MELVIN L. AND SHOSHANA R. SILBERMAN
Challenges to Parent and Community
Adolescence is a modern phenomenon. In earlier times, one went from being a dependent child to an adult without a prolonged period of transition. Today, young people find themselves for a stretch of five years or more, as lyrics from A Chorus Line put it, "too young to take over, too old to ignore." While they are waiting, they in effect remake their personalities, shedding childlike characteristics and trying more adult ones on for size. It is an awkward time for children and parents alike as they all try to figure out how to get along without compromising personal goals. If we look to the Jewish tradition, in both its teachings and practices, we find a wealth of resources to guide us in shaping a family as well as a communal response to the challenge that adolescence poses.
When children enter adolescence, their parents are usually in for a big surprise. Even youngsters who were considerate, accepting, and obedient a short time before