The generation has changed. Young people are different today. They have grown up in a different world. It’s a generation of “tech- babies” and some are even addicted to their Iphones.
Many have been disillusioned by the hypocrisy they detect in the system. Young people are very perceptive and cannot be fooled. Once they lose respect they reject the system and its values. Some fellows harbor anger. They may be angry at their principal or their parents but they often project this anger on HaShem and the Torah. They may lack self- esteem and hide behind their Facebook. A screen is much safer than a personal relationship. This results in a lack of the social skills needed to relate to others. If these and similar problems are not addressed these young people will live a meaningless life of distractions or drift into negative behavior patterns. These issues must be addressed!
The irony is that most of these kids are really good kids, intelligent and gifted. They may come from the best families in Lakewood, L.A., Monsey, the Five Towns or Boro Park. But they are waiting to discover themselves and escape from their self- imposed prisons. They are waiting to be inspired and motivated. They need to find Rebbis that they can trust. It may still be subconscious but that’s why they come to Israel.
For the past 37 years, Neveh Zion in Telshe-Stone, Israel has been geared to working with these youths. Even in this troubled and challenging generation, the time tested formula still works. It takes love, sincere and unconditional. I accept you and respect you for who you are even if I can’t condone your lifestyle and behavior. It takes listening, real and empathetic listening. The Rebbi has to care and create a bond of trust. With all the technological distractions, it’s more difficult and takes longer, but the formula still works.
Neveh Zion is celebrating its 37th Annual Dinner this coming Wednesday, December 23rd at the Lawrence Yacht and Country Club in Lawrence, New York. Alumni, parents and guests from the greater New York metropolitan area are expected to attend.
The Dinner will also serve as a 25th year reunion for alumni from the 90-91 year. Many alumni and friends are gathering to honor Rabbi Yehuda Landy, who served while learning at the yeshiva for 19 years as a dorm counselor, mentor and Rebbi. The legendary Reb Yehudah finished Shas at least twice a year and yet could use his encyclopedic knowledge of sports and the latest scores to relate to any teen. Further information can be found on the website www.nevehdinner.com.