Tuesday, March 31, 2015

This is what a Jewish state can be for

Various folks have been kvetching recently about the growing incompatibility of nice American Jews and perhaps less-nice Israeli voters. Kvetching is a time-honored Jewish pastime, and you wouldn't want to deprive anyone of its pleasures.

Earlier today I participated, mostly as an observer, in a discussion about policy and the implementation of it in an (Israeli) government agency. Those present were disagreeing about technology, change, adaptation of the bureaucracy and the bureaucrats to new conditions, rate of change, hierarchies and decision making, consultation with stakeholders and participants... the works. Organizational consultants make a fine living from this sort of stuff.

Except that at one point the top bureaucrat present branched off into a discussion of Biblical exegesis. When Moses headed off into the desert, did he ask the Israelites if they liked the idea? One of the people disagreeing with him about the present day issue also disagreed about his interpretation of Exodus, but he shot down her interpretation, then someone else suggested a different reading.

After four or five minutes they all trooped back to the 21st century and the desirability  of using machine intelligence in the processing of large bodes of data.

There are many reasons why the Jews need a state, but this, to my mind, is one of the top ones. That Hebrew-speaking secular officials use their cultural heritage as it should be used: as part of everyday life.

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