I don’t just write the news–I am the news!

The New Jersey Jewish News has honored me with a profile and a really great mugshot.

Johanna Ginsberg, one of their staff writers (and a member of Beth El–these people are over the place!) stopped by one morning last week to interview and photograph me for it. It was lovely and it’s a nice piece.

Things relevant to themes on this blog (the parenthetical bold bit is mine):

At 22, David A.M. Wilensky appears full of contradictions: He wears tzitzit but not a kipa. He embraces Reform Judaism but attends a Conservative synagogue.

[…]

Perhaps it’s all in the eye of the beholder. “I go to a Conservative synagogue because I like the services better, but I live a personal life that’s informed by what I learned growing up in the Reform world,” he told NJJN in an interview on the patio of his South Orange apartment. “Is that any more of a contradiction than people who belong to a Conservative synagogue and don’t keep kosher and never come to services?”

[…]

…addressing his religious garb, he said, “Wearing a tallit katan and wearing a kipa are separate practices, with separate origins and rationales, so I don’t see that as contradictory either. Unusual? Yes. But not contradictory.

“Maybe that says something about my generation, but to me it all just makes sense,” he concluded.

[…]

A patio table is scattered with the accessories of his single Jewish post-collegiate life: a hookah, an ashtray filled with cigarette butts (the cigarette butts are not mine, by the way, just for the record), a Kiddush cup, half-melted Shabbat candles, and a bottle of Febreeze. Behind him, several freshly laundered tzitzit hang on a rack to dry.

Wilensky is confident about the future of journalism, but remains uncertain about his own future.

“I’m obsessed with liturgy right now. Maybe I’ll get a PhD in liturgy and that will be my thing,” he said.

But he’s certainly got a journalist’s instincts. “Why don’t Jewish papers ever put federations under the microscope?” he asked. Maybe he’ll blog about it.

Maybe I will!

You can read the whole article, which really is terrific, over here.

 

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9 Responses to I don’t just write the news–I am the news!

  1. Larry Kaufman July 21, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    Very nice! Mirabile dictu, apparently pretty accurate, something I’ve learned after a lifetime in P.R. not to necessarily expect from journalists.

    You say, “Why don’t Jewish papers ever put federations under the microscope?” Four answers, not mutually exclusive.
    1. Federation owns the newspaper.
    2. Newspaper is “independent” but fears advertising reprisals. (Remember the firestorm when the other NJ paper published a same-sex wedding announcement and then apologized for having done so?)
    3. Sometimes they do, or at least try. The local Chicago J-rag, the Star, tried to make a skandal out of the local Fed allowing staffers to work on Shabbat if they so chose.
    4. Fearing that kind of muckraking, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that a federation makes access difficult.

    BTW, something you may not know: I chair the synagogue-Federation relations work team (fka committee) of the URJ.

    • David A.M. Wilensky July 22, 2011 at 10:54 am #

      I know why they don’t. I asked that as a rhetorical question in the middle of an answer to some question about Jewish journalism.

  2. Harold July 21, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    Great article. I’m glad the photo caught the pen above your ear. Otherwise it would not have been authentic.

    • David A.M. Wilensky July 22, 2011 at 10:55 am #

      Yeah, I wasn’t really otherwise ready to leave the apartment for the day yet when she arrived, but I knew she was gonna do pictures, so I made sure it was there.

  3. Laura July 21, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    Cool! Yasher koach.

    a hookah, an ashtray filled with cigarette butts (the cigarette butts are not mine, by the way, just for the record), a Kiddush cup, half-melted Shabbat candles, and a bottle of Febreeze. Behind him, several freshly laundered tzitzit hang on a rack to dry.

    That is a strange and vibrant array of things to leave on your patio.

    Speaking about the “official” Jews, he said, “They have crafted a Jewish community that serves the needs of their generation. Meanwhile, they worry and fret to no end about whether the kids are all right. New Voices is here to tell you that the kids are all right and to explain how and where their worldview diverges from the current mainstream.

    “The official Jews can conduct all the surveys they want, but the best way to figure out what young Jews are thinking is to hear it in their voices.”

    Well said.

    • David A.M. Wilensky July 22, 2011 at 10:58 am #

      Well said.
      Thanks.

      That is a strange and vibrant array of things to leave on your patio.
      The patio (it’s actually a balcony, though we refer to it as “the terrace”) is where we eat dinner whenever we’re actually cooking a real meal and sitting down together, which is why the Shabbat accouterments live out there.

      And, for the record, I didn’t blow out the half-melted Shabbat candles–the wind did that.

      And I don’t know whose Febreeze that is.

      And, once again, hang-drying is the best way to dry tzitzit.

  4. Simcha Daniel Burstyn July 23, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    You might be interested to know that Rabbi Sami Barth, who taught me and many Aleph Rabbis our liturgy, is now becoming a full-time professor of liturgy at JTS. You will really like him. Go meet him.

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  1. Kippot and my commute, part II; New Jersey Jewish News, part II | The Reform Shuckle - July 22, 2011

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