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God Is in the Crowd

Twenty-First-Century Judaism
Narrated by: Tal Keinan
Length: 8 hrs and 6 mins
5.0 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

"Enthralling, searching, profound, an extraordinarily powerful work on Jewish identity in the 21st 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 21st 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 listener 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.

©2018 Tal Keinan (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Beautifully written, brilliantly argued, this is a unique contribution to the conversation and a must read for anyone concerned with Tribal 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

“A meaningful attempt to answer a significant question: How can Judaism survive? ... [Tal Keinan] provides an impassioned yet well-reasoned and definitively well-written reflection on an imperiled people. A thoughtful and relevant assessment of the current state of Judaism.” (Kirkus Reviews

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Great Insights and Options

When nearly finish I wrote Part A: Right now feel rather despondent with respect to the future of Israel, of Judaism and of the world. Tal has great insights into the state of Jewry in the Diaspora as well as Israel and the state of Israel's continued ability to prevent its own demise. He very powerfully sums up the serious complexity and granularity of the people and the State and the increasing and very sobering signs of their demise. This book makes it ever more clear that both Israel and the world need to hold their breath for Mashiach. There is no other long term solution it would seem. Tal explains that their are really 4 significant and very distinct groups of people in Israel and with the Diaspora which is very much concentrated in the USA, and also increasingly distinct and separate, a total of 5 groups that will ultimately determine the long term fate of Judaism, the Jewish people and Israel. In summary, these groups are the 1) The theocrats (the Ultra-Orthodox in Israel who have significant political power but do next to nothing to defend Eretz Israel which is surrounded by enemies intent on her demise). Through their rabbinic rulings they are also increasingly rejecting, separating and isolating the other groups 2) The Territorialists, those Jews who have populated Judea and Samaria, and the other Territories that are 'disputed' and that require a very significant budget to defend. This group at least is very supportive of Israel (as most are the Zionists and therefore have a strong sense of loyalty to the State of Israel and are willing to defend it). So while they are over-represented in the Israeli Defence Forces, as a group they are a net drain on the economy of the State. 3) The Secularists (who mainly live in Tel Aviv) are the true backbone of the economic and defensive support of Israel, though their loyalty is being increasingly challenged as the Theocrats continue to disenfranchise them. 4) The Fourth Israel are those Israelis; Jews, Arabs and others who are struggling for economic survival and who are not therefore able to significantly support the State of Israel and who may not even share the visions of any of the other three groups. 5) The Diaspora Jews (mostly American Jews) are increasingly off-side with all of these groups in Israel, even the Securalists and are in rapid decline as well because of factors such as inter-marriage so that their financial, logistic and even physical support of Israel continues to decline. Tal is able to paint a clear picture of the diverse nature of the Jewish people today and of the complex and deteriorating nature of Judaism as well. It is a bleak and scary picture - for a country and people chosen to be a light to the nations, the future extinction of the State of Israel would clearly appear to be antithetical to HaShem's plans for humanity. Yet it could also demonstrate unequivocally that we need Mashiach to step into this bleak portent and finally bring into full bloom the Great Day of Redemption. Part B having finished the book: Tal Keinan has some great ideas and proposals to 'save' Judaism and the Jewish people from a potential extinction over the next 2-3 generations. I get where he is coming from as a non-religious person who does not believe in Yehovah and yet who sees much value in his tribe that were chosen by Yehovah to be a light to the rest of the world. Keinan sees the 'Light' but not the Giver of the 'Light'. His passion and sincerity are to be admired and his proposals are definitely worthy of serious reflection and some attempt at implementing, but I fear Keinan will remain unsatisfied by how little his tribe overall appears to hear his call or has any great desire to heed it. But Yehovah is not and never will be beaten, His plan will bear fruit; His People will live on; His Israel will remain and His Maschiach will bring redemption to Israel, the Jewish People and the entire world. Baruch HaShem!

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  • Lee Klingman
  • 21-02-2019

Flowing Consciousness

It flowed sensibly , I was highly impressed by the author's motivation to wordsmith feelings.

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  • Craig R Weiss
  • 01-10-2018

Visionary Prescription for World Jewry

Set against the backdrop of the riveting personal story of the only American born to ever become an Israeli F-16 Fighter Pilot, Tal Keinan leverages his unique vantage point to both identify what plagues the Jewish people and, even more importantly, what to do about it.

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  • Scott
  • 27-11-2019

Sobering, bold and provocative!

No matter where you fall in the JEWISH spectrum, this book is a must read.

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  • Rita Salemme
  • 27-10-2018

God is in the Criwd

Excellent, informative and truthful. Tal's suggested solution sounds excellent. Myself having Sephardic heritage and having converted to reformed Judaism, have heard the tears and rejections from the UltraOrthodox from others. It is as he describes.

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  • Michael Freedman
  • 05-11-2018

A well-articulated and important message

Tal has identified some core issues at the heart of Jewish identity both in Israel and the Diaspora, as well as the struggle of each to recognise the other as vital to the continued existence and success of the whole. There are even some practical solutions that, whilst necessarily quite complex, may be viable and at least are imaginative and at the scale required to effect change. Worth a read for anyone who is concerned about the long-term trajectory of the Jewish People and their place in the world.