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« Pop Goes the Sukkah: A pop culture mini-guide to Sukkot | Main | How to Feed Jews Up to Age 40 »


Dennis Wilen

Do you want "Jewish young adults" or energetic, interesting Jewish innovators?"

I'm only one of these.

Jonah Halper

Esther, the problems you highlight are indeed issues. How do you create a group without labeling to the point of exclusion. I think there is a larger fundamental problem with "young leaderships" and the solution I believe will also address your concerns.

Organizations that have young leaderships, in my opinion, needlessly create a divide putting talent at the kiddie table. Nowadays, Gen X'ers and Millennials should be able to sit side by side with others on the "big board". We have leadership skills, we can recruit, engage and raise funds. I don't think its done maliciously to keep us down, instead I believe the #1 reason for creating these silos of young leadership is that organizations think that this is the way to attract them. The reality is that it only alienates them.

The solution is simple. Instead of creating artificial groups and branding designated for "young professionals", simply brand some of the organizations' activities by showcasing who is involved in them with photos, stories, use of social media and people will self select into this crowd if it makes sense for them. No need for a separately branded entity.

I hear complaining constantly from board members who say there aren't enough "young people" in their org. How about rebranding the org by telling your story better, giving your target audience concrete ways to get involved? ...And by getting involved I dont mean "meetings". We want tangible opportunities to make a difference through volunteerism, giving to specific causes where I can track my dollar etc.

We don't need artificial groups and associations to "lure us". We need substance. Build it, and they will come.

Laurie Siegel

How about using the terms that sociologists use? Millennials? or Gen Y'ers? Then there is no debate as to their status re: ability to donate, just a cut off year for birth. And, if someone really wants to be part of the group, and is grappling with the same issues but is really a Gen Xer, let them in?

Love the discussion. I'm a boomer.

Katy Boyask

Check out our Facebook page- The Network is the Greater Miami Jewish Federation's under 40 division. It brought back so many memories reading all of the issues you describe, which informed our decision to re-brand five years ago. Other Federations around the country have been taking on a similar model. Hope what we are doing in Miami is inspirational and part of a renaissance.


You can be in your 40's and living the single hipster lifestyle, or be in your early 20's with a couple kids. Age does not make the person but it often sways the lifestyle of certain demographics. Someone with a flexible schedule in the evenings, who can go out, is more likely to get involved in projects and other opportunities. Other people who are busy with their kids or added responsibilities just don't have the time, enthusiasm, or energy to even think about it.

As an early 20's gal myself, the term "Young Professionals" says something positive about the life-stage I find myself in. Its more mature than the undergrad kids who are still in the system, but implies a youthful energy towards business. Even if you are a starving artist, or starving lawyer, if you are educated and know your craft, then you are a professional. Not being a professional implies not being qualified, and in this economy everyone is overqualified.

Whether you are married, have kids or not, its about being open to new ideas and willing to act upon them, try something new, and give energy to the crowd.

The Gen terms have been tossed around so many times and either leave me feeling too young to understand the in-jokes of Gen X-ers or too old to to not have been born with an iphone in my hand like Gen Y-ers or whatever the kids born in the 90's are called.

I agree with the idea of showcasing substance. If an older person wants to come to a warehouse art rave, then they should be able to, and enjoy it. If a younger person wants a more serious and established environment, they should be entitled to that too. Not even mentioning the entrance fee discrimination which leaves the actual "young" professionals unable to afford to even go to these events.

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