You Can’t Be a Cultural Jew without being Cultured

And please don’t make the claim you are a cultural rather than a religious or learned Jew if you don’t have any Jewish culture. You would not call yourself a cultured person if you hated fine music, theater, art and museums. Cultural Judaism involves knowledge of ancient and contemporary Jewish history, current events and political life here and in Israel. Maybe you are a reader of Roth and Englander, Horn and Ozick, Agnon and Bashevis Singer. Maybe you love Yiddish theater. Great. But don’t call yourself a cultured Jew if by culture you mean you love bagels and brisket. It’s Jewish wisdom that ultimately creates continuity.

Erica Brown, “The Shtarker Image”, The Jewish Week (6 September 2013), 70.

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