Words of the Week: Allison Darcy

“My calendar this week is more full than it could be at any physical shul I know of, even if other factors didn’t keep me home. There is Torah study, challah baking class, rabbi-led meditation, readings by Jewish authors. There are more options for Shabbat services or daily minyans — like the one being offered every weekday by MyJewishLearning — than I could attend in a year. Sure, livestreaming services have existed for a while now. But every time I tried one before, it meant watching from a camera placed on a balcony or in an aisle, the backs of people’s heads reminding me I was only an observer of someone else’s community. Now I can see the rabbi’s eyes. I can chat with everyone there. I may be welcomed by name.

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Words of the Week

“While there’s plenty of TV and books that I love about American Jewry, I rarely saw (and still rarely see) myself or my family in them. Almost inevitably, they define ‘American Jew’ in a very specific way. That definition assumes a number of things: an English-speaking house (maybe with an allowance for a German- or Yiddish-speaking bubbe), a settled middle class existence, and participation in a cultural narrative that almost inevitably leads back to a turn of the century tenement. There’s an assumption that we were immigrants, past tense. In our dominant cultural narratives, immigrant Jews, ESL Jews, and second-generation Jews stopped existing in America about 50 years ago.”

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