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Stars Of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish (2005)

Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk about Being Jewish (2005)

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3.47 of 5 Votes: 4
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0767916123 (ISBN13: 9780767916127)
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About book Stars Of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish (2005)

Riveting and revealing...What struck me in this highly polished, riveting interviews of the many Jewish stars is the amount of research Abigail Pogrebin had conducted in preparation for each interview. It was clear that she had read everything published by and about each of the celebrities from various fields, be it politics or music. She read foreign media if relevant. The result of this exploration of what it means for these successful people in the public eye to be Jewish is how this identity is embedded in most of them, as inseparable as their other identities such as their gender. While I found it fascinating to read about their pride in their Jewishness, it also hurt to read how little many of them had done to halt or slow down the assimilation of their own children. Mike Wallace, who named his son "Chris," (how more Christian can a name be?) insisted to Chris that he was nevertheless Jewish. Kenneth Cole, in a rare baring-of-his-heart moment admitted to regret "every day" the agreement he had made with his wife, Maria Cuomo, to raise their daughters as Catholic. Kyra Sedgwick, who had been obsessed with the Holocaust in her young adulthood, married without even a rabbi present. But then, from the interviews, the picture that emerges is that many prominent Jews did not appreciate the depth of their connection to their Jewish roots until later in life. Lessons learned? Hebrew school must change drastically in the USA to save the next generation of Jews.

I thought this was an interesting book. I am neither religious nor Jewish so I read it as an outsider. It made me curious how much of what would said would also hold for other religions. Many people seemed to have religion forced on them as children, they grew into adults and turned away from it only to return either when they had children of their own or later in life. Of course, Judaism also has the religion/ethnicity split and it was interesting to see how people separated the culture and the religion. I liked the point made by more than one person that rejecting Judaism is fine, just so long as you know what it is you're rejecting. I think that holds true for all religions. Many people felt culturally Jewish though not necessarily religiously Jewish but almost to a person they said no matter how tenuous they felt that relationship to be, they would immediately defend Israel from an outside threat. There was a split opinion on whether it was every okay to criticize Israeli policy.One of the things I found the most fascinating was how many people were only slightly self-identified as Jewish until they visited Israel. That visit seemed to change every person who took the trip.

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