As some of you know, I am currently on a semi-vacation in the Caribbean. Lizzie and I spent three days in Aruba, then came to Bonnaire for a Boy Scout function with a Scuba diving crew and then will finish up our vacation in Curacao for three more days.
Our dinner discussion a few nights ago was the decline in membership in “organized” religions. This, too, was one of the agenda items of a recent meeting of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting. This got me to thinking and pushed me to do a little poking around. Just look at our own Congregation. We are smaller in membership than we have ever been in the last twenty-five years. I believe that we have more mixed religion families than we have in the recent past. And, through the poking around I have found that many Millennials, although they do believe in some sort of religion, do not actively practice that religion nor do they consider themselves members of any particular House of Worship. Not wanting to point fingers at anyone but myself, my own children who were B’nai Mitzvah, two will state that they are Jewish, but do not practice, and the other two do not really acknowledge any religion. My children are not the only ones like this of members of our Congregation.
So, what does this mean for organized religion as we know it? What does it mean for Judaism? And even more concerning to me, what does that mean for OUR Congregation? Over time, will religion become less and less important until like the ripples of water on a lake as they continue to get smaller and smaller until the lake is once again as smooth as glass? Is there anything that we can do to change this massive tide of non-affiliation? So what will become of Judaism?
Just some things to think about.