From the outset, we’ve always thought of KFAR as more than a presenting organzation; we play a role in a larger trend of grass roots initiatives connecting Jews to their culture using the arts. Now, leading American Jewry Sociologists Ari Kelman and Stephen Cohen (The Jew Within) have published The Continuity of Discontinuity (Read it) supporting that proposition. The new study examines why young adults shape their Jewish identity through episodic, often cultural affinities rather than simply affiliate with traditional Jewish institutions .
“In short, the vast majority of young adult Jews have little reason and little interest in joining institutions filled with Jews who are somewhat older, somewhat more affluent, and decidedly more engaged in issues of marriage and parenthood. It comes as no surprise, then, that outside of Orthodoxy, most American Jews under 40 are institutionally unaffiliated.
But it may come as a surprise that many unaffiliated younger Jews are Jewishly engaged, expressing attachment to being Jewish in a variety of ways, generally outside of institutional settings, often with friends, both Jewish and not. Moreover, among them, some of those with especially strong Jewish backgrounds have been creating and organizing their own Jewish communities, experiments and experiences.” Stephen Cohen, The Forward
“In cities across the country they are creating their own minyanim instead of joining synagogues; they are writing and publishing their own journals instead of just subscribing to existing ones; they are playing their own music, putting out records, and producing their own concerts. They are hosting salons and movie screenings. They are involved in the creation of Jewish life that is thoughtful, popular, and exists largely on the margins of mainstream Jewish organizational life.
These new endeavors do not look like their predecessors because they are responding to the perception that the offerings of synagogues, federations, and JCCs are simply too narrow and do not adequately address the diverse needs of American Jews.” Ari Kleman, JTA/NJ Jewish News
The organizations used as case studies are KFAR’s counterparts elsewhere, and when read in conjunction with Kelman and Cohen’s earlier Young Adults and Jewish Cultural Events study for NFJC/HUC/JESNA, it becomes clear that KFAR is at the vanguard. We need your support to do it, though. Please donate and help KFAR Make Jewish Culture Happen.