BALTIMORE — American Jewish institutions such as synagogues and federations are not attracting young Jews, the Reform movement’s leader told a conference of Jewish groups on Sunday.
“Jews in their 20s and 30s are hungry for meaning and purpose in their lives,” Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, told the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly in Baltimore.
“Too many of them assume that they will not find what they are seeking in the organized Jewish world,” Jacobs noted.
The General Assembly is an annual gathering of Jewish federations from across North America. It includes a network of over 150 communal fundraising and planning groups.
According to Jacobs, young Jews still seek spirituality and belonging, but are not finding them in the Jewish community.
“The recent Pew study, ‘Nones on the Rise,’ found that a growing number of our young, like those of other faiths, are ‘nones,’ people with no religious affiliation,” said Jacobs, who was speaking at the opening plenary of the confab.
“Many of us in this hall believe most of those ‘nones’ don’t know and don’t care about being Jewish, but it’s not that simple. Some don’t care much at all, but others do care, even deeply, about their Jewish identity and spirituality. What they have in common is this: they have not found — we have not shown them — compelling, vital Jewish institutions that are relevant to their lives.”