Monday, March 22, 2010


Rather than starting with an introductory post telling you all about who I am, what I do, my wonderful husband and children, I thought I'd start with an on-topic post and let you learn about me through my writing. I hope that over the course of this blog, you get to know me very well, but I don't think a few paragraphs about my background and education are really what you came for.

Let's start with what I see as the main aspects of Judaism that make being religiously Jewish in the United States a challenge.

1) Observance of the Sabbath (Shabbat) and holidays.
2) Observance of the dietary laws (kashrut).
3) Observance of the laws of modesty and family purity (tzniut and taharat mishpachah).
4) Avoiding intermarriage.

I expect to be making general posts on each of these topics in the future for educational purposes as well as creating more specific articles to look at some of the details of these and other Jewish traditions and practices.

There isn't just one type of American Jew, and there isn't just one way to be Jewish in America. That makes my task more interesting. For example, a Jewish person living in New York City is surrounded by one of the largest Jewish populations in the world outside of Israel. There are plenty of kosher restaurants and supermarkets, synagogues, Judaica stores, and Jewish-owned businesses. On the other hand, a Jewish person living in Lincoln, Nebraska may find that the closest kosher food to be had is an hour away in Omaha, and the pickings there are probably rather slim, too.

The point is, American Jews are just as diverse as American anyone-elses. And I haven't even touched on the spectrum of Jewish practice one finds in the U.S. That's another post or six.

Did I mention that there are only about six million Jews in all of America, 13 million in the world, including Israel? That makes Jews only about 0.1 to 0.2% of the world's population. Yet just about everyone has heard of us! Another several entries will have to touch on just why a people with such small numbers has such a big impact.

Finally, I want to talk about more personal topics. What is my life as an American Jew like? What is my day-to-day?

I think I have plenty of fodder, and if any loyal and dedicated readers care to suggest topics or ask questions, I will be delighted to entertain your ideas as well. I encourage discussion but will not tolerate antisemitism or ad hominem attacks, nor do I want to create a space that encourages internet "flame wars" or massive debates. My e-mail inbox is full enough without that kind of nonsense.

By the way, for the intensely curious, I was born in southern California but spent my teenage and early adult years in suburban Philadelphia, then moved back to southern California three years ago. I have been married for almost eight years to an Israeli man, and we currently have two adorable young sons and two fairly annoying but adorable cats. I'm sure all of these people and animals will find themselves mentioned as we go along.

And now I have laundry to fold. See, I have a real life, too!

1 comment:

Ruth Mastron said...

Congratulations on the new blog! Looking forward to reading more.

By the way, I love the quotation from Rabbi Benjamin Blech: "Judaism is monotheistic; it’s not monolithic."