May 15, 2008
New generation has a new take on Israel
(Page 3 - Previous Page)"The Jewish people have had a really complex dance with Zion for thousands of years," said Gordis, who runs Center for Leadership Initiatives from Vancouver. "I think the benefit this generation is bringing to the conversation is that they are adding nuance where it has not been so nuanced. Now, we have to make sure the nuances they bring get air to breathe, rather than get quashed."
And he thinks the Gen-Yers will benefit from being pulled into open discussion, because they will begin to understand that their interests can and are being addressed by established institutions. Gordis wants to see more efforts focused not only on meeting the Gen-Yers' needs, but on teaching them about how to be productive and educated participants in the wider community's ongoing dialog.
Gordis is optimistic that with the right kind of communal support, this generation will come through for Israel.
"Is the landscape going to look like it did 20 years ago? No, it's not," he said. "I don't know what it's going to be like in five or 10 years in terms of how young American Jews are relating to Israel."
"But if we sit here and just be critical of them, we're cutting off our nose to spite our face. They are getting the car keys," he said. "We are going to be partners."
The Forest Foundation
Center for Leadership Initiatives:
Professional Leaders Project:
Beyond Distancing: Young Adult American Jews and Their Alienation from
Israel, by Steven M. Cohen and Ari Y. Kelman
Progressive Jewish Alliance:
American Jewish Committee Access Young Leaders:
New Israel Fund: