Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Young Baal Ha-Baatim & Jewish Orgs

An upcoming crisis that has not been noticed in the Orthodox world, though discussed ad nauseam in the Federation World is the lack of Young Leadership. Though definitely more acute in the Secular Jewish Communal World, among National Orthodox Organizations, both Modern Orthodox and Yeshivish, most of the leadership tends to be older while younger affluent Baal Ha-Baatim tend to work for local organizations & schools. (The only exceptions to this may be JOFA & Edah, which a friend of mine described as narcissistic in serving the needs of its supporters.) This is a result of several factors. Schools & other local organizations are becoming more expensive to run so more effort is needed to run them. 2) There is less of a sense of National Jewish Community & the need for someone to represent them. Therefore the younger generation feels less of a need to join and pour their talents into them. People feel more secure in their Judaism & being Jewish in America. 3) Much of what the national organizations do is shadlanus & its harder to appeal to people when all you can show are state senate resolutions that may or may not be passed.

While for now this is not a problem, within the coming decades this may be a major problem as major Orthodox Jewish Organizations being older & lose their appeal for the younger generations.

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