I was born in Brooklyn. My mom was born in Brooklyn, as were her parents. My wife was born in Brooklyn, as were both her parents, and their parents. So, when someone asks me where I am from, I say, “I was born in Brooklyn.” I have a certain pride in saying this – not just because of the family history, but also because of how many incredibly talented and gifted people were born there. How could one borough have been the breeding ground for so much? There is something very special about the culture of Brooklyn roots.
There is also something very egocentric about being born in, and living in, New York. Growing up, one can feel as if New York is actually what the sun revolves around, and not the reverse. As I grew older and was exposed to other cities, and other roots, I felt almost silly at times, thinking back to when New York was the true center of my universe. Now, do not get me wrong. New York is very special, but so are so many other places, people, cultures, and roots.
As a Family Physician, I care for patients who live in Oak Park, River Forest, Austin, Belmont Cragin, and several other neighborhoods. There is no single item that can define an individual. Whatever one thinks about where one comes from, what they look like, how they speak, or the education they received, every individual is just that, a unique set of life circumstances coming together in a single person. One could never fully appreciate another’s set of life circumstances, but only seek to understand. In my work, we speak of this endeavor as “Cultural Humility.” One can never be culturally competent, just culturally humble.
So, in thinking about this year’s Jeremiah Gem theme, I want to think I have moved from a place of cultural egocentrism, towards cultural humility. One can never fully arrive, but it is an incredibly interesting effort. Lastly, there are so many aspects of Temple Jeremiah that embrace this philosophy. It is easy to serve that purpose.
- Rabbi Rachel Heaps’ Installation - March 14, 2018
- Singing Our Sacred Roots: The American Journey of Our Reform Musical Inheritance - February 22, 2018
- An Update on the Refugee Sisters You Helped Sponsor - December 21, 2017
- Adult Hebrew Class - December 5, 2017
- Say Yes to Supporting Temple Jeremiah - November 28, 2017
- Moving from Divisions to Dialogue- A Conversation with Laurie Grauer - November 8, 2017
- Announcement from Adam Kahan - November 7, 2017
- Annual Noni Dodge Blood Drive - October 13, 2017
- Will You Say Yes? - September 27, 2017
- Jeremiah Gems- Rabbi Rick Jacobs - September 19, 2017