From "Two Civilizations" to Multiple Identities

By Susan P. Schein

Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA), Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC), Spring 2006

This article discusses the unique story of Jeun Benjamin Smith, a Korean by birth who was adopted into an interfaith home, and is Jewish by conversion. The author discusses the dilemma before his bar mitzvah regarding whether or not he should be circumcised. The author argues that given the particulars of Jeun's situation- being terrified, pre-pubescent, and of Korean ethnic background- requiring circumcision would likely do more harm than good. Instead, the author (a rabbi) suggests that Jeun affirm his Jewish status by leading the community in prayer and chanting from the Torah at his Bar Mitzvah, an important time to affirm one's sense of belonging to Judaism.

Topic: Ritual, Jewish Identification, Conversion, Reconstructionist Judaism, Rabbinic Counseling, Adoption

Name of Publication: The Reconstructionist

Editor: Hirsh, Richard

Volume/Issue: Vol.70/No.2

Page Number(s): 34-42

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Genre: Article

Coverage: World

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Schein, Susan P. From "Two Civilizations" to Multiple Identities. The Reconstructionist. Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA),Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC). Spring 2006: 34-42.


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