Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Some Tam-Tams with your Manishewitz-tinis?

The NYTimes reports on hipster Jews and their tenuous relationship with synagogues about a year too late. That's ok, better late than only in the Jewish press. Is it still newsworthy that young Jews are looking to connect with Judaism in untraditional ways? What bugs me about these pieces is that they assume Jews want similar experiences that they get at bars/parties from their Jewish institutions. Says one oracle:
"Everything in the world nowadays is about marketing," she said. "If Judaism is really slow and boring and doesn't try to do anything to compete with the parties and the music and the movies, it's going to lose."
Mmm, no, I disagree. Judaism does not need to be re-branded or marketed. Judaism needs to be investigated. I don't expect my local Beth ____ to be the nexus of all things cool and hip. That would be apocalyptic. You don't have to bring drinks and yoga to the synagogue, leave those things where they belong - at your local bar/yoga studio. Perhaps what these young folks are looking for is to be engaged. I think more of these hipsters would be attending synagogue if the sermons were thought-provoking, if the crowds were welcoming to new people, if the memberships fees were not so high. Let's stop pretending Judaism needs to be cool, it doesn't; certain people may feel that it is and that's why they do it, others do it anyway because there are compelling aspects to it. I like the idea of "multiple entry points" to Jewish tradition, but leave the Manishewitz-tinis out of it, please.

1 comment:

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