We at JOI are extremely interested in how the teenagers of today envision the Jewish future of tomorrow. At our upcoming conference on May 23 and 24 in New York, we will be hosting a panel of Jewish teenagers who will share their vision of a vibrant future for Judaism.
However, we are not the only ones giving voice to the young about their own future. In April, the Milken Community High School will host a conference of its own about the Jewish future. This conference, which focuses on spirituality, will include student ideas for projects such as trips for baby boomers to Israel, a kosher food truck for college campuses, and fashion shows to support Jewish causes. These projects are thoughtful, and they encompass a wide variety of creative ideas.
One interesting thing about the students’ proposals is that not a single student project addresses the topics of interfaith marriage or dating. This is surprising to me, because these students are living in a world where interfaith marriage and dating is an extremely important issue.
However, what if, in the years to come, this is no longer the case? With over half of all Jews marrying someone from another background, interfaith families are rapidly becoming the majority. At some point, due to increased acceptance or sheer demographics, interfaith families may become the normative version of the Jewish family. Perhaps interfaith marriage is not part of the conversation at the Milken School conference because, for these students, the Jewish future has already arrived and they assume that all such Jewish programming would be welcoming and inclusive of all types of Jewish families.
We at JOI would like to commend the Milken School for taking time to critically engage with the important topic of the Jewish future. We look forward to hearing what their students, as well as our own panel of Jewish teenagers, have to say about the Jewish future in the decades to come.