The NEXT Jewish Community
Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Social change often bubbles up from below, far from the corridors of power. And particularly in the Jewish community, weighed down as it is with slow-moving institutions headed (generally) by men in their 60s, the burden of innovation falls on the young. For five years now, we’ve been highlighting some of the young people who are driving change in the community with our “36 Under 36” section. This time around, we’ve noticed that the 36ers are broadening the definition of Jewish community. They’re building bridges with other communities — be it an interfaith group of Muslims and Jews, a group of YU students who conduct science experiments for public school children in Washington Heights, or the NYU club that connects students with Israeli tech companies. And five years on, we’re seeing leadership pop up in new areas within the community: among Orthodox women, the Russian-speaking population, and young 20-somethings. There’s also a rekindling of interest and exposure in Jewish communities that otherwise would have been lost to us — including a young female scholar who has written a book about the Jews of Afghanistan. From artists and educators to philanthropists and social justice advocates, these young visionaries are challenging the Jewish community to expand the breadth and depth of its reach.

Profiles written by Adam Dickter, Julie Wiener,
Steve Lipman, Eric Herschthal, Helen Chernikoff,
Jonathan Mark, Gabriela Geselowitz and Hannah Dreyfus
Section curated by Tamar Snyder

Special To The Jewish Week

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