Jeff–My first Reform Shuckler

The first Reform shuckler I ever saw was a guy named Jeff. When I was new in NFTY-TOR (North-American Federation of Temple Youth РTexas/Oklahoma Region), Jeff was one of those intimidatingly well-regarded, well-liked older-than-me NFTYites that I felt miles away from in coolness.  And he shuckled. So naturally, I was very suspicious of him.

This was back when I framed Reform for myself in negatives, things we don’t do. And shuckling, I felt quite certain, was one of those things. I knew that Jeff had been to Kutz (NFTY’s high school leadership summer camp) and that he’d been on EIE (NFTY’s high school semester in Israel program). I felt quite certain that Kutz and EIE were ill-advised programs if they were turning out shucklers like Jeff.

But eventually I went to Kutz and started shuckling. There, I met a lot of overzealous recent EIE alumni, who convinced me to go on EIE, which I was still pretty certain was a terrible program that turns out anything but Reform Jews.

So I went on EIE and started wearing tzitzit. Obviously, my viewpoints have changed and shifted–and will continue to change and shift–over time.

Just a little thought for the day.


By the time I was on EIE, Jeff was in Israel, living a totally secular life, going to ulpan on a kibutz. Go figure.

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2 Responses to Jeff–My first Reform Shuckler

  1. rogueregime January 6, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

    Loved this post!

    It reminded me of my first Reform Shucker. “David” was the cool older kid at Olin-Sang-Ruby. I had never seen anything like it before, and, like most such things, I was simultaneously drawn to and repelled by it. He was the only one who did it, which made it cool, but it was also kind of flashy, which made it suspect in my eyes. I wanted to try it but didn’t want to go out on a limb (so to speak!).

    Here’s a laugh for you: I finally did incorporate into my praying style…after coming back from my EIE semester! Took up shuckling and put down Zionism.

    Go figure.

    • David A.M. Wilensky January 6, 2010 at 7:52 pm #

      That hits a lot of notes that are familiar to me, but I wasn’t able to articulate in the post.

      BTW, added you to my blogroll in my New Year’s blogroll cleanup.