Local and national Jewish organizations have mobilized to help tsunami victims and invite the community to participate, as well.
Approximately 550,000 Jewish Americans served in the armed forces during World War II, about 4.23 percent of the total number of troops. Both Roosevelt and General Douglas MacArthur praised their bravery specifically. During the war, 52,000 Jewish soldiers received an award or decoration of some kind and 11,000 were killed.
Now, close to 60 years after World War II, veterans of the conflict have aged and their numbers are dwindling, but despite current ambivalence toward American war-like nature, America's participation in World War II and relative success in making the world "safe for democracy" is never questioned.
Jews for Jesus, Jews attending churches, low synagogue membership, astronomical rates of intermarriage -- as complex as these issues are, there is at least one remarkably simple and inexpensive solution to encouraging Jewish participation. It's called a warm greeting.
A friendly smile, a warm greeting, an invitation to lunch. If you think that is silly and simplistic, think again. As part of their course work, I require my students to interview two Jews. Because many of them -- all non-Jews, primarily from the South Bay -- lead very narrow lives, they do not know how to find Jews and turn to familiar institutions, one of which is church. Lo and behold -- as the most recent National Jewish Population Survey has finally shown -- they find Jews there.