How Jews Look

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This isn’t how it was supposed to be.

We at MyJewishLearning often find ourselves in a predicament. On one hand, we’re an educational website with a mandate to teach. On the other, we wanted to show Jewish life in all its diversity, oddness and magnificence. There’s something inherently presumptuous and condescending about teaching how to live a lifestyle. Since we’re a website that values the populism of the Jewish world, we wanted to show Judaism how it’s lived, not just how people say it should be lived.

So we started to make a how-to film. Only, it was the opposite of an instructional video. Instead of showing the way Jewish law, culture, or texts say that you should do something, we’re going to show how different Jews incorporate that into their lives. How they eat. What they wear. How they think. What they say they do, and what they really do. Who they want to be.

What they believe.

In the first episode, you’ll meet four Jews from all over the place — religiously, culturally, and in their outlooks on life. Miriam is a Hasidic Jew who lives in Brooklyn with her husband and six kids. Henry has been working in Jewish delis for more than half a century. Sarah Aroeste is a Sephardic singer who’s considerably younger, but is keeping a live a tradition that dates back thousands of years. And Yoni — well, you’ll just have to see Yoni for yourself.

Here’s the first episode of MyJewishLearning’s first live film series. Do you completely agree with our subjects? Totally disagree? Have a story of your own? Let us know.

Posted on March 2, 2009

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3 thoughts on “How Jews Look

  1. matthue Post author

    No, not inherently — but having G-d in mind in everything you do is pretty much the dictionary definition of “holy.”

    No, everything that people do in G-d’s name is not holy. But wearing clothes that remind of you constantly of a higher relationship — whether it’s a dress or the Dalai Lama’s robes or (gasp!) a hijab — have the capacity to spiritually elevate people, I think, if you’re wearing it for the right reason.

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