Nov
2
2009

The Rumspringa Series: What We Need to Learn From Amish Gone Wild

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Rumspringa

The Amish are best known for their ascetic lifestyle and their shunning of modern technology.

Less well known is their mechanism for retaining their young folk.

In theory, a religious grouping like the Amish that is so at odds with the modern world, should find it very difficult to convince its kids that the way they grew up is preferable to the freedom and plenty in wider America.

So it’s quite surprising that so few young people choose to leave the fold permanently. It’s even more astonishing that there the Amish even have a period dedicated to youthful rebellion, called Rumspringa, in which communal rules are relaxed and Amish kids can let loose, often venturing into the wider world, drinking, drugging, fornicating, and even driving (a car – as opposed to a horse-drawn buggy).

Continue reading The Rumspringa Series: What We Need to Learn From Amish Gone Wild →

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Nov
8
2009

Melbourne Jews Gone Wild – Quietly: Rumspringa 2

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Rumspringa

Welcome, everybody, to the new Sensible Jew site*.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve met with many groups and individuals, spoken to even more over the phone or via email, and one thing is becoming increasingly obvious:
I’m not the only person concerned with our community’s current direction.

But it’s one thing to be perpetually peeved, and another to be actively doing something to fix the problems. What I believe we’re currently witnessing is our very own communal Rumspringa.

Rumspringa is the period in which Amish kids break from their communities, go into the wider world to drink, drug, and fornicate, until they’re ready to come home and take up the Amish life again.

The last Rumspringa post also noted that Melbourne Jews have a less well defined version of this that goes on for far longer, and with a less stellar rate of young people returning afterwards.

Our current Rumspringa happens at an individual and peer-group level: young people drink, drug, and fornicate but there’s no serious communal recognition of the phenomenon, or – more importantly – why it’s happening.

A very simple answer as to the appeal of drugs and alcohol, is that there really isn’t a whole lot else that’s particularly attractive for our youth to engage with in the community. Continue reading Melbourne Jews Gone Wild – Quietly: Rumspringa 2 →

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