When I’m a Jew by Choice

Don’t kill the messenger.

The term “Jew by Choice” generally refers to one who converts to Judaism from another faith. The word “convert” tends to emphasize the change while “Jew by Choice” makes it clear the person is a Jew and shows s/he elected it. Anecdotally, people often note how Jews by choice are often more passionate than their coreligionists who have been born into it. One very actively decides to be and to do Jewish versus those for whom it’s just this thing s/he’s always had. (more…)

My Friends Write Cool Things [Links and Things I Say You Should See]

Per my last link round-up post, I sporadically feel the need to share a series of things. Today, those things were all things created by people I know. You should know them, too.

  • Office neighbor, nearest daytime spiritual advisor, Director of Initiatives for Boys and Men at Moving Traditions, and Donkey Kong enthusiast, Rabbi Daniel Brenner asks whether men will stand up against the sex slave trade in Israel. This is what they call a “must read.” I appreciate being called out for all those times I breeze over a serious issue problem. [Moving Traditions, Huffington Post]

You Will Inscribe Them Upon the Doorposts of your Pueblo

cactus mezuzahA bajillion years ago my aunt, uncle, and cousins in Phoenix, AZ bought me a beautiful mezuzah when I became bar-mitzvah. While they couldn’t make the ceremony, they sent that as well as an Artscroll chumash (the 5 books and selections from the prophets with translation and commentary). These were among the most memorable and thoughtful gifts I received. The chumash, beautiful in itself, had a lovely personal note which makes me think of them everytime I pick it up (whether or not I subscribe to all of the translations and commentary in artscroll, an Orthodox publisher, is another post and not the point). The mezuzah, as you can see, was equally beautiful, ceramic, and had a cactus on it. My cousins have always lived in Arizona and the cactus was the perfect touch. How could I not think of them when I looked at it? (more…)

I’m Big in Baltimore, Likely Bigger In Japan

Richie Frieman writes for PensEyeView, a website that features an interview and profile of a different band every two days. These bands can be signed, unsigned, somebodies, nobodies, anybody. Richie was kind enough to feature many of the bands I worked with while I was at Rock Ridge Music. Like anywhere else, you talk to someone enough, and there’s a certain amount of banter that comes along. Soon after PEV covered OTiS, a band I’ve been working with independently, we got into a conversation about me what I was up to. Upon finding out that I used to work for Hillel and had recently accepted a job with Hazon, he offered me the chance to interview with him for his blog Tuned In for the Baltimore Jewish Times.

The full blog entry can be read here. He calls me a “magical multitasker.” Not sure I’d go that far but certainly appreciate the sentiments.

The whole affair caught me a little off guard. For all the interviews I’ve set up, I don’t know that I’ve ever been interviewed to this extent. I have to say it was a pretty cool experience though I don’t think I come off as nearly as exciting as any of the musicians for whom I’ve arranged interviews.

I do have to say I think it’s way cool any time my jewy life and music life interact or overlap. Look at Richie, who writes for these two different publications. I’ll also say that as much fun as it is to be in the background and be thanked by the people you work with, but it’s also nice to be in the limelight now and again and the public appreciation in this article feels great.

two lasagnas by flickr user maggiejane

AlefNEXT Guest Blog: “Italian-Jewish for the Holidays”

The following is a cross-post of a guest blog I had the privilege of writing for AlefNEXT. The original post can be found here.

Via the about page:

Q. What is Alef? A. Alef: The NEXT Conversation, is a web-zine which explores Jewish identity. From memoirs on “Why I Eat What I Eat” to a soul-searching narrative on serving jury duty during the High Holidays, to a travel piece on a Passover Seder in Ghana, Alef showcases the diversity of Jewish identity through stories, pictures, poems, music, and more. Alef is published by Birthright Israel NEXT.

My blog entry was part of a series of what it means to be Jewish and growing up in an interfaith family during the holiday season. One of the other blogs that I really enjoyed was “Kosher For Christmas,” it’s a great read. Those looking to contribute to this blog should read this.