The article, “Search On for ‘Big Idea’ for Jewish Teens” (Dec. 2), reports that “having good friends, doing well academically and getting into a good college” were “very” or “extremely important” to the teens surveyed for the Cohen Center study, while having a strong Jewish identity ranked lower down on the list.
It is no surprise that having a strong social network ranks highest in teens’ estimation of what is important, along with academic achievement. We at HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir, see these priorities as an opportunity, not a barrier, for engaging Jewish teens. The desire to do well academically implies that achievement and excellence are intrinsically motivating for Jewish teens (and their parents). If Jewish groups offer high-quality challenging programming that is also socially engaging, the teens will come. We know this from our own experience.
HaZamir is a network of 19 choral chapters across the U.S. and in Israel, designed to strengthen Jewish identity and build pluralistic community while exemplifying the highest standard of musical performance. HaZamir proves that providing teens a Jewish context within which to excel in specific areas of interest is a Big Idea that really works.
Zamir Choral Foundation