Younger rabbis are more anti-Israel than ever before. But can synagogues afford to be picky?

Hebrew Union College, a major Reform seminary in the United States, is one institution grappling with how to accept anti-Zionist students on campus. (Photo courtesy of Hovev / Wikimedia Commons)

In recent years, Jewish seminaries and synagogues have faced a problem: there aren’t enough young people looking to become rabbis. This shortage has resulted in institutions becoming more lax about who they accept—bending, for example, denominational lines for a young rabbi who at least actually wants to be there.

But then the question of Israel comes up. And in a post-Oct. 7 world, with more young rabbis identifying as non-Zionist or even anti-Zionist—young Jews who have no ties to the Holy Land in the way previous generations did—shul search committees have to ask themselves how flexible they’re willing to be. As Tevye once said, “If I bend that far, I’ll break.”

Hosts Avi and Phoebe are joined by Bonjour Chai producer Zac Kauffman to discuss the implications of this generational shift, which was recently covered in a feature story on Jewish Insider.


Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold and Phoebe Maltz Bovy. Zachary Kauffman is the producer and editor. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Socalled. The show is a co-production from The Jewish Learning Lab and The CJN, and is distributed by The CJN Podcast Network. Support the show by subscribing to this podcast, donating to The CJN and subscribing to the podcast’s Substack.