The Identities of Jews

By Stuart Z. Charmé

Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), Fall 2009

Jewish educators and communal leaders often have assumed that a healthy Jewish identity, like a healthy body, depends on what a child "consumes" early in life. In this metaphor, Jewish identity is like the set of bones on which the muscles of Jewishness are attached and can move. Like bones, Jewish identity needs to be nourished and developed in childhood with sufficient strength and density to sustain it later in life. The primary goal of this kind of nutritional approach to Jewishness is to treat Jewish identity as the core of identity, the "backbone" of a healthy sense of self. Jewish identity becomes a goal to reach, an achievement to be celebrated and one that presumably remains relatively secure without too much additional change once it is in place.

Topic: Young Adults, Jewish Identification

Name of Publication: Torah at the Center

Volume/Issue: Vol.13/no.1

Page Number(s): 25

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Genre: Article

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Author

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Charmé, Stuart Z. The Identities of Jews. Torah at the Center. Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). Fall 2009: 25. http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=13387


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