At the tender age of 35 I have been involved in Jewish groups for what feels like 150 years. My primary area of focus and interest has been with Jewish youth. I have worked with any number of settings, camp, school, afterschool and more. And I have done it with the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox branches or denominations. That is not nearly descriptive enough, but it will suffice for now.
Each time I have been involved we have had many activities in which we interacted with the general public. And each time we did we had a discussion about being an ambassador to Judaism. That is, we spoke as a staff and to our children about how many people had never met any Jews or had very little experience with Jewish people so it was important to take that into account in reference to personal conduct.
I always found these discussions to be a little troubling for me. In concept it all made perfect sense to me to try and portray a good image of who we are and what we represent. The flip side of this was that it irked me because we are all people and there are good Jews and bad Jews just like it would be true for Catholics/Protestants/Hindus/Buddhists/Muslims etc.
It seemed a little disingenuous to me to try and walk around on your best behavior because to me it seemed a little phony. Be who you are. It is like the honeymoon period of a relationship in which you strive to hide all bodily functions from your girlfriend/boyfriend until that one night when the chili backs up on you and you cannot hide your true flatulent self any longer. “Yes honey, I fart like every other human being. You probably knew this because in trying to hide it from you I became bloated and began to look like one of the floats at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.
But I digress.
In addition to the aforementioned concern I was always disappointed that I didn’t receive business cards, a hat and an office that identified me as an ambassador of Judaism. I didn’t want to be an ambassador, I wanted to be the ambassador. You know me, why fit in when I can force myself out into the public eye.
Ok, I have a small problem here, I am just not sure how to end this. I compose on the computer and almost never create an outline, so I am at a loss. Let’s do this and in the fashion of my people end this so that we may go eat. It is like every Jewish holiday.
They tried to kill us, they lost, let’s eat. Batei Avon.