Networking With Teens: the Key to the Jewish Future


Students pitch Jewish innovation at Milken school

Will the future of Judaism come out of a revival of interest in ancient texts and traditions? Or will it be the result of a set of killer Jewish apps yet to be invented?

The organizers of the first High School Jewish Futures Conference at the Milken Community High School suggested that the future would most likely involve a little bit of both.

“The conception of renewal is a conviction that says that the basic structure is already there,” Milken Rabbinic Director Gordon Bernat-Kunin told the 80 people at the conference on April 6.

Most of those in attendance were Milken High School seniors; some of them were in Bernat-Kunin’s high-honors section of “Introduction to Jewish Thought.” That class used the idea of Jewish renewal as its point of origin, and the first hour of the evening was taken up by presentations from five of Bernat-Kunin’s students, who spoke about diverse topics from the Jewish past, from visual art that was centuries old to Jewish cultural phenomena of a much more recent vintage, like the Zionist movement.

The second hour belonged to the other section of the “Introduction” class, the honors section taught by Rabbi Yechiel Hoffman, which focused on Jewish innovation. (In an unusual innovative move, many Milken students – to the dismay of some faculty members – refer to this and all other Jewish studies courses simply as “Jew Law.”)