Yerach Meiersdorf

Navigating the Crossroads: Challenges and Solutions for Young Jewish Adults

Young adults from around the world come to volunteer in agriculture. Credit: Karina Alifirova

For Israelis, October 7th was a turning point, and its aftermath could spell either triumph or social defeat. However, for young Jewish adults living outside of Israel, the outcomes hold significant and potentially devastating consequences. A military victory might breed anti-Semitism in their surroundings, while a defeat would only heighten the threats they face.

Most young Jewish adults identify as liberals and often live in predominantly non-Jewish societies. Regardless of their upbringing, be it in Jewish institutions or not, they generally hold a positive view of the Jewish people, recognizing the positive influence of their parents, educators, and rabbis. Yet, they grapple with multiple crises.

The first crisis revolves around their non-Jewish environment, with some experiencing strained friendships due to external pressures. The second crisis involves deciding whether to support Israel in the ongoing war. Despite feeling abandoned by the state of Israel, they acknowledge that anti-Israel sentiment also targets them personally. The third crisis is the newfound visibility of their Jewish identity, forcing them to choose between outward expression and potential concealment.

In the coming years, navigating Jewish identity will be a paramount challenge for these young adults.

A Potential Solution lies in action—being proactive rather than passive. Recognizing this need, Marom organization (young adult department of Masorti Olami) initiated a program bringing together young people from diverse corners of the globe for a volunteer experience in Israel. Participants from Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, France, and Uganda expressed gratitude for the opportunity to make a tangible impact during tumultuous times.

As young Jewish adults grapple with identity, support, and conflicting loyalties, organizations like Marom are stepping up to provide avenues for action. By engaging in meaningful initiatives, these individuals can navigate the challenges posed by the events since October 7th and actively shape their Jewish identity in the years to come.

About the Author
Yerach Meiersderof, Rabbi of "Marom" organization, Masorti movement for young adults. A Jewish writer and educator dedicated to fostering meaningful connections and inspiring the next generation.
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