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August 23, 2012 - Image 33

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-08-23

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points of view

Contributing Editor


Self-Defense Differs
From Act Of Terror


Federation takes a hard aim at extending
its young adult reach.


etro Detroit offers a wealth of lifestyle
opportunities for Jewish young adults
provided they can find a well-paying
job — the highest hurdle in the local Jewish com-
munity's struggle to retain, attract and engage young
professionals. Once 96,000 strong, Detroit Jewry is
down to 67,000 people, a 30 percent decline, with
25 percent age 65 or older and just 4 percent in the
pivotal age bracket of 25-34.
So it was no surprise when
the Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Detroit named
a task force last year to study
local trend lines indicating
fewer young professionals
and young families.
The ultimate result of task
force findings was the March
launch of NEXTGen Detroit,
a new Federation division
designed to shape a strategic
plan for all programs target-
ing adults ages 21-45. NEXTGen, headed by Miryam
Rosenzweig, integrates ComrnunityNEXT, Young
Adult Division, National Young Leadership Cabinet
and Community Birthright Israel — collectively,
drivers for outreach, leadership development, meet-
and-mingle events, Annual Campaign support and
free, peer-oriented Israel trips.
The task force saw that the more young people are
attached to the Jewish community, the more likely
they would want to stay here or come back after
studying or working elsewhere. It understood that
such a connection ideally must begin in high school
and go from there, tapping into Jewish youth groups,
Jewish camps, Israel journeys and campus Hinds.

Looking Forward

NEXTGen Detroit's vision is clear ("to be the hub of
a young, vibrant Jewish Detroit") and its mission is
laudable ("to connect young Jewish adults, embrace
Jewish identity, support our community and develop
the NEXT Generation of Jewish leaders"). The
pursuit is daunting, but defining it is the first step
toward fulfilling it.
A key goal is to transform Southeast Michigan,
from the central city outward, so young Jews dis-
cover a robust Jewish community with a range of
experiences: professional to philanthropic, cultural
to educational, nightlife to religious.
In a thoughtful summer "white paper" she shared
with the IN, Rosenzweig wrote NEXTGen not only is
having an impact on Metro Detroit, but also "estab-
lishing a groundbreaking model of young-adult
engagement that will have far-reaching implications

At TribeFest 2012, Ariana Blumenfeld of

Berkley displays the Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Detroit poster that showcases the

Olde English D of the Tigers.

nationally for other Jewish communities facing simi-
lar trends:'
Time will determine just how dynamic and reso-
nant NEXTGen is. But that shouldn't diminish the
high bar the NEXTGen team is setting as it helps
recalibrate how we as a community go about engag-
ing young adults.
"The future of the Jewish community is inex-
tricably tied to the future of the Detroit area and,
therefore, to all of Southeast Michigan," Rosenzweig
wrote. "In order for young people, Jewish as well
as others, to come to or stay in Metro Detroit, they
need to feel that their future is connected to a place
where they can work, thrive, raise a family and make
a difference, personally and professionally."
Rosenzweig, 35, came to Detroit last year from
New York City with plenty of Jewish leadership-
development experience. She's no stranger to the
communal spices that draw young adults into the
organized Jewish world. She gets it that while Jewish
Detroit already is striving to capture the attention of
20- and 30-somethings, Federation also is account-
able to linking with outside drivers to help elevate
the region in the eyes of young professionals.


hould Jewish settlers involved in violent acts in
the West Bank be considered terrorists? The bet-
ter question is, "Why shouldn't they be?"
From the civilized world's standpoint, an act of terror
is terrorism regardless of who commits it.
That said, it's imperative to
distinguish between Jewish
settlers who maliciously prey
upon Muslim mosques or
other places of gathering and
settlement residents forced
by Palestinian invaders or
attackers to protect them-
This discussion bubbles
Flag of Kach and also
up in the wake of the just-
Kahane Chai
released executive sum-
mary of the U.S. State
Department's annual report on terrorism. While lavish in
its praise of Israel's role as a "resolute counterterrorism
partner," especially in tracking terrorist financing, the
country report on Israel unequivocally described settler
attacks on Palestinians as "terrorist incidents," eliminat-
ing previous distinctions between "settler violence" and
The report lists Kahane Chai, an extremist set-
tler group, as a designated terrorist group as are five
Palestinian groups, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and
two affiliates of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Notably, the PLO chairman is Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas, Israel's supposed "moderate"
partner in search of Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Kahane Chai is appropriately listed. It has roots in the
anti-Arab teachings of Rabbi Meir Kahane, a U.S.-born
extremist who founded and led the Jewish extremist
group Kach until an Arab gunman assassinated him in
New York in 1990. Israel outlawed Kach ("Thus") and its
offshoot Kahane Chai ("Kahane Lives") in 1994, a month
after a Kach supporter shot and killed 29 Muslim wor-
shippers at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, accord-
ing to the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations.
In other key findings, the State Department confirmed
four state sponsors of terrorism: Cuba, Sudan, Syria
and, of course, Iran. Interestingly, the findings further
confirmed how Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and
Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, continue to terrorize and
destabilize the Middle East.
What was said about Hezbollah is salient. The group's
"robust relationships with the regimes in Iran and Syria,
involvement in illicit financial activity, continued engage-
ment in international attack planning, and acquisition of
increasingly sophisticated missiles and rockets continued
to threaten U.S. interests in the region."
Israel and the West are justifiably concerned about
Hamas, which continues to not only rain airborne projec-
tiles on Negev towns, but also stockpile weapons smug-
gled through the Sinai, which the State Department calls
a "vast and largely ungoverned territory."
But it's equally important to take heed of Hezbollah
and the danger it presents to perceived enemies as well
as to roundly condemn Jewish settlers who embrace ter-
ror allegedly in the name of Zionism. Li

NextGen on page 34

August 23 • 2012


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