The Challenge of Connecting With Younger Jews

from The Fundermentalist:

What do the chairs of Hillel and the Jewish Federations of North America have in common?

… According to Kathy Manning, who took over as the JFNA’s chairperson back in the fall, the federations are looking at four components of the challenge of connecting with younger Jews:

  • Jews now are on the move. While it might have been a given in the past that Jews would either stay where they were or move to one of the major U.S. cities that have major Jewish populations like New York, now it seems more and more of them are moving west and south, to communities that do not have great Jewish infrastructure.
  • Young people these days also have far more choices than they ever did, and they are “less frightened” about their survival than their grandparents might have been. While Jews in the past might have found a common bond because their Judaism in an anti-Semitic world put them in the same boat and made them need each other, now the broader American society generally embraces Jews and made cultural Jewish staples their own. “The mainstream is embracing and marrying our children,” she said.
  • Young people feel more individualistic and entitled than they ever have in the past, she said. They are no longer willing to join organizations and wait to take their place at the table. Instead they will find another table that suits their needs.
  • Young people don’t feel an innate connection with Israel anymore.