I Make Jews

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At Thanksgiving dinner, someone I hadn’t seen for several years asked me what I was doing for a living and I replied, “I make Jews.” The person was a little startled by response, so I explained that I was a Jewish educator and a rabbi. That I work in a synagogue and supervise teachers of Hebrew and Jewish studies. That I marry people who want to have Jewish households and I bury people who lived their lives as Jews. I train students for the most important of Jewish rituals, their bar or bat mitzvah and I teach them lifelong rituals like lighting Shabbat and Hanukah candles and putting on a tallit.
Or I could have said:

I make Jews be Jews.
I make Jews whose parents want them to be Jews.
I make Jews who have no idea how to be Jews.
I make Jews who wonder.
I make Jews who question.
I make Jews who think.
I make Jews who pray.
I make Jews who sing.
I make Jews who dance.
I make Jews who struggle.
I make Jews who make other Jews.
I make Jews who are resilient.
I make Jews who make Jewish families.
I make Jews who learn how to do Jewish rituals
I make Jews who make Jewish rituals.
I make Jews read Hebrew.
I make Jews who kvetch.
I make Jews who laugh.
I make Jews who will go out into the world and do great things.
I make Jews who will just be Jews.

 

So perhaps it is just easier to say, “I make Jews.”

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About Gail F. Nalven

Jewish Educator, Rabbi, Tefillah Leader, Songleader, Teacher, and Freelance Jew
This entry was posted in Judaism, Teaching/Education and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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