Cyber Or-17 Jewish Net-Gen-2 Innovation.NET
We continue with the Cyber-Or epic by Dr. Rabbi Moshe Dror futurist, lecturer and teacher.
Just a few decades ago the question was:
“Will there be a Jewish continuity? Will my grandchildren be Jewish…?”
The response seems to be a very definite YES.
Jewish culture is booming. The younger Jewish American community has a wide variety of opportunities both to explore and express their Jewish identities outside of the traditional venues of synagogues and Jewish community centers. They are coming up with new methods of religious expression.
(From a 2005 study on Gen-Y Jewish Culture and Identity conducted by Steven Cohen and Ari Kelman for the National Foundation for Jewish Culture)
It would seem that this generation is indeed passing on the heritage.
But, Is that all it needs to do? Just pass on what was.
Indeed this Jewish N-gen is doing much more—it is creating and innovating all sorts of new ways to express their Jewish identities and personhood.
“Gathering in group homes and college dormitories, in rural woods and apartment buildings, a growing number of young Jews are spurning traditional Synagogues and forming worship communities that blend ancient traditions with modern values in ways that religion scholars say could redefine American Judaism”
(Synthesis Outside the Synagogue; Jacqueline L. Salmon, Washington Post, Wednesday, April 29, 2009).
The same article suggests that there are 20,000 Jews or so who attends the unconventional and innovative services each week. Consider that there are about one million Jews nationwide who attend regular services so this is a small percentage.
These people are among the most educated and devout and represent the next generation of Jewish leaders.
I would add that most of them, if not all of them, are part of this Net Generation and are all Digital literate.
This N-gen may be the generation that does NOT go to Synagogues. So What?
This does NOT mean that they are less religious or less spiritually inclined. They may be finding their religious and spiritual energies in other places. Or indeed- creating new possibilities.
We tend to think that the only or even primary place is the bricks and mortar building where religion and spirituality resides.
Judaism is far richer and vaster than merely going to synagogues. In fact it is this Net –Gen who are designing the worship and liturgy of the next generation for virtual communities. It is this N-Gen that is creating the world of at least these that I know of:
Each of these is a special case of a synergy of the classical world of Jewish Worship and the new world of cyberspace and Cyberia.
I will address each of these in the following Cyber Or blogs.
You may ask- What is this all about?
That is just what this blog is all about.
As Prof. Jonathan Sarna of Brandies University, certainly one of the foremost historians of American Jewry suggests: “Continuity (of the Jewish People) may depend on discontinuity” in other words – a change in direction and method.
With all due respect to Prof. Sarna, I really do not know at all if this is what he meant. But this is where I see part of the Jewish innovation of the coming century focusing its creative juices.