Editor’s Wrapup: Don’t Worry
John F. Kennedy, the youngest man ever elected president of the United States, understood the value of youth. “Ever since David slew Goliath,” he once said, “the Jewish people have never considered youth as a bar-
rier to leadership.” a Although we have a tendency to fret that young Jews are too willing to assimilate, too materialistic or simply too deaf to their parents, there is news to the contrary. This issue of Hadassah Magazine focuses on young Jews—and why we should view them with less worry and more pride.
Take philanthropy. The ranks are growing of young Jews committed to Jewish causes. As Rahel Musleah reports (page 34), the fault, perhaps, is not the willingness of the younger generation to give but the community’s radar used to identify donors. “Every generation of Jewish donors thinks they’re going to be the last one,” one expert told Musleah, “[but] we have plenty of evidence that young donors are finding their way.”
The parallel universes from which older and younger Jewish generations barely catch sight of one another is also a theme of Dara Horn’s essay, “Young Jews, Unvanishing” (page 40). “Despite the old dire predictions about vanishing American Jews,” she writes, “we are on the edge of an American Jewish renaissance.”
Education is the theme of three articles in this issue. Rochelle Furstenberg addresses Holocaust education in Israel, as the last survivors approach the end of their storytelling days and the Shoah enters the realm of history (page 10). Gershom Gorenberg reports on programs that bring together young Israelis and Palestinians in an effort to build model relationships (page 14). And Barbara Trainin Blank looks at the training of Jewish teenagers for philanthropic lives (page 42).
But how much good news can we absorb? There seems little chance, these articles notwithstanding, that Jewish parents and grandparents will stop worrying about the young. Maybe we need worry to make kvelling feel so good. — Alan M. Tigay