Ruth delighted her audience by reading snippets from various chapters in her 36 chapter memoir My Book of Ruth: Reflections of a Jewish Girl, beginning with her answer to the vital question:
Who am I?
Who am I? My first response, instinctive and without question, is “I’m Jewish”–mother, grandmother, American. What does it mean to be Jewish? It’s a lifetime search. “You don’t look Jewish,” people have told me. I’m not too comfortable with that observation. Is it meant to be a compliment? On the other hand, I favor long skirts and long sleeves and have also been taken for Orthodox. I find that contradiction amusing. Heed the old adage not to judge a book by its cover.
The biblical Ruth (recognized as the first convert to Judaism) is considered an exemplary Jewess–which I am not. There are Jews today who may not even consider me Jewish. I might even be deemed an apikores, a heretic. Am I a Conservative Jew? Reform? Reconstructionist? A Cultural, Humanistic, or Gastronomic Jew? None of the above. All of the above. There are lots of ways to be Jewish.
Brava, Ruth! Indeed there are!
Click HERE to order your copy of My Book of Ruth.
Click HERE to learn more about Temple Beth Emeth.
Click HERE to learn more about SWAN Day.
(SWAN = Support Women Artists Now)
Top Photo: Ruth Lehrer with Temple Beth Emeth’s beloved Cantor Nonie Schuster Donato.
Bottom Photo: Ruth Lehrer with Temple Beth Emeth Board Member Robin Bass. (Also reflected in the mirror from left are Temple Beth Emeth members Phyllis Schweiger, Lori Pandolfo & Bob Pandolfo.)
Photo Credits: Jan Lisa Huttner (3/22/14)
Additional Credits: The lovely cover of Ruth’s book was created by her son artist/author Warren Lehrer. Click HERE to learn more about Warren’s most recent book A LIFE IN BOOKS: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley.
Bonus Feature: Click HERE to listen to Ruth with WNYC’s Brian Lehrer 🙂