Highly Engaged Young American Jews: Contrasts in Generational Ethos
Wednesday, Aug 18, 2010

by Steven M. Cohen
Changing Jewish Communities, Institute for Global Jewish Affairs
Published August 2010

"In the year 2000, together with Arnold Eisen, now chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary [JTS], I had written The Jew Within.[2] It explained how our generation, the Baby Boomers, differed from that of our parents who came of age during the Depression. After finishing the book, I honestly thought that American Judaism had taken individualism to the most extreme form possible. I couldn't imagine that there could be even further growth of this version of American Jewish individualism, with its emphasis on autonomy, or control of one's Jewish life; voluntarism, or freedom to make Jewish choices; ‘personalism,' or the emphasis on the authority of personal meaning; antijudgmentalism, or an inclusive, welcoming attitude; and ‘journeyism,' or the idea that we are all on Jewish journeys that deserve to be respected and supported."

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