And people like Rachel, who said, “By presenting Orthodox Judaism in such a friendly and entertaining manner, you have encouraged me to take a course at a local Chabad center. I loved the course and people I met so much that I even went back for a Shabbat service! I want to thank everyone at JITC for the work they do and to let you all know that what you are doing is inspiring!”
And people like Setti: “After seeing your Shabbat video I was very inspired to keep observing today, instead of skipping a day & then two & so on…it’s not an easy process, so thanks!”
I always expected that Jew in the City would affect Jews with no Jewish background, but another unexpected population is being reached – people who have gone “off the derech.” As one person wrote, “I’m a formerly Orthodox person who is now sorta…nothing and seeing your videos does make me more open to Shabbos dinners with family and trying to keep kosher again. Keep up the great work!”
A woman from a chassidish background who felt so repressed by Judaism that she appeared on a TV show to express her negative feelings, left this message on the Jew in the City Facebook page:
“I tend to have a hard time hearing ‘the laws’ and the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘musts’…but I have to say, your wit and humor in getting these messages across got me listening…. I watched every video on YouTube and immensely enjoyed each one. Looking forward to more of your stuff…thanks for doing the ‘Work’ you are doing; Jew in the City is definitely on to something BIG.”
Another unexpected but wonderful development is that we’re hearing from ba’alei teshuvah that Jew in the City is helping their families respect and better understand their choices.
As Mary wrote, “I’m a senior college student in Ohio with a secular family and a very religious sister. I’ve been sending JITC episodes to my dad and aunt to help them better understand my sister’s Jewish decision. Thanks for tackling things that can be really tough to explain!”
Will had a similar take: “I am so happy I found JITC, not only is it hilarious, it has also sincerely strengthened the relationship between me and my mother. I have recently become a BT. It’s been difficult to explain to my parents why I love Judaism & why I choose to follow certain laws now, however, JITC has been a great medium of explaining the Jewish faith that we never truly understood. JITC, you’re doing a great mitzvah!”
Non-Jews have also been writing in more and more frequently. They have the same misunderstandings about us that secular Jews have. Jew in the City is helping to correct those misunderstandings:
“ I live near a large Hasidic Jewish community and have had a lot of questions and misjudgments about them. I just love watching your videos because they help answer my questions! God bless!” – Molly
“I am a Christian and I find that your videos help me to better understand the life of more religiously observant Jewish people. You are truly an inspiration for many people out here in cyber space.” – K.S.
With so much anti-Orthodox reporting in the news media and so many people holding negative perceptions about Orthodox Jews, Jew in the City’s work is far from finished. Jewish Press readers can help our mission succeed by sharing our content, supporting our sponsors, or booking me to speak. Together, we can truly make a difference.
Allison Josephs is founder and director of JewintheCity.com. She lives minutes from the George Washington Bridge with her husband and four children.