20 August 2009

Let's Get It Together, People!

Nathaniel Popper's coverage of the PR situation with birthright can be found HERE at the Forward.

It was also picked up by Ha'aretz and you can find that HERE.

Why did I get involved?

1. I believe in birthright and why mess it up?
2. I think the surest way to success with young Jews today is making a compelling case for what Judaism has to say about making the world a better place, a greener place, a more peaceful place, a more tolerant place, an affordably healthier place! When "selling it" at any cost puts you into bed with people who don't share those values, you shoot yourself in the foot. Seems unnecessary to me. And more is at stake than selling something we already know all about. The challenge now is inspiring participants to "give back" to the world by continuing their involvement and putting their newly inspired Jewish values into practice.

As for reaching birthright participants on our own, the Brooklyn Jews High Holy Day services, which is targeted toward that holy grail of a demographic, is half-subscribed already; contributions are being made via paypal; and returning 20-30 somethings are really excited about their participation.

In Yachad, our Hebrew school, the average age of our FULL-TIME faculty is well under 30 and they are transforming synagogue supplementary education as we speak.

From my perspective, it's simply frustrating to see the "organized" Jewish community get bogged down in spending money on public relations when there is an enormous talent pool at our finger tips, already engaged or waiting to be engaged by those of us in the field who are not waiting around for the big ideas to come from above.

Selling beer and rap music just isn't the same as building links in the chain of tradition. That's how a lot of us feel and so that's why we agitated for this story to be written.

Let's get it together, people! We have mouths to feed, homeless to shelter, peace to make! That's our true birthright--at least according to the Torah that I've been taught.

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