Wicked Son

If You Will It: Rebuilding Jewish Peoplehood for the 21st Century


Hundreds of thousands of young Jews have drifted away from the American Jewish community and many more may follow. This book explains to Jewish parents, donors, and organizations how Jewish education, Jewish summer camping, and time spent in Israel can revive and strengthen Jewish identity.

American Jewish identity is steadily weakening.  National surveys show hundreds of thousands of children with one, or even two, Jewish parents not being raised as Jews by religion or to think of themselves as members of the Jewish community. And the surveys show that young American Jews are far less engaged with and supportive of Israel than their parents’ and grandparents’ generations—even after the Hamas attacks on October 7, 2023 and the Gaza war that followed.

What can Jewish parents and organizations do to ensure that future generations of American Jews will have a strong Jewish identity? Elliott Abrams looks at the history of the American Jewish community and its relationship with Israel—from the high points of Israel’s creation in 1948 and the Six-Day War in 1967, to the years before the Second World War and now in the 21st century when many American Jews turned away from the Jewish State. He tells American Jewish parents, donors, and organizations where to focus: on getting children a serious Jewish education, sending them to Jewish summer camps, and bringing them to Israel for weeks, semesters, or academic years. These are the building blocks for Jewish identity that work reliably for young American Jews—especially those who are not Orthodox in their faith.

Abrams, author of Faith or Fear: How Jews Can Survive in a Christian America, brings together the latest survey data, his own experiences at the highest levels of the US government, his knowledge of Israel, and his role as chairman of Tikvah, the Jewish educational non-profit organization, to provide the answers to the toughest questions American Jews—especially American Jewish parents—are facing.