Being in Canada and having to set our phones to “roaming” had me thinking more about the nature of our wandering existences and a little perhaps about why this new generation has such trouble attaching itself to Israel. Also included in this was the separation of when we living outside of the land of Israel start saying Tal u’Matar so much later than in the land itself, starting December 4th instead of the 7th of Marcheshvan. Here’s an interesting, and yes, complicated explanation of the difference, if you want. So already, to start, according to Halakhah, there is a differentiation. We are not tied to the land but tied to how long it takes the longest journey away from the land.
Yet today, it’s so bizarrely magnified. Daughter #1 just told me how wild it is that she can google-earth her house and mine on her phone. Still, she can do that anywhere. She may have a house (thank G-d!), but she’s not tied down to it. I can add comments to my Facebook account wherever I am, and you won’t know if I’m in Canada or back here at home–unless I’m foolish enough to tell you that my house is available for anyone to break into, since I’m not there. I only do that if and only if someone else is there. So there are no roots, just Gaps all over. Nothing to tie us down, thus no loyalties. Brand loyalty to consumerism, but not to countries. Or only how Israel is trending, but not maintaining.
And believe me, without that loyalty, that sense of need, Israel is in trouble. Certainly the secular Israelis have no sense of their lineage with the land itself; it’s just the brand at the moment. So what could we expect from anyone outside of the land?
Here is an apt tweet:
In an “I” generation – Itouch, Ipad – the only we this generation knows has two I’s in it-wii [as in Nintendo].
The article where this is featured then continues in the same vein:
Besides being a great sound bite and a perfect tweet at 92 characters, I found this provocative message to be one of the saddest statements of reality that we, as a Jewish community, face. In truth, this shocking proclamation is a global problem evidenced in a recent NY Times article, but from a Jewish communal perspective, this statement poses a challenge: how is the Jewish world, going to engage a generation of “I’s” to recognize the power of the ‘we’? Will our rich history, culture and traditions, all rooted in the power of assembly, be lost? Are we going to sit back and surrender our future as the next generation remains glued to their computer screens and smartphones? It would be a gloomy day if the ‘we’ that makes the Jewish people so strong is sacrificed under the guise of technology.
Borrowing from the social work tenet which states to “always know where the client is,” the answer may be to engage this generation using their tools as the platform and offer them the opportunity, today, to be part of their collective future. This group of individuals needs to understand the tremendous power they bring to the table. Their knowledge and understanding of web 2.0 is predicated on knowing how to catch the attention of the collective. These ‘I’s’ are keenly aware of the Jewish ‘we,’ and like previous generations, need to sense that they are the ones shaping the future of the organization.
Although, perhaps not all is lost. According to this interesting infographic about marriage and relationships, only (!) 7% of Israelis admit to having affairs, the least in the world.
Maybe this is something we can work with.