God Is in the Crowd: Twenty-First-Century Judaism

God Is in the Crowd: Twenty-First-Century Judaism

by Tal Keinan


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“Enthralling, searching, profound, an extraordinarily powerful work on Jewish identity in the twenty-first century.”—Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

A bold proposal for discovering relevance in Judaism and ensuring its survival, from a pioneering social activist, business leader, and fighter pilot in the Israeli Air Force

God Is in the Crowd is an original and provocative blueprint for Judaism in the twenty-first century. Presented through the lens of Tal Keinan’s unusual personal story, it a sobering analysis of the threat to Jewish continuity. As the Jewish people has become concentrated in just two hubs—America and Israel—it has lost the subtle code of governance that endowed Judaism with dynamism and relevance in the age of Diaspora. This code, as Keinan explains, is derived from Francis Galton’s “wisdom of crowds,” in which a group’s collective intelligence, memory, and even spirituality can be dramatically different from, and often stronger than, that of any individual member’s. He argues that without this code, this ancient people—and the civilization that it spawned—will soon be extinct. Finally, Keinan puts forward a bold and original plan to rewrite the Jewish code, proposing a new model for Judaism and for community in general.

Keinan was born to a secular Jewish family in Florida. His interest in Judaism was ignited by a Christian minister at his New England prep school and led him down the unlikely path to enlistment in the Israel Air Force. Using his own dramatic experiences as a backdrop, and applying lessons from his life as a business leader and social activist, Keinan takes the reader on a riveting adventure, weaving between past, present, and future, and fusing narrative with theory to demonstrate Judaism’s value to humanity and chart its path into the future.

Advance praise for God Is in the Crowd

“Beautifully written, brilliantly argued, this is a unique contribution to the conversation and a must read for anyone concerned with Jewish continuity.”—Yossi Klein Halevi, author of Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor

God Is in the Crowd blends social science, economics, religion, and national identity to help us see more clearly who we are as individuals, people, and a society.”—Dan Ariely, author of The Upside of Irrationality

“American, Israeli, entrepreneur, fighter pilot, and investor: Keinan’s diagnosis of Israel and the Jewish Diaspora is provided through the lens of a rich and gripping life story. Keinan’s contribution is indispensable to the debate about the future of the Jewish people.”—Dan Senor, co-author of Start-up Nation

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525511168
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/25/2018
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 1,222,904
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Tal Keinan is an American-born entrepreneur and social activist. He is a co-founder of Clarity Capital, a global asset-management firm, and chairman of Koret Israel Economic Development Funds, Israel’s largest nonprofit lender to small and micro businesses. He serves on the boards of directors of the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life and the HESEG Foundation, is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, and is chairman of the YPO Intercontinental Chapter. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School and is a graduate of Israel’s Air Force Academy.

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Table of Contents

Prologue ix

Part 1 Should There Be Jews?

1 False Peaks 3

The End of Diaspora 41

2 America: Dying in Our Sleep 45

Who Are We Again? 45

The Math 58

A Note On Sephardic Jewry 61

The Best Way To Die 62

3 The Jewish State 64

The Territorialist Vision 68

The Theocratic Vision 79

The Secularist Vision 90

The Better Deal For A Secularist 112

The Bastard Child 148

The Fourth Israel's Education 152

The Fourth Israel's Economy 155

4 Schism 160

The First Schism: America And Israel 160

The Second Schism: The Secularists 175

5 Boiling Point 185

Part 2 The Code

6 Stones And Spirits 205

One Map, Many Routes 214

Reconciliation 225

Divining The Code 236

7 Commander in Chief 241

Part 3 The Medicine

8 The Wisdom Machine 251

9 The Jewish World Endowment 255

Justice 258

Education 265

Challenge And Dissent 267

Tradition 268

Community 270

10 The Presidency 275

A Note On Conversion 282

11 Conclusion 288

Epilogue 298

Appendix: Jewish World Endowment Assumptions 305

Sources Of Income 305

Uses Of Income 306

Discussion Questions 315

Additional Resources 317

Acknowledgments 321

Index 323

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