‘Facebook’; ‘Twitter’ ; ‘google +’;‘bbm’ and the like. It doesn’t take a Hollywood blockbuster to dictate the social milieu today’s youth generation is networking in. Young people today are steadily interacting on a virtual level. The desire for exclusivity, intimacy and keeping the personal, personal are replaced by a need to get one’s individual ‘status’ or thoughts out there, increasing contacts and ‘friends’ groups and generally striving to be connected and in tune with the rest of the world.
So how does this surge of a virtual interactive culture apply to youth movements who are the drivers of creating Jewish youth counter culture? Well, we flourish in it. It sounds a tad paradoxical that movements which aim to create a membership body that functions at odds with the imperfect outside world in order for it to live up to its Jewish Ideological ethos, will flourish in this virtual interaction of the masses. However this is simply not the case, in fact, it poses no challenge to us but further encourages us to live out our pillar of Reform Judaism.
Reform Judaism emerged in a changing and turbulent world for Jews. The Enlightenment was reviving Renaissance concepts of the ‘Universal Man’, religious doctrine was being questioned by the emergence of science and the concept of the power of God was being replaced by the power of man. There was no set direction for European Jewry at the time but multiple ones. Some wished to assimilate, others chose to immigrate and others chose to isolate themselves from a world too much with them. Reform Jews chose to integrate. They began synthesising the modern world around them with their age old Jewish traditions and customs. It took a while to merge to new with the established which often led to Reform Jews becoming extreme in their changes, but slowly they developed a healthy manner of practicing their Judaism in tandem with the external world whilst still holding on dearly to their core Jewish values.
In the same way as the early pioneers of Reform Judaism strived to make Judaism relevant to them and applicable to the dynamic world around them so are Reform Jews and in particular Netzer, as Reform Jewish youth are integrating and working within the confines of our social network today. Netzer has ‘facebook’, email, ‘bbm’, ‘twitter’, its own website, and much more. As a movement we use such avenues of communication to interact with our Chanichim and madrichim, spreading the news of upcoming events, initiating important discussion forums, connecting with Netzer Olami and other international sniffim, keeping up to date with current events of central importance to us as a movement and our membership body and of course, letting our voice be heard!
Check it out : facebook.com/NetzerSA