Generation Y Defining Jewishness


Steven M. Cohen and Lawrence A. Hoffman’s recent study confirmed that Generation X and the Millienial generation of Jews, currently young adults, are more spiritually inclined than their baby boomer parents. Even so, attracting young Jewish adults into traditional synagogue membership has been a challenge. Generation X and the Millenials do not necessary feel like they have to join the synagogue down the block to be part of a community. Many are creating lay led communities which do a good job of blending modern values with ancient traditions.

A recent Washington Post article talks about the Moishe Houses, a network of group houses where young adults live and organize worship and social gatherings. Young Jews are also expressing their spiritual values through an organization called Jews in the Woods, which meets in rural settings, and in independent minyanim like Tikkun Leil Shabbat. These new organizations often blur denominational lines and focus on creating communities where diversity is valued.

There is an upcoming one-day conference for the children of interfaith families, an often overlooked demographic in the Jewish Community. InterfaithWays and Birthright Israel NEXT are cosponsoring this event in Philadelphia on Sunday May 17th. The goals of this program are for children of interfaith families to connect, and to make sure that their voices are heard and needs are met by the larger Jewish community. This conference can go a long way in helping the mainstream Jewish communities understand the potential of children of interfaith families.
If you go, send me an email and let me know how it was!

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2 thoughts on “Generation Y Defining Jewishness”

  • Meredith, I feel boomers are considered with old models of affiliation whereas younger Gen Xrs and Gen Ys are beginning to find new place to congregate where they are not judged and they have an inclusive experience. Intergenerational work is the answer.

  • When it comes to defining the Jewishness of any generation after (we) Baby Boomers, no conversation is complete until all parties have read Samuel G. Freedman’s award-winning book, Jew v. Jew (Touchstone, 2000). IMRHO!

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