Judaism Unbound Episode 60: The Future is Already Here

The writer William Gibson famously said, "The future is already here. It's just not evenly distributed yet." In this episode, Dan and Lex apply that quotation to the Jewish world. In doing so, they reflect in particular on their recent conversation with Juan Mejia on conversion to Judaism, new ways of understanding the role of ethnicity in Jewish life, and more.

(0:01 - 17:11): To begin the episode, Dan and Lex reflect on Juan Mejia's recent episode (Episode 57: Becoming Jewish On the Web). [1] In particular, they discuss Mejia's quotation that Jews "are crying over spilt milk on the beach, with their backs to a tsunami." How would Judaism change if there were an influx of converts? Would that "tsunami" challenge the way that we have historically related to the idea of Jewish ethnicity? [2] They also explore the factors that cause many Jews today to believe that nobody (or very few) people would be interested in converting to a religion that has faced so much historical trauma and oppression.

(17:16 - 29:48): The two co-hosts ask an important question: Could Jewish institutions look outside the population of those who are currently Jewish in order to increase the quantity of people connecting to the work that they do? They also whether new forms of connection may arise for individuals who aren't Jewish in terms of their identity (in the sense of "being Jewish"), but who do connect deeply to Judaism in one way or another. In other words, is official conversion the only way for non-Jews to connect in a deep way to the material of Judaism?

A Korean children's book on the Talmud. Image Credit: The New Yorker

A Korean children's book on the Talmud. Image Credit: The New Yorker

(29:49 - 43:57): William Gibson has been credited with the quote "The future is already here -- it's just not evenly distributed." [3] Dan has mentioned this quotation in the past, but in this episode, the two co-hosts explore it in a fuller fashion than they have before. Which elements of contemporary Jewish experience, not yet understood as central, may prove to be the seeds that flower into core elements of the Jewish future? In this conversation, they also reflect on recent episodes featuring Carmel Chiswick (Episode 58: Jewish Economics) and Hayim Herring (Episode 59: Jewish Futurology). [4] 

[1] Listen to the full episode, featuring Juan Mejia, by clicking here.

[2] For a fuller article on the phenomenon of Koreans exploring the Talmud, click here.

[3] For an article applying Gibson's quote to the digital world, click here.

[4] Listen in to these two episodes at the following links: Episode 58: Jewish Economics, Episode 59: Jewish Futurology