Who are we? Jewish identity in the 21st century

January 2, 2013

What does being Jewish mean to you?

Today the Jewish Chronicle and JW3, the Jewish Community Centre for London, launch a project with an ambitious aim: to present a snapshot of British Jewry, which will be studied by future generations in a century’s time.

To make that happen, we are asking every Jew in the country to participate.

Next year, JW3 will open its new building in London, a centre for the entire community, from secular and cultural Jews to the most strictly observant. Our plan is to bury a time-capsule in the piazza floor of the building — and this is where you come in.

Both the JC and JW3 are concerned with the essential questions of Jewish identity. So we are asking all readers, young and old, devout or not, to tell us what being Jewish means to you — and to do so in 50 words or less.

Those with a lifetime’s experience, children, teenagers, soldiers, taxi drivers, teachers, nurses, MPs, celebrities, and —just possibly — the odd doctor, accountant, academic and lawyer: we want to hear from everyone.

With the consent of participants, as many as possible of the responses will then be put in the time-capsule and form part of an exhibition at JW3 once the building opens.

In the spring of 2113, our descendants will be able to look at the replies and see what made us tick

It could be something as meaningful as a passionate devotion to Israel, or as simple as a shared love of terrible Jewish jokes. It could be the instant recognition of another “member of the tribe”, or the painful testimony of a Holocaust survivor.

It could be a family Friday-night dinner, arguing over the JC letters page, or the departure lounge of an airport before the flight to Tel Aviv.

Food and arguments, incidentally, already seem to play a large part in some early responses.

If you prefer, rather than writing something in 50 words, you can make a one-minute video and upload that, or send us pictures which sum up the Jewish experience for you.

We have set up a dedicated website to take your words, pictures and videos: www.myjewishidentity.co.uk

Please help us tell the unique Jewish story.

Last updated: 3:31pm, January 10 2013