Column: Some of my answers to ‘Why be Jewish?’

The second installment of my new column for The Jewish Standard came out on April 17. The March column talked about the importance of the question “Why be Jewish?” So I followed up this month with some of my own personal answers to the question:

In March I wrote in the Jewish Standard about the challenges posed to the organized Jewish community by my generation, the much- (if not, over-) discussed Millennials (“So, really, why be Jewish?”).

We need to refocus ourselves, I said, by turning away from questions like “Who is a Jew?” The key Jewish question of our time is this: Why be Jewish? “With the arrival and maturation of my generation, the Millennials, the question, ‘Who is a Jew?’ is rather passé,” I wrote. “The fact is that ‘Who is a Jew?’ is the wrong question. To maintain our relevance—to regain it, really—the question we must ask today is ‘Why be Jewish?’”

Although the rest of the column more deeply addressed the Millennials and the reasons to ask the why-be-Jewish question, a couple of readers (who read the piece much more sharply than I apparently had) pointed out that I did not offer my answer to the question.

They were right to point that out. It’s cheap to demand that others answer the question on my behalf. So I’ll offer up some answers here.

Check out the rest of it at The Jewish Standard.

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2 Responses to Column: Some of my answers to ‘Why be Jewish?’

  1. frank June 19, 2014 at 1:06 am #

    Asking “Why be Jewish?” is quite embarrassing to read, because this Jewish reader sees no sense in the question, any more than you would see sense in asking “Why eat?”. It is so obvious that Judaism is a marvelous privilege, the nation that serves as a beacon to light up the darkness in the world. That someone would even entertain this question speaks volumes on the poor Jewish upbringing this person must have suffered through, poor kid.

  2. frank June 20, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    A better analogy for my previous comment would be to ask: “Why be a prince?”. The son of the king would be deemed a fool were he to question the privileged status of being a prince, someone who sits at the table of the king.