This speech tic of speaking of the new generation is not going away so fast.
There is a new Avi Chai Report:
Generation of Change: How Leaders in Their Twenties and Thirties Are Reshaping American Jewish Life
Much of the results is old hat already and the write up has too much of Jack Wertheimer’s preaching rather than Steve Cohen’s sociology.
The report introduces three types of activities: protective, progressive, and expressive. They are also working with a clear divide between establishment and non-establishment. Since I filled out the survey form, from their write-up it seems that my answers were included in the statistics for the older establishment group. 🙂
Organized Jewish life in the second half of the twentieth century was focused around protective activities…
It is simply not true, as some contend, that younger Jewish leaders want nothing to do with these organizations and their protective causes. Many do, especially among those who are socioeconomically more secure and relate positively to the networking culture of the established Jewish organizations; political and religious propensities also dispose some younger leaders to identify with protective causes.
Two other agendas are simultaneously at work among young leaders. “Progressive” causes appeal to some: Jewish leaders involved with start-ups are especially apt to identify with broader social causes—environmentalism, service to the downtrodden (mainly non-Jews), and a variety of social justice causes, including what they regard as justice for the Palestinians.
The third agenda might be labeled expressive: Young Jewish leaders want to help their peers find personal meaning in being Jewish. There has been an explosion of interest in Jewish culture—including everything from foods of various Jewish communities to an interest in Jewish languages and folkways to a celebration of Jewish books, music, film, and other artistic productions. A small but noteworthy minority is drawn to experimental forms of Jewish religious expression, usually found outside of conventional synagogues. And more broadly, younger Jewish leaders have created a wide range of opportunities for their peers (and others) to study Torah, explore spiritual questions, and probe what being Jewish means to them.
The emphasis leaders place on protective, progressive, and expressive types of Jewish activities sets groups apart from one another. Put differently, the mix of these three elements shapes the particular culture of organizations for young Jewish adults, whether they are sponsored by establishment organizations or non-establishment ones.
Nonestablishment Programs: Over the past ten to 15 years, a large network of new programs and institutions has been
created by Jews in their 20’s and 30’s. These so-called start-ups tend to be characterized by the following:
1. They do not hesitate to question the status quo.
2. They seem highly attuned to their clients—younger Jews.
3. They experiment.
4. They network with one another and arrive at
5. They have the agility to associate seemingly unrelated
fields and causes.