David-Seth Kirshner
Author of Streams of Shattered Consciousness

Investment Advice

I have never taken a Series 7 examination, nor do I understand the Stock Market well. Still, I have some investment advice for you: Go long on young Jewish leaders.

Allow me to share why I am so bullish about our future.

I spent the pastfive days in Israel with almost two dozen Jewish American leadership aged 22-35. In each of them, and as a collective, I found a deep sense of curiosity, a rich appreciation of the complexity of Jewish life and Zionism, and an eagerness to roll up their sleeves and shape the world they deserve to inherit.

Much has danced around the media air waves of the challenges with today’s young people. The “woke” crowd that is lacking nuance, and who loves to rally around a good cause even when it conflicts with moral codes. We have been stymied as we meet a generation of college students who pay hundreds of thousands for an education but leave school with little wisdom.

That is NOT what I saw this week.

There will always be haters and those that are gunning against Israel or Jews. The world is brimming with people who are satiated on sound bites in place of data or facts. There are those who cannot do the right thing or even others who thinking they are doing the right thing but do horrible things to get there. Indeed, we have seen countless college kids and young people who have demonized Jews to recognize Palestinians. There have been those so opposed to murder that they call for “throwing Jews off cliffs.” We have witnessed the dehumanization of rape, kidnap and murder victims all for the sake of believing another side. The hypocrisy is too thick for a chain saw.

But during this time, we have not spent enough time focusing on those who have taken on the misguided shouters on campus. We have not applauded the students and leaers who muster the courage around the keg to push back on friends who are sharing un-and misinformed data. We haven’t harrumphed the twenty-somethings who have surfed the web and inundated social media with facts, figures and compelling memes that bring attention to hostages, victims and double standards. What about the throngs of young people who have sacrificed Saturday nights and Sunday mornings to rally, march, travel to DC, send in money and advocate for the proper Jewish and Zionist values they absorbed?

When with these young leaders in Israel we met with and supported first responders, baked pastries for soldiers with personal notes, shared cocktails and ideas with leadership that covers the gamut of left, center and right-wing views. We toured the street art that expresses the pain, frustration and hope of a young nation wounded and healing. We consoled bereaved families and prayed with those waiting for any sign of life from their loved ones. We visited the now holy site of the Nova festival and looked in the eyes of the posters of faces of almost 300 souls who amid dancing and singing and doing what young people should have been doing, were beaten, raped, brutalized and barbarically murdered. This youth looked at those posters and saw themselves. They saw their own social orbit.

Tomorrow’s leaders’ tears are salty too. Their worries are complex and their abilities to effect change are unparalleled.

On October 6th, the generation that most Israelis were ready to write off have since demonstrated a sense of leadership, patriotism and sacrifice that is unlike anything their ancestors could have dreamt. They are fighting a war more fiercely, smartly and selflessly than any other time in our history and the results are evident. They are holding their broken families together while continuing to learn and live.

Each dead soldier is more than our nation can bear. One more is too many. But the numbers of our enemy combatants that have been eliminated while our soldiers have bravely saved their fellows in arms is unmatched and a testament to their bravery and courage.

So many in our world, especially at times of difficulty and challenge, look to short our options. I would not. Perhaps there are some who we could cut our losses with and move forward. But this is a time to take stock (ahem) and invest big-time in our future. We have endless opportunities in front of us if we just look at the prospective and get in the market.

One person told me recently, we have grown to love wars that last six days and coffee that is made instantly. But the best things in life take time to age, mature and ferment. So too with our youth. Let’s give them the ingredients, support and resources to help us navigate this moment. Include them in our committees and commissions, our delegations, missions and gatherings and listen closely to their voice and be infected by their energy and courage, perspective and wisdom.

There is way more than a coalition of the willing. There is an army of people who if we make a small investment today will yield enormous dividends in our shared future.

About the Author
David-Seth Kirshner is the senior rabbi of Temple Emanu-El, a Conservative synagogue in Closter, New Jersey. He is the past President of the NY Board of Rabbis and the NJ Board of Rabbis and is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Hartman Institute and serves on the Executive Committee of the JFNA. Rabbi Kirshner was appointed to the New Jersey/Israel Commission by Governors Christie and Murphy. Rabbi Kirshner is a National Council member of AIPAC and an adjunct faculty member at the Academy for Jewish Religion, (AJR). He is the author of Streams of Shattered Consciousness, featured in The NY Times Book Review (Feb '24) and has over 11,000 copies in circulation in its first three months since publication. He has spoken on his book and topics connected to Judaism and Zionism across the world.
Related Topics
Related Posts