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 – Texas/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.