Am I a Jew?
Lost Tribes, Lapsed Jews, and One Man's Search for Himself
ISBN 9781594630958 | 288 pages | 30 Aug 2012 | Hudson Street Press | 9.25 x 6.25in | 18 - AND UP
Summary of Am I a Jew? Summary of Am I a Jew? Reviews for Am I a Jew? An Excerpt from Am I a Jew?
What makes someone Jewish?
Theodore Ross was nine years old when he moved with his mother from New York City to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Once there, his mother decided, for both personal and spiritual reasons, to have her family pretend not to be Jewish. He went to an Episcopal school, where he studied the New Testament, sang in the choir, and even took Communion. Later, as an adult, he wondered: Am I still Jewish?
Seeking an answer, Ross traveled around the country and to Israel, visiting a wide variety of Jewish communities. From “Crypto-Jews” in New Mexico and secluded ultra-devout Orthodox towns in upstate New York to a rare Classical Reform congregation in Kansas City, Ross tries to understand himself by experiencing the diversity of Judaism.
Quirky and self-aware, introspective and impassioned, Am I a Jew? is a story about the universal struggle to define a relationship (or lack thereof) with religion.
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Am I a Jew? It is an obvious question, but one that even the most sophisticated minds struggle to answer. It's a silly question, except millions have lost their lives, depending on their response. It's a religious question, except when an atheist asks it. There is, admittedly, a certain Hebraic quality in even asking it.
“Theodore Ross, who may or may not be Jewish, is excellent company on the page. Whether he’s discovering secret Jews in New Mexico, attempting to discern the brighter side of Orthodox Judaism, or interrogating his family members about their own religious foibles and dodges, Am I a Jew? is always moving, heartfelt, funny, and alive. This is a terrific—and terrifically odd—memoir.”
—TOM BISSELL, author of Extra Lives and Magic Hours
"Am I a Jew is a brilliant American odyssey, one that is both inside and outside of traditions both national and religious; it's also often very funny, and always very empathic; Ross has written a genuinely great book."
—RIVKA GALCHEN, author of Atmospheric Disturbances
"[This] intelligent and altogether entertaining account of searching out the roots of identity will be of interest not only to those who've asked, 'Am I a Jew?' but also to anyone who's ever wondered, 'What am I, anyway?' One finishes this book thankful for a fuller understanding of the diverse strains within the Jewish tradition and not a little awed by the writer's compelling mix of skepticism, candor, and love."
—GARRET KEIZER, author of Privacy and The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want
"An elegant guide for the perplexed inhabitants of our increasingly disorienting world, Am I a Jew? is a profound meditation on the nature of modern identity."
—ROGER HODGE, author of The Mendacity of Hope: Barack Obama and the Betrayal of American Liberalism
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