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Jews By Choice

Young woman wearing headphones and listening to Wholly Jewish podcast

In our new podcast, Wholly Jewish, Jews across the ethnic, cultural, and gender spectrums tell their stories, strengthening and enriching their own Jewishness and our community.

Chris Harrison
A womans hand writing out sticky name tags with a blue marker

What do you do when you’re Jewish, but your name doesn’t “sound” Jewish?

Chris Harrison
Headshot of a smiling Marques Hollie against a black backdrop

Marques Hollie talks to us about the Passover performance piece he created called “Go Down Moshe," at the intersection of “the shared otherness of American Jews and people of color.” 

Aron Hirt-Manheimer
Sign hanging in a window reading Welcome We Are Open

An experience shortly after the URJ Biennial demonstrated how truly large, inviting, and welcoming is our Reform Jewish tent.

Alden Solovy
Closeup of a budding pine cone in a pine tree dusted with snow

My husband, along with millions and billions of other people, doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but I never thought my children wouldn’t celebrate it.

Susan Brownstein
Three men in bathing suits sitting on a large chair on the beach that reads TEL AVIV LOVES ME

Five years ago, H. Alan Scott emerged from the mikveh waters. Soon, he'll be celebrating another milestone: throwing himself a bar mitzvah.

Derek Kwait (JTA)
red knit kippah lying atop a blue and white fringed prayer shawl

I sometimes feel insecure as a Reform convert – but the important thing is that there is space in Judaism for uncertainty. I'm not required to know what I believe, only how I should behave.

Sacha Mankins
Closeup of a lace chuppah with a Star of David beneath it

Conversion was not an instantaneous event, but a journey that began years before, when I first began to wonder why we fast on Yom Kippur - and it was one that would continue long after I emerged from the mikveh.

Susan Brownstein
Hands holding up speech bubble signs against a light pink background

When people hear my accent, some treat me with the patronizing friendliness they might apply toward people they don’t take seriously. One person even said, “Get out of here.”

Julia Knobloch
Close-up of sterling silver menorah with Star of David

During this journey, I’ve been asked: “Why?” In Judaism, I found meaningful rituals and a history of peoplehood that I have taken on as my own. From the time I left the Christian church, I sought a spiritual home – a place of tolerance and acceptance. In Judaism, I’ve found exactly that.

Joshua Moon


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