Thursday, September 1, 2011

Stop trying to make Judaism happen!

A new academic year, another article about how college kids aren't interested in Judaism and how the Jewish nonprofit industrial complex is trying (and failing) to make itself seem "cool" and appeal to the youngsters who are just arriving at campuses all over the country.

"Faced with polling that suggested students often view organized Jewish life on campus as uncool or too religious, many Jewish groups began trying to shake that reputation," write two college students in the Jerusalem Post.

They cite various failed tactics including service learning trips to speed dating to post-Passover pizza parties. Basically, anything divorced from a discussion and connection to actual Judaism and religious sources is highly suspect and unsuccessful according to the authors.

I'm inclined to agree somewhat with the authors mostly because I loathe all attempts make Judaism "hip" and "cool." (I also actually cringed when I was referred to as a "cool Jew" a couple of months ago.) We are not cool -- at least, we're not cooler than any other religious traditions.

Anyway, this whole "trying to engage young Jews" endeavor often reminds me a lot of this scene in Mean Girls.

"Gretchen, stop trying to make 'fetch' happen."

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