The publication of “I am Jewish” in January 2004 has motivated people throughout the Jewish community to think about, analyze, debate and enrich the meaning they find in being Jewish. Many events have been held around the country based on people sharing what “I am Jewish” means to them personally. In some of these events, contributors to the book have read what they wrote for it; in others, members of the community have been invited to read their own thoughts about what they mean when they say the words “I am Jewish.” The presentations have been followed by discussions of what it means to be Jewish in contemporary society and how one can make that meaning crisper, richer, and more impactful. Some of these presentations have resulted in newspaper articles (e.g., Pittsburgh Gazette, Jerusalem Post, Jewish Journal), and some in booklets that were shared with other members of the community, as well as with libraries and adult education classes.
Examples from Temple Beit El (Northbrook Ill.) can be viewed through the link provided.
Many congregations across the U.S. have incorporated the statement “I am Jewish” as part of their High Holiday’s services and Hanukah celebrations. Others are using “I Am Jewish” as a focus for discussion in adult education and religious schools. The publisher has developed a Teacher’s Guide to the book with separate lesson plans for younger children, and for older children and adults. It is available as a free download on its website.
If your community has participated in the “I am Jewish” movement, please share with us your ideas and experience.