The folks at the Pew Research Center likely didn’t poll these guys.
Last fall’s much-wept-over Pew survey of American Jewry revealed a community, especially the under-40 set, losing its moorings. Consider this, our seventh annual 36 Under 36 section, the minority report.
The young innovators profiled here marry their faith and their Jewish values to action. And they do it in service to both the Jewish community and the wider world. They’re local, and they’re global, universalists and particularists. They help coordinate disaster relief in the Philippines and they launch gemachs in Washington Heights. They bring music, and a little joy, to a pediatric oncology ward in the Bronx and work to eradicate AIDS in Uganda. They make our grandparents’ Jewish food new (and cool!) again, and they “slam” Israel’s critics in poetry that packs a lyrical punch. You’ll notice a couple of new categories in this year’s crop: medicine and business. Perhaps this says something both about the 36ers’ entrepreneurial spirit (a hedge against a sluggish economy?) and their compassion and commitment to heal a broken world.
The last word goes to one of the youngest 36ers. Mikaela Gerwin felt a cultural “hole” in her life, and in the life of her Jewish day school, even though she lives in this teeming and impossibly multicultural metropolis of ours. She and her school were just too insulated, so she worked the phones and found a nearby Catholic school to partner with, and an interfaith dialogue club was born. She noticed a hole and plugged it. Tell it to the folks at Pew.
Profiles by Heather Robinson, Gabriela Geselowitz, Steve Lipman,
Amy Sara Clark, Adam Dickter, Elie Sonnenblick, Tova Ross, Jonathan Mark, Miriam Lichtenberg, Josh Lipowsky, Shoshana Baum, Helen Chernikoff, Lauren Rothman and Elicia Brown.
Section curated by Heather Robinson
Photographs by Michael Datikash