I promise you that I am not getting too carried away with the spirit of Bastille Day. But I could not help but take a little inspiration from La Marseillaise, which is as stirring a call to arms as any ever written. The opening line of this ode to action reminds me of one of the most pressing challenges American Jews face today.
Many of us spend a great deal of time worrying about how to engage “millennials,” so much so that the frequency with which this topic is discussed has almost made it cliché. Indeed, if you are a millennial, you may be rolling your eyes right now.
But the simple fact is if we don’t have a future generation ready, willing, and able to take on the mantle we wish to impart to you, all of the dedication of those who have come before us and the sacrifices made on behalf of Jewish peoplehood will have been for naught. (One of the many concerns surrounding recent decisions in Israel vis-à-vis pluralism at the Western Wall and conversions is the negative sentiments they will generate amongst the younger generation.)
In an age when we are struggling to engage each and every young Jew, and at a time when were are combatting anti-Semitism on college campuses, young Jews should have as much access to Israel and to Jewish life here at home as possible. To our millennial readers, I believe one of the most important things we can do is include you in the conversation—how do you want to interact? (I would love to hear your thoughts—email me!)
Young Adult Leadership
To that end, Minneapolis Jewish Federation and the Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul are hiring a Joint Young Leadership director, whose goal will be to bring young Jews together from across the Twin Cities and engage them in meaningful activities and projects that will connect them not only to Jewish life here at home, but also to global Jewry.
Young Adult Missions
Additionally, this coming year we will focus our missions efforts on younger folks. It’s time for a new generation to experience Israel first hand—to feel the power of peoplehood and get a better understanding of the Start-up Nation’s accomplishments and challenges. We want to expose them to the incredible work done by the Federation system throughout the world—to better understand the needs of our Jewish brethren abroad and the impact that Minnesotans can have on improving the lives of others.
These two initiatives will not dismantle overnight the millennial Gordian knot, but they are an important and worthwhile beginning. Each time we engage a member of our community and they arise to join their compatriots as the French anthem extolls, we are one step closer to passing the baton to committed and fulfilled successors.