Engaging the Next Generation by Asking Tough Questions

In this update, I wanted to turn the pen over to my colleagues Tamara Fathi and Adam Hummel, who serve as Co-Chairs of CIJA’s Young Leaders Circle and members of our National Board.

Tamara and Adam bring extraordinary insight, experience, and energy to CIJA’s work. They exemplify the depth of talent and commitment of the next generation of Jewish community leadership – as seen in their report below.

– David J. Cape, Chair, CIJA


The Jewish people has always prided itself on its capacity to transmit our story, tradition, and values to the next generation. Nothing demonstrates this better than the Pesach Seder, which today remains one of the most highly observed rituals in the Jewish world – widely enjoyed by secular and observant alike.

And yet, continuity and enduring values can coexist with change. We cannot ignore the fact that the priorities and views of one generation are not necessarily shared by the next. Far from being worrisome, generational change is healthy if a community is to remain dynamic and responsive to a shifting world.

As the children of baby boomers begin to build their own families, we are reminded that Canadian Jewry will only be successful in advocacy if we strive to reflect the pulse of our under-40 grassroots. From CIJA’s perspective, this requires proactively seeking the views of those in this demographic, asking challenging questions of ourselves and our community, and demonstrating a willingness to adapt our work accordingly.

This is why we volunteered to serve as Co-Chairs of CIJA’s Young Leaders Circle, which strives to engage our generation in advocacy. It is also why we are excited that Jewish Federations of Canada – UIA and CIJA are conducting a survey of Jewish Canadians aged 18 to 40.

This research project will enable us to gain a better understanding of the interests, concerns, experiences and lifestyle of this key part of the community.

Which factors – including religion, culture, Israel, Holocaust remembrance, social justice, and others – are most important to your Jewish identity?

When it comes to various activities – such as combating anti-Semitism, supporting Jewish education, helping disadvantaged members of the community, etc. – how important should these and other priorities be to Canada’s Jewish Federations?

Is the Jewish community accepting of religious diversity? What about political diversity? Or racial and gender diversity?

The response to these and other fascinating questions has been remarkable, with thousands taking the time to make their voices heard.

If you are eligible to participate, we encourage you to do so now. If you are not, we urge you to forward this email to a member of our community in this age range.

Thank you – and have a wonderful Pesach. Chag kasher v’sameach!

Tamara Fathi & Adam Hummel

Co-Chairs, CIJA’s Young Leaders Circle

PS: If you are under 40 and would like to get involved in CIJA’s advocacy work, please contact us at info@cija.ca. We welcome advice, ideas, and even critiques – and look forward to hearing from you!

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