David Brooks Discusses the Power of Teen Organizations

David Brooks, New York Times columnist and author of The Road to Character, addresses the Summit on Jewish Teens about building a Jewish future.

Community philanthropists and senior professionals invested in the Jewish future attended a reception featuring New York Times columnist and author of The Road to Character, David Brooks. Through humor and insight, Brooks engaged the Summit on Jewish Teens in a conversation about the significance of involving teens in what he calls “moments of intimacy” and “joyous relationships with others.”

David Brooks shared his thoughts regarding the pressure and distractions that teens face in their daily lives, from social media to school work. Reaching teens must come through the creation of “natural community” which can be achieved through what Brooks calls the fourth level of happiness: transcendence and deep connections with other people.

For many Jewish high schoolers across the world, such connections and relationships are fostered through BBYO. David Brooks expressed “the power of teen organizations” and how commitment is the key to shaping one’s identity. “You can only make a strong commitment to something if you love it deeply,” he shared. “Love humbles us.”

Following David Brooks’ speech, teens from BBYO, NFTY, and USY joined the stage for a question and answer session. “By connecting with people from around the globe through BBYO, I’ve formed my own identity,” explained Jules Jacobs, a BBYO participant from NRE: DC Council. “Personally, when I think of my own Jewish identity, BBYO is the first thing that comes to mind. BBYO is building the Jewish future. It has given me the skills to be whoever I want to be, whether it be a senator or a community leader.”