By 2LT Daniel Rosenfield
Who are the people that our Jewish community should look to for leadership?
Clergy? Politicians? Your Bubbe?
Millennial Jews, such as myself, are the ones who should be looked to for leadership. They are ready to take on obstacles and are not afraid to stand up for themselves, their faith, and the Jewish people.
But with the need for committed Jewish leaders in such demand, there must be a shift in the Jewish community. There must be an effort to look past the stereotypes, what we see on television, and understand why it is imperative for the Jewish youth to be a part of JWV programs and the greater community.
We want to take responsibility.
We are invested, and want to have the opportunity to create initiatives and programs that will impact our community. We are willing to learn about what it means to take responsibility – no matter how much that may be – and do more than talk about what needs to be done.
People listen to us.
With so many methods of communication at our fingertips, we know how to not just be heard – but listened to. We know the avenues where people are tuned in, and have a desire to make our message loud and clear! Even better, we do not rely on typical media. Social media runs our organizations, and Jewish organizations for youth are plugged into one another. When one idea, issue, or cause catches on within an organization, the entire Jewish community can be on board within hours.
We want a challenge.
We do not want it easy. We want to live up to the expectations of others, and more importantly, those we set for ourselves. Amongst Jewish youth groups, there is constant competition for how much can be raised for philanthropy. At Hillels across the nation, young Jews challenge one another for how many students they can engage and bring into Jewish programming. There is a hunger for success that you will not find amongst any other group.
We want to improve.
Millennials, no matter how brilliant we are, are always seeking ways to get better. We are hungry for educational trips, such as Birthright Israel, or personalized learning, such as Chabad’s Sinai Scholars. Young Jews are effective because we know that we must constantly sharpen our skills and knowledge base to compete and provide an edge that is needed in our world.
As I begin my first assignment as an Air Force Public Affairs Officer, I cherish the memories made and the lessons learned as a growing leader of my Jewish community. From fundraising to writing to program planning and more, so much of my leadership experience was because members of the Jewish community invested in me. They saw the potential in younger Jews and provided unmatched opportunities. They made a place for young Jews and created a path for their success.
At your next Post gathering, I urge you to spend a few minutes discussing how you can engage young Jews – especially those planning on wearing the same uniform that you so bravely wore. By passing on your lessons and laying the foundation for us, together we can strengthen the Jewish people.
Your Bubbe would be proud.
Second Lieutenant Daniel Rosenfield will be a public affairs officer stationed at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota. He is an in-service member of Jewish War Veterans Post #256 out of Dallas, Texas.
Volume 71. Number 3. Fall 2017