Z is for…

Our research for The Shift revealed four key themes that drive Gen Zers: authenticity, affiliation, gathering and wellbeing. We asked Moishe House Community Builders what each theme means to them and how the theme might play a role in their lives, either currently or in the future:


I believe authenticity means bringing your full self to a situation, not conforming to fit with what you think others want or to make someone else feel more comfortable. When I consider someone authentic, I see their vulnerabilities and their strengths clearly; I’m not worried that they have hidden motives or are trying to get something without saying it, all the cards are on the table. I would consider an authentic person to be trustworthy and know themselves wellā€”they are the author of their own life, not allowing outside forces to dictate what they can or can’t do. I try to be as authentic as I can be when I’m with friends and my partner. Sometimes, when I’m meeting new people or facilitating a group, I have to be a little less authentic, to be less myself, and more of a container for the others present to feel they can bring their full authentic selves.

-Amanda Herring, PLR Facilitator


For me, gathering is an experience when you find yourself as a part of the community. It is usually a bright impression that brings warm and inspirational feeling of fullness. Despite the fact that there are few such gatherings in a year, they are unforgettable, and I still feel the influence on me from each of them. For me, the value of gathering is an opportunity to meet good friends or new people, to relax, to do something together, to express yourself, to break out of the routine. It’s wonderful when it happens outside the city.

-Anna Babkina, MH Moscow alumna & PLR facilitator


Affiliation is a core value in both my work and personal lives. To me, affiliation means commitment, connections, and community. As a Kansas City Moishe House resident and the Engagement Associate at KU Hillel, affiliation in the lens of community engagement is a key aspect of my life. Both my Moishe House and Hillel communities would not be successful without the commitment of the community and the connections made through relationship building.

-Melanie Edwards – MH Kansas City resident



Wellbeing is the ability to be myself when I have an organ that never stops vibrating. I deploy wellness practices in the classroom with my high schoolers, to get them to breathe together and transform from hyperactive individuals to a calm and collected community. Wellness is also a luxury that I use when enhancing Jewish rituals. As an ImmerseNYC mikva guide, I create and foster rituals and other mitzvot to celebrate new beginnings and close the chapter on painful pasts. These few moments of peaceā€”however contrived, luxurious, or impermanentā€”keep many of us humming along when we get busy or stressed. Iā€™m a cynic, wary of empty promises. And yet, upon a moment of reflection, wellness plays a huge role in my life.

-Eli Reiter – MHWOW host