Matan Rudner
Immigrant, Kibbutznik, and Lone Soldier

An (angry) open letter to millennial Jews

I’ve just about had it with millennial Jews. For years, especially now with the rise of Trump, you have been raising your voices against the American Jewish community and against Israel. There have been marches and protests and new organizations formed to fight the seemingly “out of touch” establishment. It’s been one of the most frustrating social phenomena I’ve ever experienced.

Many of your concerns are, of course, legitimate. You wish our organizations took a harder stance against Trump and I absolutely agree. You hope Netanyahu and his far-right cronies are replaced with a liberal, leftist government and I hope so too. You want the “establishment” to raise its voice loudly and clearly against right-wing antisemitism and I want the same. I attend the protests and I espouse social justice- by and large we are on the same page.

What’s infuriating, then, isn’t that you feel this way, its both the way you go about expressing these concerns and the fact that these are the only things you seem to care about.

You go about protesting AIPAC and the Jewish Federations and as you scream about injustice, you look perplexed and confused. You wonder why the American Jewish community isn’t listening to you.

Maybe, just maybe, they aren’t listening because the only time you care to identify as Jews is when you’re pissed off at AIPAC or at Israel. Maybe if our generation actually gave a shit about the Jewish people, our people’s leadership would give a shit about us.

We overwhelmingly do not observe Jewish customs (including Shabbat & Kashrut); ideals of physical and sexual restraint are foreign to us; most of us don’t speak a word of our mother tongue; and 73% of us non-Orthodox American Jews have decided to abandon our people and marry non-Jews. Our children are growing up to be less and less Jewish and that doesn’t seem to bother us.

We have traded 3,000 years of civilization and a proud national identity for “cultural Judaism” and some bullshit religion of protests and social justice.

But if we actually involved ourselves in our communities, and if we thought that our heritage, including our religion, culture, ethnicity and nationality, was worthwhile maybe we’d have a seat at the table. But instead of engagement, we’ve declared an arrogant resistance in defiance of an establishment that was never really against us in the first place.

If we don’t like the eery silence on right-wing anti-semitism we should try calling out rampant left-wing anti-semitism.

If we don’t like the American Jewish establishment’s stance on the Trump administration, we have to get involved and change from within the organizations that serve as the back bone of our community.

And if we want Israel to take more steps towards peace, then for the love of Hashem we have to stand up for Israel. We must fight for her on our campuses and on the battlefields of the Middle East.

I cannot make it clear enough that Israel does not exist to please young American Jews. Israel is the Jewish homeland and exists to give us national autonomy and to ensure the protection of world Jewry. Please don’t expect concessions from a country for which you’ve never once lifted a finger.

If you care about Israel, then move there and join the IDF, or at the very least spend time there, learn Hebrew, and learn our history. I urge you to bring both Israel and the American Jewish community into your hearts; I promise they will take you in return.

But if you’re angry and disillusioned and protesting not because you care but because its increasingly become a “burden” to call yourself a Jew, then don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

About the Author
Matan made Aliyah after graduating from high schoool and currently serves as a Lone Soldier in the IDF. He's obsessed with maps, krembo, and Zionism.
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