“Evangelizing” young Jews

Birthright Israel is an organization that sponsors free trips to Israel for Jewish young adults. Its sated goals are  to connect young Jews with their heritage. Most of these kids come from the States for obvious reasons—that’s where  the political influence lies.

On the surface one can not quibble with this. For obvious reasons Israel has resonance with Jews of all stripes.

Modern day Israel sadly is leaving a bad taste in many Jewish kids’ mouths.They are not deaf and dumb as to what is happening to the Palestinians.

So Birthright is an attempt to fill a void in young Jewish lives.

Well young Jewish lives are not so different from young Catholic lives. Most are unchurched and biblically illiterate and unevangelized. As these teens move away from Church/.Synagogue (many for good reasons) the pop culture feasts on their impressionable lives. Other demons are ready to swoop in and take the place of authentic spirituality. For Jews the temptation is to make Israel an idol. Any criticism of Israel thus is an affront to God.

Canada also is  part of THE MARCH OF THE LIVING a program with a similar purpose. It brings Jewish teens to Poland on Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, to march from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the notorious “death camps” of WW ll.The goal of the March of the Living is for these young people to learn the lessons of the Holocaust and to lead the Jewish people into the future vowing Never Again.

These programs are problematic in some ways. To this I turn in a few days.


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