Friday, July 13, 2007

Shrinking Cities Diaspora Paradox

The Buffalo Jewish community is shrinking, sparking a dialogue about merging the institutional infrastructure. The out-migration plagues almost all the usual suspects, exhibiting the now all-too-familiar geographic pattern:

Western New York is not alone in losing Jewish population — a trend that has hit cities such as Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Milwaukee and St. Louis just as hard. Meanwhile, growth states such as Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada are experiencing a corresponding boom in Jewish population.

The above article also discusses another aspect of the decline in numbers, secularization and intermarriage. Given this trend, would the Buffalo Jewish Diaspora desire a relationship with their hometown and/or Israel, once relocated?

Shrinking city Jews can connect in their new place of residence via established community organizations, displacing the need to network with other people who migrated from the same location. I could say the same thing about other religious groups, which raises a few questions about the value of place-based identity.

Is the Burgh Diaspora Network redundant and therefore unnecessary? Can a member of the Diaspora juggle two or more homelands? Where does Pittsburgh sit in your hierarchy of allegiances?

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