It's Who I Am: Defining Jewish-American Identity in an Era of Choice
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I am proud of my identity, both as an American and a Jew, but this project has forced me to acknowledge my own issues of ambivalence. The reason I chose this project in the first place was because my immediate reaction when I thought of it was, "I can't do that project! It's too Jewish!" I became curious about the origins and the reasons for that reaction, and decided to explore them. It makes me wonder why, when I worked on my literature review and would have a stack of books on the table while I studied, I would make sure the books about Jewishness are on the bottom of the pile, spines facing the wall. I did not even think about where the books on identity lay. Why is it, that even now, when telling people about my project, why do I tell them first that it is about identity formation, then cross-generational identity formation, and tell them it is only about Jewish identity when they continue to question me. Even more, why is it that the only reactions to my project that are even remotely negative, have been from some of my Jewish acquaintances? Why do I have anxiety about appearing to be "too Jewish?" How does this play into my overall life and identity? It is questions about my own identity as well as others that I have explored in this paper.