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Read The Articles
from The Jacob Project:

Are You Ready?
Approaching the Jacob Project

Becoming Engaged:
Approaching Rosh Chodesh

What's Possible?
Approaching Shabbat

What Moves You?
Approaching Social Action

What's Missing?
Approaching Yom Kippur

Are We There Yet?
Approaching Sukkot

Meaningful Media:
Approaching Torah

Lands of Milk and Honey:
A Jewish Approach
to Thanks...giving

Celebrating Our Year Together

Our Movement's Principles:
Approaching Reform

Chosen for What?
Approaching Passover

God, Science, and
Living with Uncertainty

It's Your Choice:
Approaching Shavuot
What Moves You?
Approaching Social Action

We began our discussion, "What Moves You? Approaching Social Action," talking about the labels and stereotypes often used to describe Generation X (our age group): "Slackers;" "jaded;" "have never known hardship or been asked to unite for a common cause;" the "Whatever generation," i.e., Madonna’s naked on TV? "Whatever." War, live on CNN? "Whatever." Nothing makes much of an impact.

Then, instead of trying to determine whether these descriptions of Gen X felt accurate or inaccurate, we talked about why social justice—social action—is the aspect of Judaism that really "resonates" and appeals to so many in our age group. Is it that the other aspects of Judaism don’t feel as meaningful or relevant? That doing a good deed or writing a check to charity offers a more tangible, accessible, and immediate sense of reward than prayer, services, or study? That even one who has difficulty embracing God and spirituality can easily embrace the idea of tikkun olam? Or is it that perhaps our "slacker," "whatever" generation has a particular need for some excitement, some purpose, something that moves us? Is our generation seeking something, and if so, what?

In trying to answer these questions, we talked about how the Jewish concept of "tzedakah" differs from the more secular concept of "charity" in that tzedakah is not optional. We are commanded to give to the poor and take care of those in need…commanded, regardless of whether we feel emotionally moved to do so. This idea reflects a theme that will reveal itself frequently throughout The Jacob Project year: that Judaism demands more from us than the secular world. Maybe it’s true Gen X has never been asked to rally behind a cause greater than ourselves, like other generations have, but that does not mean we are not up to the challenge. Maybe it is even what we are seeking…

We decided we would join in Micah’s September 10th community service project, helping repair homes in the St Lukes neighborhood, and we talked about some of the things that make us proud to be part of Congregation Micah, one of which is that the first word in our Micah "slogan" is: Do.

We closed, naturally, with music; a song by Debbie Friedman:

"I promise to pursue the challenge, time is going fast… And the old shall dream dreams, and the youth shall see visions, And our hopes shall rise up to the sky. We must live for today, we must build for tomorrow. Give us time, give us strength, give us life…"

--Nickie Roberts

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Yih'yu l'ratzon imrei fi v'hegyon libi l'fanecha Adonai tzuri v'goali.

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