When Do We Force Our Teens To Partake In Jewish Life?

by Emeri S. Handler As a parent, I value giving my teenage daughters autonomy over their down time. I believe that they need space to relax, reflect, and develop interests outside of school that will help them grow as individuals. My children attend a Jewish day school; one that is rich with profound Jewish experiences that enhance their lives and help them solidify their Jewish identities. So what is the balance between giving them individual control over their non-academic time commitments versus setting requirements, particularly around Jewish activities? As a member of the Board of Moving Traditions, I know the impact that our programs - Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! and Shevet Achim: The Brotherhood - have on helping teens explore the central questions of their lives, such as “What … [Read more...]

What Passover Means to Young Adults

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by Joelle Asaro Berman and Marci Soifer Passover is a unique moment. As we learn every year from the hundreds of Birthright Israel alumni who host Seders for their friends through NEXT’s Passover initiative, the holiday provides young adults with a whole new space in which to explore identity, experiment with tradition, and build community. … [Read more...]

We Believe in Synagogues

by Andi Rosenthal and Cantor Adina Frydman Dear Friends, It is astonishing to consider how deep our connections are to our five thousand year old ancestors in the Exodus story. With the approach of Passover, we imagine them, somehow connecting to the tectonic shifts of peoplehood, tension and anxiety characterized by the Pesach narrative. We cannot help but feel their sense of displacement, liberation, and awe at the miracles that awaited them. … [Read more...]

Innovation and Institutional Change: What it Took; What we Gained

My goal is to experiment with “disruptive innovation” right smack in the middle of an establishment synagogue. Rabbi Gil Steinlauf [The following article is offered as a partnership between eJP and Clal’s CLI program. The Clergy Leadership Incubator (CLI) is a two-year program to support and encourage early career congregational rabbis in the areas of innovative thinking, change management and institutional transformation. CLI is the newest program in the Rabbis Without Borders (RWB) family of programs under the auspices of Clal and is directed by Rabbi Sid Schwarz. Each month CLI offers a column called “Innovation and Institutional Change: What it Took; What we Gained.” by Rabbi Gil Steinlauf When I first got to my synagogue six years ago, it was on its way to becoming an … [Read more...]

Rethinking the Jewish Condition: Five Scenarios that are Impacting the Course of Jewish History

by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. A new paradigm is emerging related to the status and image of Jews in the world. These five categorizations are by necessity redefining the “condition” and position of the Jewish people. The ideas introduced below are extracted from material that is a part of my forthcoming book, "The Quest for Power: An Introduction to Jewish Political Thought and Practice." Israel as the last Western Nation-State: At a time of growing global and regional engagement, Israel would represent the final embodiment of nationalism. Israel’s creation following the Second World War would occur at the same moment when the nations of the Western world, primarily the European states, would begin to disassemble their own individual identities in favor of creating regional political … [Read more...]

Does Israel Education Matter at Camp?

by Susan Rifkin Ask today’s Jewish youth “What is Israel?” and you would probably get a response that includes Hebrew, hummus, culture and conflict. Israel Night at the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s recent Leaders Assembly included many of these elements, with a record number of attendees feasting on Israeli delicacies, singing and dancing to Israeli music. … [Read more...]