The Gen-Yers wish to live lives that matter. They are hungry for community – and where they do not find ones that welcome them they will create their own. They do not wish to escape, but to engage; they do not want to judge or to be judged, but to join. They do not desire indictment; they seek inspiration. They are also not willing to accept the community silos of the past but are interested in models that perform. They are not interested in being silent partners in an organizational bureaucracy but want to matter and will accept process only if it leads to purpose. They are looking to change the spelling of their gaming console the Wii from two i’s to an “e.’
If we create portals of entry, share with them our story neither diluted nor whitewashed, and find the courage to let them make it their own, they will do something that we can’t: guarantee our future.
Rabbi Kenneth Brander is the David Mitzner dean of Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (www.yu.edu/cjf), the largest provider of service learning and experiential education trips for Orthodox students. Its missions focus on helping impoverished individuals – Jews and non-Jews – around the world.