Are you thriving or merely surviving?
In my latest book, BeyondSurvival, I make an outlandish proposal. That in spite of all the signs to the contrary—growing world-wide anti-Semitism, assimilation, shrinking demographics, synagogue and Day School closings, loss of support for Israel, high rates of intermarriage—that today, Judaism has a unique opportunity to thrive. Yes, thrive! In fact, to counterbalance the survival agenda, which garners the interest, resources, and passions of fewer and fewer people each year, I suggest a THRIVAL AGENDA, demonstrating the possibilities that exist right now, if only we will take advantage of them. I will not tell you what they are here. It would take too much space and time and besides, I want you to buy the book, LOL. What I will do though, beginning with this blog, is to send out one question each week which challenges you to think and talk about with others, whether or not you are, in fact thriving or merely surviving. When this is complete, I will turn my attention to the organizations to which you are committed—are they thriving or struggling to get by? And though my book is focused on the community and faith I know best, it really and truly has universal application. At the end of the day, the truth is we have a lot more in common than the things which divide or separate us. Besides, we are in this thing called life together, so unless we all thrive, each of us is diminished in both obvious and subtle ways.

Why am I doing this? No, not just to sell more books! I have a personal commitment to a world that thrives which, of course, begins with each of us. This can seem crazy at a time when the daily news reports seem so negative and dystopian. In the creation story of the Hebrew Bible, the world and everything in it is created by words. God speaks and it exists. This is not an alternative to scientific evolution; rather, it is a lesson for us in the power of words. We, too, create worlds with our words—relationships, inventions, ideas, may originally exist inside our heads, but they all come into being through the words we say. We literally speak them into existence. Thus, there is true power in words and the conversations we have with others actually move the world. What I am suggesting is that you create THRIVAL conversations with others. THRIVAL groups. Use my questions. Make up others. Are you thriving or merely surviving? And even more importantly, what will it take for you to truly thrive?

A conversation is just a beginning, just like the New Year we have entered on the worldwide Jewish calendar. It has to be followed by real effort and action to be fully realized. So let the conversations begin! And please, let me know how it’s impacting your life, and the lives of all the ones you love.

Contact me through my website ( or through Face Book, Linked In, or Instagram. I personally respond to each and every message or question. And tune in next week for your first THRIVAL group question.