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American Jewish Identity Contruction: Capturing Youth Involvement
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In 1986 the founder and President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), Daniel Elazar, in his address to the Jewish Theological Seminary titled, The Changing Realities of the North American Jewish Community, in consideration of the integration of American Jews, wrote that it "Means more assimilation, more secularization and the acquisition of habits previously considered un-Jewish. This in turn leads to increased intermarriage as a new generation which is culturally less Jewish is at the same time more American and more easily able to find common language with non-Jewish partners of otherwise similar backgrounds". Taken that this was written near thirty years ago, the idea that Jewish relationships are threatened by the non-Jewish society is still present and has led to the adoption of techniques within the American Jewish community in attempts to revive cultural connections for the emerging Jewish youth. There are programs currently deployed within the American Jewish community that are combating these threats. What I claim is that since American Jews exist within a broader, non-Jewish community, the emerging youth are those who are most vulnerable and susceptible to the effects of multiculturalism. Thus, by providing youth with programs that are sensitive to both the preservation of a Jewish cultural identity separate from the collective and the necessity of performing an active role in the much larger non-Jewish community, they are securing a future for Jeiwhs cultural identity.