The concept Flexigidity refers to the balancing of ‘flexibility’ and ‘rigidity’ found in every adaptive organization or company. The idea of Jewish Flexigidity aims to capture the secret of the remarkable survival, security, prosperity and leadership of the Jewish People. It highlights the ideas, institutions and practices that Judaism has created in order to transcend two millennia of exile. These ideas are as relevant to the Jewish present and future, as they have been essential in its past.
The effort to explore, frame and articulate the mechanisms of Jewish Flexigidity assumes that a deep look into the past may reveal invaluable insights for the future. It thus assumes that Jewish society is aligned to produce its vast idiosyncrasies – such as a nation-state in Israel and a vibrant Diaspora that spans the world, a spectrum of religious conducts that ranges from ultra-progressive to ultra-conservative, and both written and oral law – for a reason.
Furthermore, the framework of Flexigidity exposes the Jewish paradox of our time between power and vulnerability. It is safe to state that Jews have never been more powerful. Judaism, however, may have rarely been as vulnerable since the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 CE. The Jewish adaptive architecture is now being rapidly replaced by Israeli statehood and by the Jewish community in North America. Eighty percent of world Jewry is now concentrated in these two political, economic and cultural ‘baskets,’ which are aggressively transforming its societal DNA.
The epicenter of this challenge to Judaism’s Flexigidity is located in the State of Israel. Israel is developing beyond the wildest dreams of many. Today, more than forty percent of world Jews live in Israel, fifty percent of Jewish babies are born as Israelis and Israel’s ambitions are set high – to become one of the fifteen leading nations in terms of quality of life. On the face of things, these facts tell a story of success.
A more penetrating look may show that a deeper challenge is looming. Israel has developed institutions, symbols and narratives that challenge some of the core elements of Jewish Flexigidity. It may, therefore, compromise the long-term survival of the Jewish people and the foundations of its own national security. This process is mostly overlooked due to the combination of Israeli arrogance toward and ignorance of Diaspora life, which stem from Zionism’s historical negation of the Diaspora. It may reach a tipping point over the coming decade.
This challenge underlies the purpose of the Flexigidity Project: to help shape the future of world Jewry and the State of Israel using a framework that explains their past and present.