A New Leader for the Movement and His and Our Challenges
Rabbi Rick Jacobs has now been installed as President of the Union for Reform Judaism. He and we clearly face challenges. As stated in an article in the Jewish Daily Forward about his installation:
Studies show that Reform synagogue membership overall is aging and fewer young people are joining. There are nearly three times as many people older than 65 in Reform synagogues as there are young adults, according to a 2010 study by the Berman Jewish Policy Archive and the North American Jewish Data Bank.
In his installation speech, Jacobs acknowledged the magnitude of the problem. “Unless we change our approach, there is little chance that many Jews in their 20s and 30s will even enter the revolving door of synagogue affiliation,” he said.
The article, goes on to to quote Steven Cohen, director of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at New York University and a research professor of Jewish social policy at the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, who says:
The strength of the Reform movement is that it’s been able to reach out to large numbers of less engaged Jews, including lots of mixed-married Jews. The weakness of the Reform movement is that it has successfully reached out to large numbers of less engaged Jews and mixed-married Jews. It now has the situation in which the least engaged of affiliated Jews make up large numbers of Reform congregants, and understandably bring with them weaker Jewish socialization and weaker commitments to remaining in Reform synagogues after they have bar mitzvahed their youngest child.
Temple Sinai is committed to meeting the challenges before us and staying vital and vibrant. Any thoughts?