PLP Attendees: Your Establishment Sucks

The Jewish Week reports,

The Jewish community is obsessed with continuity and survival, worrying endlessly about attracting the younger generation to Jewish life, especially since polls show that Jews in their 20s are less committed than their parents to affiliation with synagogues, organizations and Israel. Who, the elders wonder, will be the communal leaders of the future, both lay and professional?

Ironically, but not surprisingly, a select group of 150 Jews in their 20s who took part in a unique three-day conference here last week voiced concerns that they lacked access to and were being ignored by the very community that seeks to attract them.

Full story. Here’s more about the PLP. And, er, cough cough.

9 thoughts on “PLP Attendees: Your Establishment Sucks

  1. Trying to do outreach with young adults in their 20s is very, very hard. But that’s what you’re left with when you ignore them as kids and let them assimilate into North American sexed-up dumbing-down pop culture.
    Give kids a proper Jewish education, bring them to shul more often than the high holidays, but first of all, deal with yourself before whining about how the ‘kids’ are ‘less committed’.
    I find it very hard to see how my generation is going to take the reins of Jewish leadership because most of my peers were not brought up to lead, but rather to follow and assimilate. I see how the generation before me is struggling to lead my old shul, and it’s tough when they themselves didn’t grow up there. Actually, my generation won’t even be there to take over, which is the saddest part of all. Jewish families don’t make babies anymore, there is no such thing as a ‘big brother/sister’ who ‘leads’ the home, and heck, something’s on tv tonight, so leave me alone.
    In Israel, on the other hand, there is a renewed interest in ‘Jewish leadership’ that also has a major generation gap. There is a lot of talk of the responsibility of the religious to take responsibility instead of relegating it to the secualr/mapai/bolsheviks and it’s already evident since HALF! of the cadets in officer’s school are religious.

  2. josh gives us a proof of a positive future fo jewish leadership in Israel: “it’s already evident since HALF! of the cadets in the officer’s school are religious”.
    i’ll just that as it is. no comment necessary.

  3. He’s got somee good things to say:
    “Jewish philanthropies spend millions of dollars and hours counting Jews and conducting marketing research on how to get young people to stop marrying goys and start supporting Israel. If they were to spend even half this effort actually doing Judaism,”
    Some obnoxious things:
    “But in my effort to show Jews some of what is so very progressive and relevant about their dwindling religion, I have instead provoked their most paranoid, regressive wrath.”
    And then really, really stupid things:
    “I don’t believe in an all-powerful creature with the white beard who rejoices in animal sacrifice.”
    While Rushkoff laments the lack of shuls available for oh-so-hip Jews and Jewesses, here’s my observation:
    Orthodox shuls in Montreal and Toronto are packed to the rafters. The shul I go to in Vancouver, led by a Chabad rabbi, packs 70-80 people into a room (that fits 65) every Friday night. Perhaps Rushkoff is refering to liberal Judaism. And I’d have to a agree with him. Having worked in a Conservative shul, as well as for the movement, I can honestly say that liberal Judaism has never really been able to inspire more than 2% of their congregants to come to shul, keep kosher etc., besides coming to shul 3 x’s a year.

  4. The ghetto shul in Montreal, a kind of Carlebach thing with ay ay ays ad nauseum is like, the busiest friday night service anywhere in the city, regularly packing in 200 people in a really small space. And its not just your usual MO/hippy Jews either. It’s a veritable scene, attracting both observant and non-observant. It is a warm and friendly service and so people go. In Rushkoff’s neck of the woods, Chabad has a shul in Park Slope not a 5 minute walk from where he lives. The Rabbi is pretty cool and the people that go there, cuz they’re from Park Slope, are pretty cool too.
    Rushkoff has much to say. His criticism of the organized mostly secular Jewish community is right on the money. But Rushkoff goes on to say that “Assimilation has always been the Jews’ best strategy. Our mandate in Torah is not to protect ourselves from others, but to “share our light” with them.” The problem is of course, that assimilated Jews, with very very few exceptions, have very little “light” to share. Therein lies the rub.

  5. You know, one can think that Rushkoff needs to reign in his ego without being a “Rushkoff hater.” You have to realize, Mobius, that to many people, his argument sounds something like this:
    “I had this realization that the essence of Judaism isn’t what we were taught that it was by our religious leaders. Instead, the Judaism of old really looked remarkably like the internet does today. This metaphor, thinking of our religion as if it were public-access computer code, will bring us all back to Judaism and Judaism to the world.”
    Pardon me, but I think that anyone who thinks that he or she has discovered the essence of Judaism needs to take a deep breath. Without a doubt, Mr. Rushkoff has found an inspiring example of original thought in early Jewish history, but that cannot be equated with Judaism.
    The value of the “original thought” of Judaism lies in its creation of a specific, new religious paradigm and way of life, something we have been forming, practicing, and modifying for thousands of years. He would have us believe that the main value of the “original thought” is that it teaches us that there is inherent value in shifting paradigms. That is, its great that Abraham broke the idols–it taught us something about God. Mr. Rushkoff, however, thinks that all it taught us was that it is good to break idols.

  6. Hey-I’m a Jew-I support my federation, raised my kids Jewish-support Israel and visit it. But frankly I hate relgion. I realize there is a growing minority of rothdox but there is a growing majority of people like me. If studying torah and wearing a yalmulke and sttting seperate from my wife in shul is Judiasm I’ll pass-or better I’ll pass on your brand of it-on the other hand if you guys want to dress in your costumes, waste Saturdaymorning and not drive on Shabbat I can respect that just leave me the fuck alone!

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