A new initiative of the Jewish Future Pledge involving Jewish youth organizations takes an innovative approach to the challenge of keeping teens and young adults connected to Judaism and fostering a lasting commitment to Jewish values and community.
The Jewish Future Pledge is a global movement which asks Jews and Jewish allies to make the moral commitment to include Jewish causes or the state of Israel in their estate planning. Jewish Youth Pledge was created to further the goals of the Jewish Future Pledge by inspiring and educating the next generation of Jewish community members.
The Jewish Youth Pledge asks Jewish teens and young adults from around the world to commit to being active, contributing members of the Jewish community. As part of JYP, Jewish youth and college organizations run a program in which youth, aged 13-24, write self-reflective letters to their future selves, envisioning the role of Jewish values in their lives. Stored in the Jewish Youth Pledge Time Capsule, participants receive a text reminder every two years and a letter copy at the fifth, tenth, fifteenth, and twentieth anniversaries, revisiting their values and commitments to the Jewish world.
With the official launch of the Jewish Youth Pledge, JFP’s mission is to redefine how Jewish youth and alums connect, engaging them in meaningful conversations and inspiring a renewed dedication to their shared heritage. The effort also strengthens ties between Jewish youth organizations and their alums.
Letters start out with the powerful prompt: I hereby pledge to act today and throughout my lifetime to strengthen the Jewish people and Israel. I make this commitment because I have a responsibility to ensure that my generation writes the next chapter of the Jewish story and remains a strong link in the chain of generations.
According to Jewish Future Pledge founder Mike Leven: “The Jewish Youth Pledge is a powerful vehicle for equipping our next generation with the essential tools and resources to nurture their Jewish identity and actively shape the community’s future. By taking the pledge, Jewish youth can embrace the rich history and values and unite with a vibrant community of like-minded individuals who share the same commitment to the continuity of the Jewish people.”
During its soft launch, JYP has met with great success from both participants and partner organizations, securing more than 13,200 pledges to date, and forging partnerships with more than 45 youth programs across the United States, Canada, and Israel.
“We’ve seen a profound effect of the participants as evidenced by their letters,” added Leven. “Participants write to remind themselves of the strong sense of comfort that Judaism has brought to their lives. They write committing themselves to attend synagogue, make time for Shabbat dinners, and devote themselves to making the world a better place. In the midst of the rise of antisemitism and assimilation, their pledges bring hope to the continuation of our way of life.”
The Jewish Youth Pledge has gained support from prominent Jewish organizations, including Taglit-Birthright Israel, BBYO, NCSY, Masa Israel Journey, JNF, Young Judaea, AEPi, BU Hillel, and the Union of Reform Judaism. Leven says the initiative welcomes new partners now that it has launched.
“The Jewish Youth Pledge and digital time capsule are powerful tools to remind people that the profound Jewish moments of their youth can be guideposts for their adult lives,” stated BBYO CEO Matt Grossman. “Organizations like BBYO stay relevant in their memories as we encourage them to build meaningful Jewish lives.”
Eli West recently took the Jewish Youth Pledge citing the desire to hone his pride and the responsibility he feels for the Jewish world and Israel.
“I grew up with immense Jewish pride, and this has profoundly shaped the way I embrace the responsibility I have to my people and my land, Eretz Yisrael,” West shared. “As I’ve gotten older, my focus has shifted from Israeli history to the Jewish youth, American Jewry, and our Diaspora identity. I’m passionate about educating the next generation, preparing them to live proud Jewish lives in a secular world, and equipping them with the skills to combat antisemitism. The Jewish Youth Pledge inspires us to grow and evolve, continually reconnecting with our mission. Reading my letter two years later reminds me of my purpose and drive, continuing to fuel my dedication to making a difference in the Jewish world.”
For more information about The Jewish Youth Pledge and to take the pledge, visit, www.jewishyouthpledge.org.