If you were cast away on an island with just one Jewish text for company, which would you choose?
This week Gabriel Webber and Tom Francies, of Liberal Judaism’s youth movement LJY-Netzer, select The Book of Joel
In the Book of Joel, it says: “The old shall dream dreams, and the youth shall see visions.” Most people may know this line from the popular song by Debbie Friedman.
This text is so inspirational to Liberal Judaism’s youth that we featured it on our summer T-shirt last year. This is an idea that we take into LJY-Netzer a lot. We find it so inspiring working with young people and finding they are the ones seeing the visions that will be the future of Liberal Judaism and, indeed, Judaism as a whole. One of the guiding principles of Liberal Judaism youth movements throughout history is the belief in young people to make a difference in the world and be a force for good.
This was taken a step further at our most recent Veidah – LJY-Netzer’s annual decision making forum – where our older members (school Years 11+) voted to add a pillar of ‘Youth Empowerment’ to our three existing pillars of Liberal Judaism, Progressive Zionism and Tikkun Olam (social action). As movement workers, one of the key ways we educate is to use unconventional methods to help our young people fully engage with Jewish texts.
For example, not many people would choose to sit down and read The Book of Joel – no matter what their age! So we use the Debbie Friedman song – which is regularly sung on our events – to get people to talk about the idea that “the youth shall see visions” and what this means.
We also use Veidah and Kinus – the sister event where younger members (school Years 7 to 10) choose what gets brought to Veidah – to help put this principle into practice.
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