Posts Tagged ‘Young Jews’

‘Control’ Alternating With ‘Delete’

July 10, 2014

This article first appeared in June/July 2014 issue of Hadassah Magazine.

Illustration by Davide Bonazzi

Illustration by Davide Bonazzi

Lisa Samick was 35 when she watched her younger sister, a new mother, die of metastatic breast cancer.

Judah Schiller was 35 when he was left to raise three kids alone when his wife suddenly died of massive internal bleeding three days after giving birth to their third child.

Gabrielle Birkner was 24 when she got a call at work informing her that her father and stepmother had been murdered in a home invasion.

We all contend with loss, mourning and grief. Everyone confronts the death of a loved one at some point. But for some of us it comes sooner rather than later. While no one is truly prepared for loss, young adults in their twenties and thirties feel even less prepared. With few—if any—of their peers having gone through a similar experience, they are left charting their own course through the emotional and practical challenges that come in the wake of an immediate family member’s death.

Some young Jews find comfort in age-old Jewish rituals and in their local Jewish community. However, in the Internet age, when we live so much of our lives online, those experiencing loss often turn to Google in search of relevant and resonant resources. They may sit shiva but also reach out to their social media circles for support.

Click here to read more.

© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.



Dude, A Jewish Project That Is All About The Journey

May 19, 2013

This article was first published in The Times of Israel.

Filmmaker Jessie Kahnweiler tries a Hasidic man's suit on for size in her new web series, 'Dude, Where's My Chutzpah?' (photo credit: courtesy of Jessie Kahnweiler)

Filmmaker Jessie Kahnweiler tries a Hasidic man’s suit on for size in her new web series, ‘Dude, Where’s My Chutzpah?’ (photo credit: courtesy of Jessie Kahnweiler)

Jessie Kahnweiler’s bubbe died and left her a lot of money, but she can’t get it unless she “lives Jewish” for a year. Well, not really, but this is the conceit of “Dude, Where’s My Chutzpah?”— a new comedic documentary web series chronicling the young filmmaker’s recent journey into the wide and deep world of Jewish tradition and expression. The payoff involves no cash, but a better understanding of Kahnweiler’s own spirituality and Jewish identity instead.

The 11-part series has a movie-within-a-movie kind of feel (think Sacha Baron Cohen in“Borat”), and Kahnweiler plays a character that is a riff on her real persona. “It’s me, but with better clothes,” she quipped in a phone conversation with The Times of Israel.

The series, which kicks off this week with a launch party at the Downtown Independent Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, is Kahnweiler’s Six Points Fellowship project. She is a member of the first Los Angeles cohort of the UJA-Federation-sponsored fellowship program for artists creating new work that explores Jewish ideas and experience.

“This is not your Birthright Israel promo video,” Kahnweiler, 28, warned about her edgy series, which takes her from Los Angeles to Israel and back, searching for God, discovering Israel and Palestine, healing the world and looking for love. Along the way she meets a plethora of people who share with her their version of Judaism, while putting up with her humorous schtick.

Click here to read more and watch the web series trailer video.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

The Longer Reach Of The Helping Hand

June 23, 2011

This post first appeared as “Young Jews Love To Volunteer, Though Not for Jewish Organizations” on The Shmooze blog of the Forward.

A just-released study on young Jews and volunteerism reveals that, although young Jews are committed to community service and volunteering, they tend not to associate that interest with their Jewish identities. This is the case despite the fact that commitment to volunteerism increases with a young Jew’s level of religious involvement. The study also found that most service work is locally based, and that Israel is not a focus for young Jews’ volunteer efforts.

The study, called “Volunteering + Values: A Repair the World Report on Jewish Young Adults” was commissioned by the service organization Repair the World and was conducted as a collaborative effort between the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University and Gerstein | Agne Strategic Communications. It used a sample of young Jewish adults, ages 18-35, from among the 300,000 diverse applicants to the Taglit-Birthright Israel program. Some survey respondents were alumni of the program, while others were not. Additional respondents were chosen through Knowledge Networks, which provides a representative sample of the U.S. population using probability-based sampling techniques.

Click here to read more.

© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.