August 18, 2019

Is Judaism Still Relevant to Young Jews?

“How do you take the pulse of a nation? Get into the classrooms and speak to the kids. Walk on college campuses and have some conversations.

Standing in front of an assembly of high school children, I was confronted with the spiritual malaise that is taking place amongst our children. They lack the courage to stand strong for our people. Too many don’t know enough about who they are as Jews, their purpose, their mission, their reason for being.

Indifferent or ignorant – take your pick.

Concluding a talk on Jewish pride, I offered to take questions. A hand shot up in the front.

“You speak about our heritage and what it means to be a Jew. So many around us are clueless when it comes to Judaism. How can we share with others and teach more?”

Another hand shot up in the back. The young boy stood up and said loudly, “To speak up and think that you have what to teach the world about your Judaism means that you think you are better. That’s racist!”

A wave of tension swept through the auditorium. I had just a few moments to respond before my time with these teenagers was up. Here before me sat the future fathers and mothers of our people. These souls would soon be asked to lead, commit, create and cry out for Israel and the Jewish People. How tragic to believe that knowing our holy mission in this world and understanding that we are to be a “light amongst the nations” is racist.”

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