Adam Milstein contributed an article to the Jerusalem Post that was published on May 5th, 2016. It addresses how Jewish groups and leaders can address the problem of many younger Jews feeling disconnected from the land of Israel and their Judaism. Mr. Milstein heads one of the biggest outreach organizations in the United States, called the American-Israeli Council. Below is a summary of his article that was featured on the Jerusalem Post.
Mr. Milstein starts off by discussing what is widely known as the Pew problem. It is a reference to a Pew research study that found a third of all Jewish Americans that are between the ages of 18-29 have no religion. Additionally, it found that two-thirds of this group did not feel a strong bond with Israel. Jews who are not strongly connected to the state of Israel are much more likely to be disconnected form their faith, culture and other Jewish people and groups.
Another study done by Brandeis University states that more than half of American Jewish college students can not correctly answer basic questions about the Jewish State of Israel. There is a strong gap between the younger millennial generation of Jews and the older Jews who represent the parents and grandparents of the young generation of the Jews in America. Older Jews are far more likely to feel connected to the Jewish state of Israel and their Judaic background. In fact, a study found that 8 out of 10 or 80% of such Jews feel a strong connection to the Jewish state of Israel.
Adam Milstein shot down criticism that the Jewish state is actually hampering efforts to bring Jewish young people closer to Judaism and Jewish groups. This argument counts on the fact that Israel is often portrayed as being controversial and a source of conflict in the world by often biased and misinformed media. Milstein argues the opposite.
He views the Jewish state of Israel and Israeli Jews as being one of the best ways to connect Jewish youth and millenials as well as middle-aged Jewish Americans with their Jewish roots. Adam Milstein points out the tremendous success that programs such as Birthright Israel, Masa Isreal and Gap Year have had in changing the attitudes of people when it comes to viewing their Jewish background and their view on Israel. Israeli-Americans such as himself can also play a crucial role in the engagement with the Jewish community by helping to bring Israeli and Jewish culture into American Jewish society.