Living Jewishly: A Snapshot of a Generation

Living Jewishly: A Snapshot of a Generation

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Edited by Stefanie Pervos Bregman

Series: Jewish Identities in Post-Modern Society
ISBN: 9781618111630 (hardcover) / 9781618112644 (paper)
Pages: 186 pp.
Publication Date: August 2012

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In the Jewish communal world, engaging 20- and 30-somethings is a hot-button issue: How do we get young Jews to feel connected to Israel? To affiliate with traditional Jewish institutions? To care about Jewish continuity, ritual, and tradition? As a member of this exclusive community, Stefanie Bregman set out to tackle these questions and sought out to compile a collection of personal essays and memoirs from Jewish 20- and 30-somethings across the country.

Stefanie Pervos Bregman is the manager of digital communications at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, associate editor of JUF News and blogger-in-chief of Oy!Chicago, a website for Jewish 20- and 30-somethings. Stefanie earned her bachelor of arts in journalism from the University of WisconsinMadison and completed her master’s degree in Jewish professional studies from the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies. Stefanie and her husband, Michael, live in Chicago with their bichon poodle, Bialy.

At once confrontational, comforting, and hilarious this is the definitive ‘Who am I? and why am I?’ book for Jews of our generation. I can only hope to one day contribute to a collection this rigorous, this touching, and this important for the question of our identity as Jews.
— Mayim Bialik, PhD, author of Beyond the Sling
In her prologue, [Bregman] notes it’s difficult to define her generation, something which becomes increasingly clear in the essays featured. . . . The majority are written by Jewish professionals and bloggers, all of whom are in some way connected to the larger Jewish community. . . . While it’s difficult to define the wishes and desires of this generation, Bregman does see some reoccurring themes: a willingness to learn lessons from the past, a desire to redefine Jewish rituals, a refusal to label themselves by denominations or movements, a re-examination of relationships and marriage, an ability to find Jewish meaning through art and music, and a willingness to explore secular and Jewish conflicting values. . . . Is there some way to make them more involved, or will this group of young people force us to find a new way to create Jewish connections? What these essays make very clear is that there is no one answer to this question.
— Rabbi Rachel Esserman, The Reporter
Charming and diverse, here is an engaging chorus of voices much greater than the sum of its parts.
— Elisa Albert, author of The Book of Dahlia and How This Night is Different
I highly recommend Living Jewishly: A Snapshot of a Generation. Jews of any age and background are likely to find a place where their particular Jewish stories belong.
TC Jewfolk, Twin Cities Hub for Hip Jewish Stuff
Engaging young Jewish adults in their 20s and 30s is challenging to say the least, but a new collection of personal essays and memoirs from young American Jews hopes to enlighten and possibly bridge the gap.
— eJewishPhilanthropy
The book is a slim but vibrant volume filled with fascinatingly diverse viewpoints on what it means to be young and Jewish.
— Jennifer Goldberg, Jewish News, Phoenix, AZ

Table of Contents

I Am Jewish
Andrew Lustig


Are We Moving Beyond Denominational Borders?
Rabbi Jason A. Miller
Stark Naked or Fully Dressed — We’re All The Same
Melissa Scholten-Gutierrez
The Plan
Sharna Marcus
Shomer Negiah in the City
Matthue Roth
Converted to Reform
Rabbi Julie Pelc Adler
Anatomy of an Activist
David Levy
Hebrew — a Love/Hate Relationship
LynleyShimat Lys
Does Being a Jewish Young Professional Today Mean Never Measuring Up?
Ezra Shanken
Card Carrying Member
Abby Sher
My Jewish Journey: How Being Catholic Helped Make Me Jewish
Brian M. Judd
Elke Reva Sudin
Not Your Grandfather’s Minyan (Although He Might Be There Too)
Jeremy Lite
The Beginner
Tamara Mann
34 Is the New “Tween”
Caren Friedman
A Faithful Decision
Sarah Malakoff
Food Fights
Becca Tanen
To Be a Jew in the World
Stacey Ballis
Why the Heck I Became a Rabbi
Rabbi Taron Tachman
Tera “Nova Jade* Greene
Surviving Mikvah
Rachel Friedman
Ingesting Judaism
Jessica Kirzane
My Grandfather’s Boxes
Dan Gordon
How Do You Define Me?
Farrah Fidler
The Best Kept Secret in Jewish Marriage
Nina Badzin
Unplugging Expectations
Donald C. Cutler
The Rumors of Her Death
Libby Ellis Lowe
Who Is a Jew?: Exploring My Non-Kosher Judaism
Rachel Cort
Am I a Jew-a-Saur?
Paul Wieder
Without Knowing I Had Ever Been Lost
Eva Tuschman
Conversion of Comfort
Rachel Wright
We Live in Loving Memories
Inbal Freund
Feeding My Jewish Soul
Kate Bigam
A New Kind of Jewish Geography
Perry Teicher
Nosh, Davin, Kvell or Eat, Pray, Love the West Side Way
Angela Himsel
The Godfather
Alyssa Latala
Summer Days, Summer Nights
Galit Breen
Live, Love, Learn . . . But in What Order?
Blair Chavis
My (Jewish-Interfaith-Lesbian) Wedding
Chai Wolfman
Hebrew Names. Or, Dreaming of Vardit
Vicki Boykis
Can You Date Me Now? Good
Matt Lash
The Intellectual Giver
Emily Keeler
Sorry I Don’t Touch Men: True Confessions of a Celibate Dater
Marcy Rivka Nehorai


Subject Index for Essays