Over the years, we have seen changes in various aspects of Jewish education, particularly on the professional level. Whether to reflect a trend or to shape one, Jewish communal institutions have created various positions in Jewish education that often disappear as quickly as they are formed. Often due to economic uncertainty or a lack of interest, these positions don’t always address the needs of an ever-changing community.
The focus of Jewish communal institutions has generally been on the Jewish education of children, or of families with young children, and seldom on adult Jewish learning. However, now that the baby boomer generation is approaching what used to be considered “retirement age,” many of them find themselves with more time on their hands to pursue Jewish studies. Some boomers will retire, while others will seek “encore” careers, often moving from jobs that make money to jobs that make meaning. It is time to consider the implications of the behaviors of boomers, and how they can impact our institutions, especially at a time when such institutions seem to be so vulnerable.