Jewish identity in the world today

LE MOOD and “A Bit Off the Top” inspire young Jewish adults to engage with their Jewish identity, as they define it. (Photo: Jonathan Woods)

by Gabriel Couture

One of the primary mandates of Federation CJA’s Outreach and Engagement department is to inspire young Jewish adults to engage with their Jewish identity, as they define it. In doing this, we utilize several innovative tools to create an environment that encourages such exploration.

The state of Jewish engagement

We live in exciting times: the pace of innovation and change is dramatic; individuals are freer and more empowered than ever before; and the Jewish community around the world now has the means to connect in ways that were previously impossible. The opportunity is there but it comes with its own set of challenges. Not only are young Jewish adults able to connect with other Jews across the diaspora, but they can do so with other cultures and communities as well –and they do.

Modern Day challenges

The barriers of time and space, which were previously inescapable, are now broken. Young Jews today are citizens of the world, and their identities are nurtured by a vast array of cultural voices. The worry, for many in the Jewish community, is how to remain the tight-knit, successful and innovative people we’ve proven to be in this ever-changing world.

Young people today, are more inclined to a self-absorbed process of identity formation.  It is essential for Jewish communities to be aware of this, and use it to develop meaningful engagement opportunities.

A new engagement paradigm

The right programming needs to be inclusive and inviting; it needs to celebrate diversity of thought and engage with current issues; and it most importantly needs to give people a voice in the community. The LE MOOD festival and the “A Bit Off the Top” website are platforms that seek to create such a community, leveraging the many voices our community has to offer, amplifying the chances that most of the young Jews in our community will find something to identify with.  Most of all, they encourage a multiplicity of opinions and provide a space that empowers people to create content of their own, and this above else lays the fertile ground for engagement to grow.

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