There are a number of large well established and well funded Jewish organizations that have been around for a number of decades. These organizations, like Hadassah, B’nai Brith, or AIPAC, while important to the larger Jewish community, are typically shunned by the Jewish Young Adult of today.
Part of the reason for the disassociation stems from demographic differences between the JYA community and the typical members of these large Jewish organizations. Organization members are overwhelming part of the Jewish Elders category; frequently parents or grandparents of the JYAs themselves. A Jewish Elder is defined as any Jew who does not use text messaging for one reason or another. (Note, reasoning behind text-message avoidance by JEs include “I don’t know how to work this thing”, or the common “These letters are so small”)
(Jewish Elders in their natural habitat)
Another reason for the division between JYAs and large Jewish organization is the JYA’s incessant need to assert their independence from their predecessors. While this attempt at independence is admirable, it is based on the JYA’s counterfactual belief that he/she will not end up becoming a JE in the future.
While the JYA of today will claim to avoid any interaction with large Jewish organizations, it is not uncommon for the JYA to simply be either hiding the truth or involved in one of the carefully disguised sub-organizations that cater to JYAs, like BBYO or Young Judaea. Many JYAs will claim ignorance or disbelief when asked about their relationship to large Jewish organizations.
“Rachel”, a female JYA, when asked about her Lifetime Membership to Hadassah, responded “It’s totally not my fault. My great aunt Esther signed me up as a Bat Mitzvah present”. “Matt”, another JYA, had a similarly elusive reply when questioned about the monthly AIPAC flyers he receives in the mail, stating “I mean, I just get them, you know, I don’t actually go to their meetings or anything like that”.
Even though the JYA will go to extremes to convince Non-JYAs that he/she is unaware of their connection to large Jewish organizations, there is an inevitable outcome that will always favor the organizations. Eventually the JYA becomes a Jewish Adult and suddenly realizes a pressing need to acknowledge these organizations, replenishing the numbers and maintaining head count at board meetings.