Cyber Or 16 Jewish N-Gen vs Y Gen
This is another post by Dr. Rabbi Moshe Dror on Cyber Or and the N & Y generations.
By Moshe Dror
I would like to suggest that the Generation Y and the Net Generation are much the same people.
The N-gen is written about by many. The one that I like best are the writings of Don Topscott (Growing Up Digital, Wikinomics, Grown Up Digital).
The Y-Generation is perhaps the most researched Jewish generation cohort.
If you look at the articles that describe this same generation one can see that this is arguably one of the most creative and innovative groups that are developing more and diverse ways to express their spirituality in ways that the older generation simply does not know how to deal with.
There is a great vitality to the American Jewish community.
To limit the spiritual quest to Synagogue attendance alone seems to me to be simply absurd.
We tend to see the current spiritual landscape from the context of a continuum of the past century and even past millennium.
There are other ways to look at these spiritual quests of this generation.
Consider the theory of Nicholas Negroponte, the Director of the Media lab of MIT, who suggests that THE defining aspect of this generation is the shift from a civilization based on Atoms to a civilization based on Bits, and the potential synergy of humanity into a new development. What does this have to do with spirituality?
One of the significant aspects of the n-gen is the power of the individual person.
Jewish organizations seem to see this as a threat. If the young Jews do not affiliate with Synagogues and Jewish Federations then where will they get their community spirit from?
The shift on emphasis on the individual has been going on for the past few hundred years –at least in the western mentality.
But we are not dealing with the individual –sitting on the mountain top, removed from the world- we ARE talking about the individual networked through the bits of our cyber culture. It is this NETWORKED INDIVIDUAL that is changing the world.
It is both- the ME and the WE that make up the power of the NETWORK. That also goes for the spiritual quest as well. We are linked in ways that are new and not dependent on the past definitions of community or “kehillah”
After all, we might want to remember that it was Hillel who suggested that first: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me”
And later “If I am only for myself, what am I?”
The great power of the Net 2.0 of social networking is just that – the social aspect of developing communities where the atoms of the bodies will not necessarily ever meet in “real”life- but DO Meet in cyberspace in ways that the older generation never imagined simply because it never could exist before. The technology was not just available. While we might call this a new tool, that is by far too limiting. These Virtual communities are powerful indeed and will develop more significance as we move into the future.
Remember that what is being made available today- April of 2009 is what is available now. In a few years we all look at this and are amused as to how quaint.
This will also change the nature of Zionism that saw Israel as THE CENTER of the Jewish world. Not so. Israel is a significant node of a Global Jewish Network.
Just so is the American Jewish community.
We are No longer into the Atoms history of Center and Periphery- the classical Israel and Diaspora mentality of either /or.
We are into a global networking.
The very breath of the n-gen and the Jewish N-Gen is Innovation.
Let us all remember that the most used word –the mantra of the Obama campaign was and is: CHANGE.
Most Recommended Comment
Narita, Chiba, Japan