As this issue of Contact was being readied for publication, the staff of Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation received the tragic news that its beloved Executive Director, JJ Greenberg, had been fatally injured by an automobile while riding his bicycle in Israel.
Jewish summer camp is a uniquely American phenomenon. Although today we often associate camp with leisure activities — softball, Israeli dance, lines at the canteen — camps have always served an indispensable purpose in the community. Originally, Jewish camps were created to ameliorate the grim conditions of city life.
In recent years, the American Jewish community has expressed growing alarm over the lack of involvement among young adult Jews. There have been many explanations. Parents haven’t given their children a sufficient Jewish education. We are experiencing a generational shift away from the roots of Yiddishkeit. The infrastructure of Jewish life doesn’t speak the language of young adults. Judaism isn’t “cool.”
Years ago, Jewish day schools were generally associated with the most rigorously observant segments of the Jewish community. But things have begun to change. According to a 1999 Avi Chai census of American Jewish day schools, day school enrollment saw a dramatic increase in the 1990s. Among community and non-Orthodox day schools, enrollment rose by nearly 25 percent.
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