The gen-y millenials finally made it as a topic to an aging baby-boomer Jewish newspaper after being covered in the NYT the week before. The dividing lines for the 20somethings are not the baby-boomer issues but a new set of issues that are only appearing.
The new issues will be based on the sharp dividing line between those that marry young from those who will be single until their late 30’s. They will create two difference sets of life experience, different ways to frame their childhood, and different orthodoxies. If one is single until the late 30’s then the year in Israel has definitely worn off to be replaced by the rabbinical influences of their single life. One spends a decade in the city with its dynamism of energy and new ideas. (But dont confuse urban life with academic town life.) One treats one’s community different if one is a member for 50 years or if one is only a member for 15 years to raise kids and one was mobile before and afterward.
Back in the 1960’s, there was an emphasis on outreach on the collegiate level becuase that was seen as the formative moment, recently it has been on post- HS and on post-college. If one is floating in graduate school or urban jobs for many years then the need for outreach would need to shift to a later age. If life imitate the modeling shown them, then we are going to have a generation living the life shown in the TV show Friends.Which religious group will be able to reach them? Know that it wont be the same group that is reaching the early marriage and early settling down group. Which group will most likely be able to speak about emerging, forging, and contributing to the world?
Emerging Adults: What to Do With 20-Somethings?
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
A recent New York Times Magazine cover story examined the plight of the indecisive and paralyzed 20-somethings who are living in a newly coined life stage called “emerging adulthood.” It is a critical developmental period.
Robin Marantz Henig – NY Times Magazine
33 is the New 13
The Jewish world is organized as if only a narrow stream separates childhood and adulthood, but that stream has become a river. We need to build a bridge — an entirely new infrastructure — over the new river of emerging adulthood. Imagine if 33 became the new 13 and we invested heavily in Jewish young people all the way to actual adulthood. The bridge would be built around the fundamental understanding that the investment is largely uni-directional (as it is with children): we can’t expect emerging adults to make solid Jewish commitments during a developmental stage that is defined by non-commitment.
There is good news: most Jewish emerging adults go to college, so we know exactly where to find them to start the process after they leave home. And they are pluripotent: they are as open to Jewish experiences as they are to everything else.
Daniel Libenson is the executive director of the University of Chicago Hillel and a 2009 Avi Chai Fellow, http://www.uchicagohillel.org
Personal Discovery and Development
While the reality on the ground is complex, in the end the broad message is simple: It’s about authentic, personal experiences; being with friends and experiencing (or creating) community together; and opportunities that deepen Jewish knowledge and stimulate Jewish growth.
But in its simplicity is a profound message: Identity formation is ultimately a result of personal discovery and development that, outside the family, happens in a circle of friends.
Morlie Levin, CEO Birthright Israel NEXT, next.birthrightisrael.com
To be 20-something is to search for one’s place in the world. Between career and education, friendship and romances, young people do not so much drift as struggle with profound questions of meaning: Who am I? What can I contribute to the world? What is a good life to live? The Jewish community can offer emerging adults not a set of answers, but a forum in which to forge a sense of meaning.
Our message to young Jews should be: Your concerns are the right ones. We have been wrestling with these questions for quite some time. Come and listen to some of our responses, and then join the conversation.
Dan Smokler, Senior Jewish Educator, NYU Hillel, http://www.hillel.org