Contemporary cultures — especially First World cultures — seem increasingly marked by an anxiety over authentic cultural identity. One might ask this question: Why do we still cling to notions of authenticity and authentic identities at all in an increasingly globalized, hybridized world that has deconstructed and exploded notions of authentic essences and absolute differences?
A “fellow traveler” reflects on his Jewish commitments. “Whether or not I officially qualify as Jewish is far less interesting to me now than how I live. Whether or not those around me are Jewish is also beside the point; it’s how we live that counts.”
Depending on the context, hearing “You don’t look Jewish” can be quite disconcerting. The words can tell a convert that they are failing at assimilating into the Jewish community; or they can tell an ex-Orthodox Jew they’ve irreparably damaged their connection to their observant community; they can tell a child that he or she is
A close friend had come to shul to hear me give a sermon on Rosh Hashanah. As she settled in expectantly, she heard a woman behind her whispering about me, “Look at the shiksa in a tallis.” That was many years ago, yet giving a sermon, a short teaching drash, on the High Holidays still challenges my
Jews by choice create their Jewish identity, for the most part, as adults. Will the increasing visibility of community leaders who have chosen Judaism — and who have a different relationship to ethnicity, history, and practice — influence contemporary Jewish life? How do Jews by choice integrate their own cultural religious history into their Jewish
Despite spending a good deal of my personal and professional life delving into the complicated morass of identity and diversity (and how identities intersect), questions related to my perception of myself as a leader, a Jewish leader, and a Jew by choice are challenging. Attempting to separate the three pieces of my identity — who