This week's Torah portion shows Jacob as a man of action. Preparing for possible hostilities from his brother Esau, Jacob took all practical measures possible. He prepared in three separate ways — by praying to G‑d for deliverance, by appeasing his brother with gifts, and by planning for war if it should become necessary.1 His byword was action. Jacob took every practical measure possible to safeguard the lives of his children and the continuity of the Jewish nation. He did not make any surveys of the situation, nor waste time on statistical analysis.

Today Jewish continuity is again threatened. Where we once faced Esau, with murderous intentions and four hundred willing helpers, we now face a crisis of assimilation. If only our communal leadership would sit up and take notice of Jacob's example.

In every Jewish community thousands of dollars are spent annually on surveys, censuses and statistical studies. This amounts to millions of dollars spent yearly all over the country. But have any of our young people become more Jewish as a result of these surveys? Have any meaningful decisions and practical programs resulted from these analyses?

There is a famous Chassidic saying by Rabbi Shalom DovBer of Lubavitch (1860-1920), "A single act is better than a thousand groans."

Jewish education can reverse the trend of assimilation. What we need today are leaders who will take action. We must have the kind of communal leadership that will provide guidance and funding to Torah institutions. We need community activists willing to be inspired by the example of Jacob our forefather, to put action first and all other considerations second.

The critical need of the Jewish nation today is education, not surveys!