Education Listen to the Next Generation: Shabbat Message from the CEO
O beautiful, her spirit dimmed
As dawn was in our sight
With hatred near, we take our fear
And bend it toward the light
America, America, let’s live up to our creed
For equity, and people free
In work and soul and deed.
These are words from rising young songwriters Eliana Light, Eric Hunker, and Debra Winter written in the aftermath of Thursday’s events and posted on Facebook.
Reading these words closely, I hear deep disappointment tinged with steadfast hopefulness. It is a soulful plea by a generation growing up in a constant state of attack. An attack on their safety, an attack on their sense of justice, and an attack on their idealism. This is the world in which our young people are growing up. And yet, they plead. When will we hear their cries? Or as we read in this week’s Parshat Shemot, when will Gcd hear their cries?
So, what is our responsibility as a pluralistic youth movement in this moment? We aim to create safe spaces for empathic dialogue and conversation. We listen and we teach them how to truly listen with open minds and hearts. Yesterday, we brought together the advisors and shlichim who work with our teens, to prepare them as they convene their teens around the country and plan the right peulah, activity, for this moment.
Together, they grappled with what it means to be a pluralistic movement at this moment of extreme polarization. Can we model what it means to honor many different perspectives under one tent? Are there any boundaries or limitations to how big the tent can be? Are there things that are clearly outside of the tent? Who decides?
They also grappled with how exhausting it is to constantly weigh competing values. As a movement committed to Israel and social justice, there are times when we find ourselves in a state of cognitive dissonance. The current political climate contributes to this as we are often forced to choose a single allegiance. Do we need to resolve the dissonance? Push away one value for another? Is it hypocritical not to live our competing truths?
In our daily work, whether in our year-round programming, camps, or Israel experiences, we have the privilege and responsibility of asking these difficult questions and creating emotionally safe spaces where the next generation can answer them for themselves.
As we step into 2021, we wish to thank all of you who support Young Judaea’s mission driven work and who made gift in 2020. If you did not have a chance and are now inspired to support our important work of building the next generation, support us here.
Praying for peaceful times ahead.
Adina H. Frydman CEO | Young Judaea Global