How The Next Generation Relates

Haaretz reports on the latest Jewish Funders Network conference and the delivery of two new papers on identity and affiliation.

There are two faces to the younger generation, which was among the focuses of the conference: the young generation of “givers,” which is gradually taking the reins from their aging parents, and the young generation of “receivers” – young Jews throughout America (and the rest of the world), whom the givers and the professionals are now seeking to attract. It is a generation that does not go to synagogue, marries late and not always with Jews, is less bonded to Israel, is connected to the American culture and feels safe and comfortable in it. This is the Jewish-American generation, as researcher Anna Greenberg termed it, whose Judaism is important, but not necessarily most important, to it.
[…] On this point, one should go and check Greenberg’s data. When she asked young people what it means to them to be Jewish, she got the following responses, in this order: remembering the Shoah (a great deal – 73 percent, a fair amount – 89 percent); making the world a better place (82 percent, 64 percent); living a moral lifestyle (80 percent, 63 percent); understanding Jewish history (58 percent, 84 percent); learning about Jewish culture (83 percent, 57 percent); and so on. These findings are being studied by donors, in order to decide where and how much to invest. The upshot? A move to donate more to cultural activities and projects that are related to tikkun olam – repairing the world.
Ari Kelman, who also presented the initial results of research he conducted with Columbia University’s Prof. Steven Cohen, on the activities of young Jews in New York, enumerated a few requisite parameters: Young people prefer their activities to be fun, cultural and social (not religious). They also think one shouldn’t go overboard on the seriousness. America is now seeing a proliferation of literary salons on Jewish matters, dance parties, clubs and even a new subversive magazine called “Guilt and Pleasure” – everything outside the bounds of the “old” Jewish establishment that was supported by the big federations, synagogues and community centers.

I mean, apart from that utter nonsense about Guilt and Pleasure being subversive and coming from outside the establishment, and the various other examples of bad journalism or utter ignorance and unfamiliarity with these subjects spotted throughout the piece, it’s an article well-worth reading, so please do, continue reading. See also: Reboot’s The Latte Report.

One thought on “How The Next Generation Relates

  1. you’d think they would do something that didnt reak of the ethnography of the 18th century, weird. any oral histories available on the internet? like a biography of a jewish boy from down your block, who likes tacos and ben katchor? who is gonna figure us the youth out?

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