Contrary to common belief, the Hebrew word "Emunah", in its religious sense, cannot be translated into the English words "Faith" or "Belief". There is probably no word in any other language that can convey the true meaning of "Emunah".
One of the barriers facing non religious Jews in returning to their roots is what they call lack of faith, or the inability to accept a higher authority on faith alone. The true problem is not lack of faith but the lack of understanding of the true meaning of "Emunah". Surprisingly, the Jewish religion does not require Jews to accept Godliness on faith, (using the English or Christian meaning of "faith"). What the Jewish religion does require of Jews is to accept Godliness on Emunah.
Since there is no word in English to which Emunah can be translated, it will require a longer definition.
Emunah: The personal revelation of truth and the higher state of awareness that can be attained only through performing certain beneficial God-given physical acts, and abstaining from certain harmful divinely prohibited acts. It cannot be attained through any course of study, logical reasoning, or meditation. Once Emunah is attained it can be reinforced and taken to higher levels through study, logical reasoning, and meditation, but it cannot be initiated on those alone.
When all the Jews were standing together in front of Mount Sinai they proclaimed in unison: "Na'aseh Venishma" - we will do and [then] we will understand. This was the most important characteristic of Jewish identity - the willingness to follow the will of God and the understanding that no understanding of Godliness is possible without this willingness. On the other hand, the single most harmful obstacle to attaining this heightened state of Emunah and the predominant reason for losing it is the surrender to bodily desires and temptations that run contrary to the will of God.
Now that we understand the meaning of "Emunah" we can return to the beginning of this article, read from the beginning again, and gain a better understanding of why lack of blind faith is not and was never the true barrier facing non-observant Jews.
Most non-observant Jews who feel the need for spirituality in their life, yet are obstructed by their perceived "lack of faith" blame their lack of proper religious education as the culprit. Again, the same mistake is being made here due to the lack of understanding of the term "Emunah". The culprit is not the lack of study or education or logical proofs, but the lack of physical performance of those acts that God has commanded us to perform and the lack of abstention from (a double negative meaning indulgence in…) those acts that God has commanded us to abstain from.
Jewish children who are treated with love and respect (in compliance with the will of God) and are trained in physical observance of the laws given to us by God, before they even understand the concept of God and before they learn logical reasoning, have no problems in attaining this heightened mental and spiritual level of "Emunah". It is the lack of this kind of upbringing that needs to be compensated for by those who did not merit to grow up with it.
This is why the Lubavitcher Rebbe has stressed the importance of starting with physical observance of certain God-given laws as the entry way into the Jewish way of life, and instructed his emissaries to avoid logical debates and scientific argumentation. The statistical fact is that the Lubavitcher emissaries who follow the advice of the Rebbe attain a higher rate of success then any other group or methodology in bringing those who went astray back into Judaism.
It's Emunah, and Emunah alone, that is the gateway into the palace of the King.