This past summer I was invited by the RCA to join a panel at their annual convention aimed at addressing the challenge of engaging Millennials in Orthodox shuls. Two weeks ago, I was invited by the Orthodox Union to join a group of school, shul, and youth leaders in a conversation about the religious state of our yeshiva high school graduates.
To be sure, the news isn't all bad. In fact, it's mostly good. Our community as a whole, in distinct contrast to some of the other American denominations, is vibrant and growing. If there was a line, though, that ran through both conversations, it is a distinct feeling that there is a "language barrier" of sorts emerging between our communal institutions and leadership on the one hand, and a growing sector of our young adult population on the other. These young adults aren't "off the derech." Quite the contrary - many are desperately seeking a sense of meaning and belonging particularly once they leave the comfortable confines of their college campus community.
In an essay published on thelehrhaus.com, entitled "Postmodern Orthodoxy: Giving Voice to a New Generation," I argue that the recently translated writings of Rav Shagar offer important insight both into the mindset of this critical demographic and into the approach necessary for reaching them "ba-asher hem sham."
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CEO of the Ades Family Foundation. Founding Head of School of the Jewish Leadership Academy. Fascinated with the Jewish future.