Jewish Pride Book Review

At its heart, religion is merely a tool. What matters is how the rituals and values are used to shape the culture around it.

Jewish Pride, by Michael Steinhardt (co-founder of Birthright Israel), was published last fall. It is part memoir and part instruction manual on how to bring Jews of all backgrounds and levels of practice to the fold. Born in 1940 and raised mainly by his mother in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, he became a major player on both Wall Street and the world of philanthropy.

I liked this book. Mr. Steinhardt is open and honest about his life, his beliefs, his work, and the mistakes he made along the way. It takes an adult to admit when they are wrong and do what must be done to correct the error.

The only issue I have is that he mentions that Yiddish is the language of the Jews. That is an ashkenormative perspective that is highly problematic and ignores the fact that Jews come from all over the world.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Jewish Pride is available wherever books are sold.

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My Masada

Masada Sunrise


We all have challenges in life, it’s how we face them that determines who we become.

I’ve been fortunate to to visit Masada twice. The first time, was my bat-mitzvah. The second time was with Birthright Israel. Going to Masada is par for the course in any Birthright trip.

There are two ways to get up to Masada. There is the cable car  that will take you up and down. Or if you are more adventurous, there is an opportunity to hike up to the top.

My group hiked up. We left our hotel before sunrise with nothing but coffee and a small danish in our stomachs. It is not an easy climb. But it is totally worth it. To see the sunrise against the desert is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.

Up to that point, climbing Masada had been the biggest challenge of my life.  Masada has come to represent any challenge that needs to be overcome. There is no going down to the bottom and waiting for the cable car. There is only one option: continue to climb.

I will continue to climb, because I know that is the only thing I can do. I just don’t know when I will see the sunrise.

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