JTA on Youth & Jewish Identity

Jewlicious got major play from the JTA for Jewlicious @ The Beach 2. A fawning article about the event was accompanied by several other pieces focusing on youth and Jewish identity including one on Matzat advisors Steven M. Cohen & Ari Kelman’s soon-to-come research paper (and also includes the Brandeis Judaism-on-campus study we reported recently), another on the challenge of reaching European Jewish youth, yet another on Jewdas’ Punk Purim (which, apparently CK, who wasn’t even at the party, took a strong disliking to), and finally one about a struggling Jewish youth magazine in Argentina.
In related news, Cox News Service released their own story about “hipster” Judaism, both a day late and a dollar short.
I look forward to your comments…

28 thoughts on “JTA on Youth & Jewish Identity

  1. Yeah, Jewlicious at the Beach v2.0 was awesome. Two carloads of us drove down to the LBC from Santa Cruz just to attend, and it was well worth it.
    If any of you were intrigued by Sasha Perry’s perspective in the JTA article, she wrote an extensive piece on her journey as a “Conservadox Chasid” Jewess trying to find her derech in Judaism, available here.
    And yasher koach to the Booksteins, as always.

  2. Dan – people who were at the Jewdas party told me about it – and I quoted them. What i took umbrage with was the invite which celebrated having Pork dinner parties on Yom Kippur. It’s one thing to want to redefine Jewish tradition and all, it’s quite another to simply reject it out of hand. Sorry that seemed stupid. The party itself seemed ok albeit a dated copy of Heeb’s first party. Like I said, had I been there I would have gone. I’m all for Jews bumpin booties with other Jews. But don’t try to make it out like the begining of some grand and lofty revolution. As one party goer told me, nothing revolutionary went on.
    As for the JTA’s fawning article, well, the conference was pretty friggin cool. I was really rendered speechless – it was pretty stunning to see 2 80 foot tables laid out for a shabbat dinner for 275 people. It was a good time – I am sure you would have enjoyed it Dan. Maybe next time we’ll bring you along. The thing about the article though is that the conference was in mid February. Why did it take over a month and a half to be printed?

  3. ck,
    No, it was officially over here, but apparently the JTA has exhumed its corpse — and now the zombie lives! It lives among us all!!

  4. I had the chance to take a look at a little of the Cohen/Kelman study and from what I read was rather affirmed in my convictions that the aesthetically-rebellious “hipster” projects were reaching primarily an affiliated audience…and I’m wondering–now that they have this research basically saying that “hipster” projects aren’t the silver bullet they were purported to be, will funding persist?
    And, since I was only able to glance at the study and not go through its methadology–when’s the thing going to come out to the open where we can hack at it?
    (And, does a study comissioned by a major Jewish organizational sponsor of such projects, carried out by two people with an investment in the structure, have the independence it needs to come to bold conclusions?)

  5. Ariel Beery wrote: …now that they have this research basically saying that “hipster” projects aren’t the silver bullet they were purported to be, will funding persist?
    Funding? There was funding? Motherfuckers! And we did all this Jewlicious shit for free? And now that I find out there was funding, it’s too late because we’re not really reaching anyone? Aw fuck me man. Guess it’s time to start a travel blog. or a porn blog. I wonder if they’re hiring at Gawker. Damn. Thanks for ruining the fucking party EV. We’ll see if I ever get you drunk again.

  6. Tis true, you are rather fetching… after like 8 beers. See ya in israel this summer EV. Bring your boss out with us and we’ll introduce you to this drink called Arak – you’ll love it.

  7. Who said it was ever supposed to be a silver bullet? Mobius says it better.
    Also, what do you mean by “an affiliated audience”? Almost nobody our age actually belongs to a (non-Orthodox) synagogue. To the extent that we’re “affiliated” with anything, it’s with the communities that we’ve built by the sweat of our brow.

  8. Great, apparently being lurked by a unidentified reporter has got me answering for all of Jewish youth. I’m a big fan of having stuff I say taken out of context and being labeled cause I have ear plugs (although I have yet to figure out what the hell an ear plug is). I’m also wondering how she ripped that photo from Jewlicious to begin with. CK if you’re to blame I’m punching you when I get to Israel.
    Either way, stoked Jewlicious made it into the news just cause it was worthy of at least that.

  9. Sasha: I gave her the photo. It was cute! And you can’t punch me because I’ll be your madrich. And I’m bigger than you are. But we can arm wrestle or something. See ya in the holy land Sash… we’ll have a blast, promise.

  10. Come on Dan – you didn’t declare its death in December 2003! If I recall correctly, you were a little teeny bit miffed that you weren’t included in the Time Out NY article. But yeah, all alternative movements effectively die once the mainstream sits up and takes notice. The good news is that now it’s more likely you’ll get funding. The bad news is that you’ll in all likelihood be subsumed.
    Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. May as well hop on the gravy train now.

  11. I guess so. Gotta work on that timeliness thing, always seem to be behind. I was unaware being Jewish was the cool thing up until a few months ago.. And all this time I thought I was the weird dude.

  12. PS… I’m still thinking of punching you CK, just for fair warning.
    see ya in Israel!! (stoked I can actually say that)

  13. BH
    sasha, being jewish has been cool since father abraham, brother, cooler since big mo and even cooler since baal shem, jedi master jew extraordinaire. no need for labeling hipster nothing (and i teach language arts). blast all that jazzing june and dying soon. jewing ourselves before Big G has been around longer than hipster chic and will continue to be so when you look back at these days with your BH beautiful jewish children and laugh at what you were thinking… or maybe not.
    i live in culture-less broward freakin county where my family walk shabbos like royalty, and we got nothing in the bank. we go to a storefront chabad with a u.n. like population: israeli, american, cuban, iranian, yemenite, columbian, chilean, venezuelan, mexican, south african, and morocan. my kids are a regular brocha brigade who ask life-attack questions about Hashem when they look at flowers, clouds, lizards, or Christians. we sacrifice as much as we can to send them to a jewish school. sharing that eternal cool means more than continuity. that’s the lowest reason, anyway. here’s one: who better to share with than our own kids? being jewish is cool wether you read about it or not. it is because Gd says so. (sigh)
    jewschool is cool, jewlicious okay, all that other stuff, sure. enhancement, enlightenment, community, however tenuous through the net, or strengthened by relating, meeting, comming to terms… and so on. you all are more involved than i can know. you all know how this works more than i can assume.
    i’m new to commenting, but seems to me it sounds immature at best to mourn or even applaud. traffic? okay. have some eyeballs. you want to revolutionize judaism? you want to make community? okay. the big cities make it easy. l.a., n.y., jeru-town. now try it in the burbs.
    i personally get sick of some worrying and fretting about cool judaism. there’s those of us in our 30’s that ate Rush and Maiden and Joy Division like m&ms and drank jane’s addiction kegs of the Cure’d love and rockets red hot chili peppers, smoked some Marley and public enemy and dropped Ministry, coughed up rage against the machine in a nirvana soundgarden while reading the likes of wittgenstein and rilke and chomsky, barry hannah and charles simic before finding out Gd, the One we complained to all the time, yelled at, and barked at, and begged for, was right here inside. How cool? So cool. Tip of it. june isn’t jazzed, cool isn’t dead. cool is for us to give back in light. light up yourself for the ultimate cool. no need for labeling it.
    (apologies for blabbing. late night working on lesson plans.)

  14. Come on Dan – you didn’t declare its death in December 2003! If I recall correctly, you were a little teeny bit miffed that you weren’t included in the Time Out NY article.
    jewschool was in its infancy at that point. how could i have expected to be mentioned? also august 2005 i concluded time out was the death of everything.
    The good news is that now it’s more likely you’ll get funding. The bad news is that you’ll in all likelihood be subsumed.
    the name of my game: how to get what i want without unreasonable compromise. i’ll let you know how that goes.

  15. Ck–you certainly know there’s funding and certainly didn’t miss the bandwagon. What the hell was that meeting in Gehenom about, eh?
    Get it-what the hell. Heh.
    And BZ, affiliation isn’t a word to be used only for those people who are Fed-due-paying-Jews. Members of Kol Zimrah (ok, not members ’cause you don’t believe in membership–friends?) or Hadar are just as affiliated as the regular goers to the Jewish Center. Even more so–people who go to the Jewish Center can be in some way passive. The New Affiliated are for the most part extremely Jewishly literate and yet like to think that they’re somehow untied to the “establishment.”
    And then these new affiliated Jews woke up and realized that the are the establishment.

  16. Kol Zimrah and Hadar are exactly what I meant by “the communities that we’ve built by the sweat of our brow”. They didn’t exist until we created them.
    The synagogues think that they don’t need to create a place for us (educated committed lay Jews) because we’ve already got it covered. But the only reason we’ve got it covered is that we created these new communities on our own, because there’s no place for us in synagogues. It’s a Catch-22. Yet the synagogues still harbor the delusion that they don’t need to worry, because we’ll come crawling back when we have children to educate. Fuck them. Just as we created new models for 20- and 30-somethings, we’ll create new models for 40- and 0-somethings.

  17. BZ–I am confused about what you think about “the synagogues.” Were they sent down from the heavens, in perfect form? No. They were created by the sweat of the brows of those who came before us. And now, the new generation has arisen, creating new structures out of the sweat of its brow. And the establishment-building goes on.
    Don’t be so quick to tell the synagogues to fuck off. Slowly, I think, minyanim such as Hadar and Kol Zimrah might find it in their interest to build funds that would allow them to do more programming. And then they might want a more permanent space. And then they might find a congregation that is not doing so well, and strike an agreement with them. And then it might turn out that the congregations will meld together and the same institutions you now decry will have new leadership–only that leadership will be…you.
    And, from what I understand from conversations past, this process has already begun. Why else would minyanim want to build permanent conventions or structures?

  18. Interesting article – thanks for posting it. I agree that a distinction needs to be drawn between “unaffiliated” Jews like me and the “unaffiliated” Jews more often discussed in these studies. But I’m not thrilled about the term “post-denominational”; does anyone have a better word?
    The movements (not only Conservative, which Cohen focuses on; the Reform movement is also hemorrhaging its best and brightest) need to be aware that they are losing both of these groups.

  19. I think Mobius is miffed because competitors seem to be popping his inflated opinion of his own accomplishments. Jewlicious is simply a better blog than Jewschool, puts on better gigs (I was there, the party rocked) and always will be. I bet Mob’s too cowardly to let this run, too.

  20. nice readers you got there dave.
    tell me, what’s my inflated opinion of my own accomplishments? do you even know what my accomplishments are? do you know what my struggles are? do you know where i came from and where i’m going? do you even know what my sense of self is?
    i’m not in “competition” with jewlicious. we have two entirely different approaches and two entirely different audiences. dave’s goal is to promote nominal orthodoxy and unyielding zionism. my goal is to promote transdenominationalism and critical thought. we may both have jewish blogs, but we’re hardly addressing the same crowd, and there’s more than enough room online and in the community for both of us.
    to be frank, my frustration with jewlicious is not its popularity for popularity’s sake, but the fact that, in relation to its content (hamas members are ugly! jewish chicks are hot! jewish parody rap is cool! chabad rabbis are awesome!), its popularity in the jewish community only speaks to my concern about, and desire for change in, our community.
    but that ignores the fact that dave, laya, michael, esther and i are friends, and that we’re oftentimes in collaboration.
    further, it’s nice of you to judge our events, but you’ve never been to one. corner prophets has jerusalem on lockdown. until you’ve seen what we do — not on a yearly basis — but on a weekly basis, you have no idea what you’re talking about.
    finally, the only coward here is you, who hides behind two initials and a bunk email address. own your opinions or keep your mouth shut.

  21. Yikes…
    Where do I begin?
    Ariel: The meeting in Gehenom had nothing to do with anyone giving us money. It wasn’t even with a Jewish organization. It’s more of a cultural thing I suppose. And let me reiterate again, for the record. Jewlicious is not paid for or subsidised by any jewish communal organization. We don’t get funded by anyone and we’ve never asked to be funded. If there ever was a bandwagon, we never got on it. Jewlicious is an entirely voluntary undertaking. We run banner ads – and that pays for beer. That’s pretty much it.
    AF: Uh… thanks for the kind words of support and all, and but really, we’re not in competition with anyone, let alone our dear friend Mobius. There’s no need to trash talk.
    Mobius: I dunno about that 2 different audiences thing. Many of your readers whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting tell me they also read Jewlicious. Granted our approaches are different, and I don’t believe we are competing with you, the Jew blog audience isn’t that big – although it sure is verbose.
    Also that dig at our content is a tad simplistic and really unneccessary. You really think we’re part of the problem? That’s what you implied. Nominal Orthodoxy and unyielding Zionism? Come on man… that’s not really fair.
    But whatever… we’ll just keep on doing what we’re doing… and we hope you do the same.

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