“I’m hardly Jewish”

I heard the line above on a weekly podcast from The Forward. The speaker has written an ebook, The Devil of Williamsburg, which discusses the trial of Nechemya Weberman, a former Satmar Hasidic counselor sentenced to 103 years of imprisonment for child molesting. (I’d have linked to the book, but a quick Google search doesn’t reveal where to get it.)

I’m not sure why someone who writes on Jewish matters with regularity for, of all papers, The Forward (see her writing), would be “hardly Jewish.”

I don’t mean to criticize, exactly, but rather to lament that where so many Jews’ understanding of Jewishness has gone is so closely tied to the notion that you’re somehow not authentically Jewish if you’re not observant or “religious” in some sense. This is exactly the reason we have Humanistic Judaism and, for that matter, Reconstructionist Judaism.


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