Identity, Mishegas, Politics

Big Post of Jewish Conspiracies

This is not a post about Facebook’s latest redesign.
However, thanks to the redesign, last Thursday I noticed my “highlights” column announced that four of my friends had joined a group called “Young Jewish Leaders.”
I thought to myself, “Hey, I’m a young Jewish leader! Why wasn’t I invited? Maybe word finally got out that I am now 31.”
I clicked on the group and saw that my four friends who had joined weren’t people I generally think about in the category of “young Jewish leaders.” (For example, one such friend was Alan Ronkin, Deputy Director of JCRC of Greater Boston. He turns 42 today. Happy birthday, Alan! I’m not calling you an Alter Kocker, but it’s stretching most organizations’ definitions of “youth” to include people on the other side of 40.)
At the time, the only information on the group page was the following description:

We’ve just started this group! Please join and enjoy the virtual camaraderie of other folks like you!

Next, I noticed the group administrators were four (self-labeled) researchers, including friend-of-Jewschool Steven M. Cohen. So the gears naturally started turning in my head. I sent an e-mail out to the Jewschool Teen Brigade, essentially saying “I have a hard time believing four researchers would start such a group without an ulterior motive of trying to research us.”
True to form, one of our trusty Jewschoolers contacted the researchers, and we got some clarification. Apparently, this is part of a research project funded by AviChai and headed up by Jack Wertheimer. To quote the researcher, they “are studying young Jewish leaders who are influential among their peers. The facebook group is a way for us to get in touch with large numbers of leaders.”
They’ve since updated the group page to give a little more information:

A place for young Jewish leaders (self-defined in terms of “young” “Jewish” and “leader”) to share ideas, announce events, and generally be in touch with one another.
This group was created as part of a research project by the Avichai Foundation, but we (the researchers) are not monitoring the group like it’s some kind of petri dish.
Rather, it seemed like the easiest way of getting in touch with young Jewish leaders — both inside and outside the organized Jewish world — and that it could also serve as a common meeting ground for said leaders.

Even with the added information, that’s still a big cup of vague for my taste. Given that facebook (and the internet in general) is already littered with groups in which Jews (young and old, leaders, followers, and others) can meet and share ideas, I’m not sure what this adds to the mix. And since the research agenda is still obscure, I’ll opt out, thank you very much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.