Jewish: To be or not to be?
Posted by lchaimlover on July 10, 2007
That’s the Hamlet of questions being posed to young Jews in the Diaspora by Rachel Fish, a student activist who told a conference in Jerusalem that young Americans are Jewish by choice. She claims that kol Yisroel, Jewish solidarity, doesn’t hold sway over us anymore. She claims that birthright isn’t enough to make us Jewish. She claims we have to reclaim our Jewish nationalism. She says that things have always been this way. While I have to admit, technically being a Jew is a choice for me, it doesn’t seem like one. When I discovered my pintele Yid, it didn’t seem as if I were choosing, it seemed as if I had discovered my path. Yes, Robert Frost does lead us to believe that we choose our paths, whether they be well traveled or not, I feel like our paths choose us. Being Jewish, to me, seems to be a part of our identity, something you say even if you don’t mean to, because it defines you.
And if we choose not to be Jewish, where does the Jewish go? Can we hide it? Joyce Carol Oates was told she looked Jewish her whole life, then one day she learned. surprise, she actually was. Her gradnmother had hidden it from the family because of the Holocaust.
So it is a definition or an addendum?