Birthright Israel, the free 10-day trip to the Jewish state for 18- to 26-year-olds, is a great project. It enables scores of people to visit Israel, many of whom would otherwise never have the opportunity.
To reconnect Jews worldwide with their faith, Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald, formerly of New York’s Lincoln Square Synagogue, founded the National Jewish Outreach Program in 1987. Prominent hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt donated $1.5 million to jumpstart the organization that helps Jews rediscover the principles of Judaism and learn how to engage in Jewish ritual.
Quick, what’s the fastest growing part of the Jewish community, or at least the New York metro area’s Jewish community? Orthodox? They’re growing, but not the fastest. Conservative? Nah. Reform? Not anymore. Reconstructionist? Nope.
According to the recently released study of the NY Jewish community, the group that has doubled its share of the community, growing from just 15% to a whopping 37% is [drum roll, please]…OTHER. That’s right, “other”. [Source: Jewish Community Study of New York, page 121].
A lot of folks my age have misperceptions about TribeFest, if they have even heard of it. For the uninitiated, TribeFest is Jewish Federations of North America’s conference for 20- and 30-somethings, designed to engage, educate, and inspire them to become active in the Federation system and in organized Jewish life. TribeFest 2012 was the second such conference, both held in Las Vegas.