I am nagged by the question I posed in an earlier post when I wondered why many Jewish Teens keep their Jewish involvements a ‘secret’ from their friends and others. I wondered if we, as Jewish educators were guilty in promoting the compartmentalization of their lives by not talking about how we integrate Jewish practice and beliefs into our own lives. That may add to the problem, but I think it’s a much more complicated issue than that.
There may be a potful of ingredients that contribute to this feeling our teens have of keeping their Jewish lives separate from everything else that ‘s going on. I’ll just mention one here.
A large ingredient in this soup of guilt is a lack of presence in the digital world where our teens live. Due to a lack of resources (the usual: funding, technology, staffing) we don’t have the capacity to capitalize on social media to connect with our students. We should be connecting and collaborating with them in many more ways than we currently do. Before I hear myself wonder why it’s “Hebrew School on Tuesday”, we should figure out ways to connect with them beyond the time they’re physically in a building.We should encourage our student community to interact online. We should have a facebook page. We should be creating videos of our students saying amazing things about why they’ve continued their Jewish education. We should be able to have WiFi in every single location. We should be able to give them props in a big way about the commitment they’ve made. We should be connecting our students via web with Jewish educators who can mentor them. We should be, we should be…..