
Intellectual Judaism assumes a Jewish individual is capable to make his/her own decisions on how to follow the Torah-based guidance with an advice if needed from a rabbi or other Jewish spiritual sources. In Intellectual Judaism, the rabbis are just the teachers – they are not dictatorial spiritual leaders.
The Jews who are leaving their rabbis and synagogues they are not leaving their Jewish faith. They are leaving their rabbis and synagogues because they do not see any spiritual connection of a Rabbinical-Judaism variety around them with the spiritual problems of their own individual realms. Most of them are not converting to a non-Jewish faith – they just stop listening to their authoritative rabbis. If Intellectual rabbis of Rabbinical Judaism want to reduce the number of the “leaving Jews”, they have to teach them how to apply the Torah guidance to different individual realms – not to indoctrinate the individuals in a Rabbinical-Judaism variety.
Intellectual rabbis of the traditional rabbinical Judaism have been the keepers of Judaism as a religion. They believe that a Jew is not born with a sort of genetic – transferred from generation to generation from the times of Mount Sinai – Torah guidance that should be just clarified in the course of formal Jewish education. They believe that the Torah guidance is too complicated for an ordinary Jewish individual and therefore the rabbis have to provide Jewish individuals with authoritative opinion on how to follow the Torah-based guidance. In the traditional rabbinical Judaism, intellectual rabbis are less teachers and more authoritarian spiritual leaders.
In the Jewish past, Intellectual rabbis were the most important foundation for being Jewish. That is so since the Jews were deprived from the knowledge of the great God’s world surrounding them – they were restrained by imposed on them numerous regulations. In addition, the Jews had no free time to learn on their own about the great God’s world surrounding them – most of them were spending all lifetime, after studying the Torah in the school, to provide bare necessities for the family.
Now in the Jewish present, the Jews have no restrains and a lot of free time to learn everything of their interest. The Jewish nation has moved, and continues moving, from a people who need authoritative leaders to a people comprised of individuals who are trying to discover on their own how to interpret the Torah guidance to make it workable and tailored to every individual realm.
The 2015 Pew survey revealed that out of 6.8 million US Jews only about one-quarter of them are with strong religious beliefs. That means that the majority of US Jews either do not consider a rabbi to be an authoritative guide on their spiritual life challenges or do not have a guiding rabbi at all.
Bringing closer Intellectual Judaism and Intellectual rabbis
We have to make Intellectual Judaism and Intellectual Rabbis working together. We have to return the Jews to synagogues and the synagogues to real Jewish realms with their work places, social circles, political affiliations, Christian religious institutions, etc.
There is no way to return the Jewish majority back to rabbis but for the rabbis to get involved in the individual Jewish spiritual realms to build together a better world for everybody – the Jews, the Christians and everybody else who accept the spiritual foundation of Judeo-Christian civilization. The rabbis have to begin building a better world for everybody not just by preaching, praying, holiday’s celebrations or doing bar/bat-mitzvahs. They have to become active and leading in promoting and defending the legislature based on The Torah/Bible guidance – and do all that in close collaboration with Christian religious leaders.