A Chorus of Apes offers some constructive criticism for the authors of CAJE’s latest Jewish Education News:
If you are introducing an issue dedicated to the young creative vibrant Jews of America, DO NOT start with the survivalism discourse. We are fleeing from the organized Jewish community because we reject the notion that Jewish identity in itself is a value. We have to much exposure to the rich pallet of American diversity for that. Rather, we want to participate in meaningful communities, Jewish or otherwise. So, bringing up empty Jewish identity, survival for its own sake, is not a good way to begin…We are not “your young people”. We are people, we are young, and we may be “your” children, but “you” do not own us. I know that sounds like a high school antiauthority rant. However, I don’t think the point is as juvenile. I object to being owned because I am in the process of forging my own communities of meaning. If we join synagogues or JCCs we are not doing it for you, nor out of some debt to our grandparents, but because we find it meaningful…I will stand up for Jews because they are human beings, and because their experience is implicated to my own. Likewise I will stand up for Palestinians, because they are human beings, and because their experience is implicated in my own.
…I was younger I didn’t care about intermarriage, because I didn’t see the value in Jewish life. At this point I don’t think that marrying a Jew is important for the Jewish people. However It is important for me, because I find Jewish life valuable. If I didn’t, and its very easy to find it to be vapid and parochial, I would not care what the religion of my partner would be. Another reason the whole intermarriage discourse is not going to win any friends is that it excludes queer folk and those who are choosing to priorities other than pumping out kids. My generation is getting married later because they are creating careers and lives before they have kids. Telling them not to follow their dreams in order to repopulate the Jewish people is not going to endear you to this demographic…I don’t want to be marketed to. I don’t want to hear “your” message. I want to be given opportunities to participate in creating meaningful experiences for myself and my peers. Selling Judaism as “cool” is certainly going to backfire…Do not refer to us as being in second puberty. I had never heard the term till I read this article. Are other people referring to 20-somethings as repubescent? What an awful title. It makes us sound like we have a disease, or at least like we are awkward naive creatures.