WASHINGTON (May. 18)
Even though the average Jewish teenager of the next decade may be “less religious” than his counterpart of today he will probably be more aware of himself as a Jew and will be “more likely” to travel to Israel. That at least is the view drawn from an informal survey of the 53 social group workers who comprise the full-time professional field staff of the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, It was disclosed during a four-day planning conference of BBYO’s policy making body, the B’nai B’rith Youth Commission. Almost 60 percent of the staff maintains that at least for the years immediately ahead, the average Jewish teenager will be “less likely” to attend religious services. Yet an even larger group–73 percent–believes the Jewish teenager of the next decade will, nevertheless, be “more consciously Jewish” and “more strongly attached to Israel” than the teenager of today.
Increasing numbers of youth. says 62 percent of the staff, will want to settle in Israel permanently. Moreover, some predicted events in the Middle East could trigger a new wave of pro-Israel sentiment that, in the words of one regional director, could “bring a rise of youth’s commitment to Israel that will exceed anything we’ve seen so far.” A point of general agreement is that use of marijuana would either remain at current levels or increase–but that the use of “hard” drugs would probably diminish among Jewish youth. By a slight margin survey participants believe future Jewish youth will be “more likely to volunteer for service in behalf of others” than the Jewish youth of today–and to a similar degree, the staff thinks the upcoming generation will be “less materialistic” than the youth of today. A smaller percentage sees “no change” from the present. Less than 2 percent believe youth of the next generation will be “more materialistic” than the youth of today.