The Nondescript Jew

The Nondescript Jew

Today, you are being reminded forcefully that we are Jewish. You can’t hide or merge into the woodwork of wider society. So you go into the streets to proudly declare your identity and connection to Eretz Yisrael. But what really is your identity and connection? Are you rooting for a team that you happen to be born into? Or are you identifying with your family history? Or is it a knee-jerk reaction to fear, antisemitism, and wanton hate?  

If you were to measure the Jewishness of your life what would be the soul-meter score? Oh, but you tell me that you keep the Jewish values that underlie western society. Does tracing your society’s mores to a Biblical root make your life Jewish? Perhaps you identify, en passant, as a ‘culinary Jew’ who just loves gefilte fish and cholent. Or perhaps as a ‘cerebral Jew’ who reads voraciously, assiduously following every internet-based Israel news source. Or you might be a ‘cardiac Jew’ who feels emotionally Jewish, right through to the kishkes, but scratch the surface and you would find total ignorance of meaningful Jewish content.

Forgive me. My words border on sarcasm.  But it saddens me to see so many modern, seemingly sophisticated, and otherwise erudite, human beings who happen to be Jews, so terribly ignorant of the very content of their identity. They trek through life armed with a minimalist barmitzva version of Judaism. At university they encounter debate, inquiry, and these days, abuse – and can only muster slogan-bytes of identity. In professional life they steer clear of discussion of meaningful values fearing finding themselves totally out of their depth. And then comes advanced age and they start to wonder: what was it really all about anyway, and am I going to have to give an accounting ‘up there’?

So, let me provide you with an opportunity: three one-hour sessions: the whole of Jewish history in only one hour; the whole of Jewish law and values in only one hour; the whole of Jewish spirituality in only one hour. Three hours of ‘catch up’, no matter your age. This is my challenge to you – will you invest three hours of your life to taste what the content and meaning of your Jewishness could really be?

If you are up to the challenge just watch this space. Begins mid-July – three Monday evenings, July 15th, 22nd, 29th.

It just takes a little light to dispel much darkness!