Are We Engaged? Mazal Tov
by Mordecai Holtz
Yesterday’s article about What Jewish Organizations are doing to Cultivate the 20-and-30-Somethings raises awareness about a variety of the interesting steps and initiatives that the classic Jewish Communal field is taking to engage this uniquely independent and self-sufficient generation. The article reviews what steps are being taken by many organizations. From creating committees, conducting research, and filling the chairs in the boardrooms with professionals all in the name of trying to crack the next gen nut. The underlying question remains do these 20-and-30-somethings want to even be engaged or are the classic Jewish agencies attempting to evoke a feeling that may not be realistic?
In one word, YES! We do want to engage ourselves Jewishly and, YES we do want to get involved and participate in the Jewish scene. As Ms. Pickus accurately uncovered, our generation has turned the table on the classic program development model. In the past, agencies would lead by generating ideas. Today, we want to be in the driver seat, and serve as the catalysts for change. We want to initiate and lead. We are filled with creativity and are keenly aware on how to utilize the technological tools to mobilize our peers to action.
Ms. Pickus also discovered that we enjoy textual study. Although we are flooded with messages from a multitude of channels, we are still a part of the People of the Book! We want to explain, extrapolate and discuss how the Jewish texts remain relevant to us. We want to access these classic resources by using our understanding and experiences to do so. No, we are not scared of rabbis and beards, why? Because it’s our tradition just as much as it is theirs. We appreciate their ability to generate and formulate the guidelines within which we can operate but we want to ensure that they understand the needs of our generation. We respect our leaders.
Our generation has been coined problematic or in some way different than previous ones, in truth, we are very similar. We want to set our place in the pages of Jewish history and want to leave our mark. So why not take a risk and let us? We are filled with creativity and have our fingers on the pulse.
We are the future, let us shape it. We won’t let you down.
Mordecai Holtz is is the Director of Operations at MEOR a campus based leadership initiative on 21 campuses across the United States. Email mordecai.holtz [at] gmail dot com; follow his blog organizingourchaos; Facebook: Mordecai holtz Twitter: @mordecaiholtz