"On Israel, a Generation Gap" [September 17] was a timely article for my family.
We're in the midst of raising money to send my son on a trip to Israel over his winter break. His older sister went two years ago, with the same group, and was awakened to the roots of her faith in a way all the classes and family discussions never had done. I think seeing the land and meeting the people reconnects kids with a living faith and the reality of Israel as the root of that faith. A key component in the trip that my daughter took was traveling with a young Israeli. He guided them around Israel, making the connection for them between the past and the present, sharing ancient history and personal stories from his life growing up in Israel and serving in the military. The impact of seeing the sites and repeating the old stories, and the power of hearing a living story, attached my daughter for a lifetime to a place and people, which guarantees support and not just a privatized Judaism.
That only 48 percent of the "under-35 cohort would take the destruction of Israel as a personal tragedy" is horrifying. However, there is a huge gap in this study itself. Nowhere is there any indication that these people were divided according to their religious beliefs and practices. I can assure you that about 100 percent of Orthodox young people would take the destruction of Israel as the greatest tragedy in their lives. Thousands of them spend a year or more in Israel studying in Israeli schools and yeshivas after they graduate from high school in America, Canada, and England. Except for the education given to such religious young people, Jewish education here is in a sad state. The statistics cited prove this unhappy situation.
Isaac M. Goodman
Far Rockaway, N.Y.