How is Judaism going to change? What is going to happen to the Jewish community? How will it adapt?
I listened to a presentation by the Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson. He was talking about what happens when the typical constraints are moved to zero. When the economics of doing business tend to zero. He gave examples of when a few people controlled the bandwidth and we had broadcast TV. The whole country watched the same 5 TV channels. Everyone saw what everyone else did. When the bandwidth became cheap the entertainment got significantly more focused. Content is aimed at very small groups of people with similar interests. It is almost a one to one relationship. The constraints of the delivery mechanism went away and the system changed.
For hundreds of years the constraints of the autonomous Jewish community inside of the European state defined Judaism. It defined a very tight connection of community, norms and relationships with the rabbi. After the French Revolution and the destruction of the autonomous communities there was a battle for the Jewish people. In the US they manifest themselves in Reform, Conservative and Orthodox. Each movement aligned around a communal mechanism where community, norms and the relationship with the rabbi were not necessary for survival. The shift was made to the common center — the synagogue. Each group attracted members by their movement’s beliefs and the synagogues practices. The shift was tremendous and is still being battled today.
For about 30 years now there has been another shift in America. Jews no longer live in communities of Jews with tight families and walking distances to their synagogues. Synagogues are not the center of people’s lives and the idea of aligning with a movement maybe going to the wayside. America has people living everywhere and anywhere. People work and live many miles apart. Standard communication and interaction requiring a place has been replaced with simple communication channels and being where ever you want. Things in the world are catered to an individuals likings and beliefs.
What is Judaism going to do in this new world? How will it adapt? Should it hold on to the movement/synagogue ways? Should it focus on delivering to the individual something more tailored?
What are the future scenarios? What happens as the restrictions of the past are removed?