The fifth annual assessment of The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute - follows in the footsteps of its predecessors containing an overview of the preceding year in terms of geo-political, economic, social, and political developments internationally and in the Diaspora and in Israel. It addresses the growth of Iranian leverage in the Middle East, the divisions among Palestinians, the prospective American drawdown in Iraq, the uncertainties among Arab regimes - and larger questions related to growing Russian assertiveness, the increased global reach of China and India, and the perception of a relative decline in American power.
The report's basic policy recommendation in response to recent trends in education and culture is for Jewish leadership worldwide to devote resources toward educational research, evaluation, international exchange, and institutional innovation. Speciﬁc action steps could include:
- Continued analysis of trends in educational attainment and the capacity of their education systems;
- Re-evaluation of current funding levels for Jewish education and the potential value of increased funding for innovative programs to improve Jewish education in Israel and the Diaspora;
- Development of partnerships with mainstream colleges and universities aimed at correcting misimpressions and falsehoods about Judaism and Zionism;
- Design of incentive systems to curb the outﬂow of human capital from Israel;
- Encouragement (through economic and other incentives) of Jewish (and non-Jewish) scientists, engineers, and other scholars to spend signiﬁcant time in Israeli institutions of research and higher learning.
This year, the Institute decided to take special focus on the important issue of women and Judaism and, thus, the entire third section is devoted to that subject. The section opens with an in-depth look at Jewish women over the centuries, with special attention to the education of Jewish women. This is followed by analyses of women in Jewish life today, in Europe, Israel, the United States, and in Latin America. The section concludes with an analysis of new initiates of Jewish women, secular as well as Orthodox, in Israel and in the Diaspora, and what they portend both for Jewish women and for the Jewish people.