Lilith Feature

Victorious Jewish Moments

“I have always been pleased by my good fortune in being a Jew,” wrote Philip Roth almost 50 years ago. “It’s a complicated, interesting, morally demanding, and very singular experience, and I like that. I find myself in the historic predicament of being Jewish, with all its implications. Who could ask for more?”

With this in mind, Lilith unwraps, in the following pages, five narratives that exemplify how singularly each one of us conjures that mystical, idiosyncratic, completely individual spark that binds each of our separate souls to its tiny, specific Jewish essence [in Yiddish, dos pinteleh yid].

That essence may reside in the memory of resisting a substitute Hebrew school teacher’s terrible lesson plan. Or maybe it presents as a lifelong centripetal pull to give back to our community. Is it the Jewish pledge we made, in our Christian childhood, that burrowed underground for years before we made good on it?

The essence might be the company of two biblical characters, Hannah and Eli, who periodically pop up in unsuspecting lives. Or, finally, it can surface in our grocery store’s produce section where a Holocaust survivor’s fleeting presence erases years of acrimonious Passover seders.

Each of us surely has our own golden Jewish thread that runs through everything. What’s the good fortune of yours?

Susan Schnur 

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