tl;dr, Vol. 6: Canada 1, USA 0
In their report of their study of Canadian Jews, Robert Brym and Rhonda Lenton found that Canadian Jews are doing much better than their counterparts to the south in every category of “assimilation indicators.”
However, they expressed some concern about “young adults” among whom “the religious basis of Jewishness seems to be weakening.”
But one can justifiably wonder: Is this really a cause for concern? …Especially when Brym and Lenton also reported that young adults are just as committed to Jewishness as older Jews. It’s just taking a different form:
Canadian Jews, particularly young adults, are finding ways of remaining Jewish that are not principally religious. A shift away from religious identification is taking place in other Jewish diaspora communities too, but its replacement by community involvement does not seem to be happening to the same extent.
In other words, Canadian Jews are much more engaged in their communities than American Jews.
At ADRABA, we know it’s not a competition, but we hope to build on this winning impulse toward community engagement and make it a norm for our students that is practiced every day. To paraphrase the Great One, 90% of engagement is mental and the other half is physical.