NAME: Jamie Greenstein, 30
HEBREW NAME: Yosefa Leeba
HOMETOWN: South Hamilton
CURRENTLY LIVING IN: Swampscott
ALMA MATERS: Hamilton-Wenham ‘07, Salem State ‘11
JOB: Marketing programs manager
FAVORITE FOOD: Tex-Mex and Latin-inspired dishes, guacamole, falafel
FAVORITE MUSIC: Top 40 hits from the ‘60s, ‘70s, all the way to today. Latin music is one of my favorites.
FAVORITE BOOK: “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant
FAVORITE MOVIE: “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights”
FAVORITE TV SHOWS: “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Younger,” “This Is Us”
FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATIONS: Israel, Disney World. I would love to go to different parts of Europe.
FAVORITE JEWISH PEOPLE NOT IN YOUR FAMILY: I love all Jewish people, so I can’t really name somebody. But I love my friends and my family, Jewish and not Jewish. Selma Blair is really showcasing strength.
FAVORITE JEWISH HOLIDAY: I love all of them: I love reflecting on Yom Kippur, I love all of the food and social aspects of the Passover Seder, Shabbat – winding down and relaxing after a long week with friends.
WHAT WAS YOUR JEWISH BACKGROUND GROWING UP?
I grew up conservative at Temple Ner Tamid in Peabody. I attended their preschool, the Hebrew school, I was bat mitzvahed there, and my parents and I actually attend Temple Ner Tamid and I bring my son to different activities that they have there, and so I’m still pretty active. I really wasn’t in tune with my own form of Judaism until I went to college in Miami [at Florida International University] my freshman year and kind of played around with different aspects of Judaism. I was shomer Shabbat when I was a freshman in college in Miami, so I kind of played around with being more observant, going to synagogue every morning, but it was Miami Beach, and it was always warm, and we were able to walk outside, and I was with people my age bracket, so it was really fun. I came up and finished school here at Salem State, and kind of lost touch with that aspect of being shomer Shabbat, but I still went to shul every now and then with my dad or at Chabad, so I guess you could say I found a happy medium between super observant and conservative, but I do actually consider myself conservative.
YOU HAVE A YOUNG SON, AHARON. ARE YOU BRINGING HIM UP JEWISH?
I am bringing him up Jewish – he goes to the JCC for day care and preschool – he’s only 2½, so not a preschooler yet. We do Shabbat every Friday at the preschool, and I do all the Lappin programming and we just started Rekindle Shabbat this past weekend. So really for me, I’m becoming almost more involved because I have a young son.
FROM WHAT YOU’VE OBSERVED, IS THIS TYPICAL AMONG AMERICAN PARENTS?
I think it depends. I’ve talked to quite a bit of millennials who have kids, and some of them find it difficult to pinpoint where they fit in with Jewish programming because sometimes if it’s an interfaith relationship or marriage that they’re in, a certain aspect might be a little uncomfortable for their spouse. So I think having a variety of programming and not having such pressure to join a specific shul or be associated with a certain sect of Judaism is kind of important for millennials vs. just have the social programming of it to kind of keep them Jewish and have them be practicing in different ways.
ARE MILLENNIALS PARENTING IN A DIFFERENT WAY THAN THEIR PARENTS DID?
I cannot speak for other millennials in terms of their parenting – I feel like I am a very social parent – I am not afraid to take my son out and do different activities with him, to bring him with me to appointments and grocery stores, and things like that. I feel like some millennials can be a little bit restrictive in terms of being – “afraid” isn’t the right terminology – they don’t go out so much. I’m finding some millennial moms that I know are very structured to naptime and bedtime, which can be really great for a child, but at the same time can lose different aspects of the social circles that they can be a part of. Back when our parents were younger, it was you join a synagogue when you have kids, and you’re part of that synagogue, and you grow up going to Hebrew school and all that – now I think it’s a little different. I don’t think the association is fully there for millennials at a certain place.
DO YOU THINK JEWISH MILLENNIALS WILL MOVE BACK TO THE NORTH SHORE AND RAISE THEIR KIDS HERE?
Yes – I’ve seen it firsthand. I just had two friends move back here from the city because they’re pregnant and want to be close to their parents in Swampscott. It’s happening – there are a lot of millennials who once they have children, do want to be closer to their parents, and I think if the Jewish community starts to change the way they think about things and include millennials in their programming, it will reflect in more millennials coming home once they want to start their own families.