I’ve been slacking on blogging (again) because I’m working on the major project(s) of the year. I am also beginning to get frustrated. There is an obsession around here about asking “Why?” questions, whether or not one has the “What?” question answered. Of course, these “what” questions need social data you can’t really get good social data on Jewish society because there isn’t any – or at least nothing that’s accessible. (Don’t get me started on the Jewish Data Bank).
The following dialogue between me and an adviser will explain:
- Him: You should be asking, “Why is X the case”
Me: But I don’t know that X is actually the case
Him: Find out
Me: That would require data which either doesn’t exist or is restricted
We did this a few times with the adviser substituting different things for X. Most real data involving the Jewish community, like conversions and what not, is in the hands of rabbinical bodies who are bound by religious or ethical confidentiality. One professor suggested I research why Rabbis wouldn’t release the information, basically studying the lack of data, the argument of silence.
So, I have a tight deadline to invent a “Why?” problem regardless if I have supporting facts as to the reality or if I would even be able to get the data I would need.
At least I have my answer to, “Why are there so few good sociologists of Judaism?”
Update: I’ve decided to go back to what I was interested in when I first came here. Much more much later.