Voices from the field

A Responsibility to Our Binding Stories

By Scott Frankel

The glue that binds Jewish tradition, values and life together are the stories we tell.

Throughout my life my Bubbe would share the moments that make for the best stories. Like in the 1940s when my Papa ditched his prom date to ask my Bubbe to the dance instead. Or the Moment when my Bubbe asked G-d for a baby boy, and received twin girls.

Through the sharing of such Moments, I carry a responsibility to these stories that are deeply rooted and engrained in who I am as a grandson, Jew and human being. We all carry this responsibility.

Responsibility is a core theme that I walked away with from my participation in the iCenter’s Masters Concentration in Israel Education ("iFellows"). Cohort 3 just concluded with its third gathering, and as both a participant of the program and a member of the iCenter team, I felt a great responsibility to challenge the ways in which we think about our own Jewish stories. Too often do we hear a Birthright or MASA participant return from Israel with a thousand photos and all that they say is: “My trip was great.” Too often do the incredible, inspiring, interconnected stories from other Bubbes like mine - ones that shaped theirs and even our connections to the Jewish people and Israel - get lost in a shoebox in the back of a closet.

I view every Jew as an educator (even if they themselves don’t) because of this responsibility to empower each other through these very moments that shape and define us. Everyone possesses these moments - it’s just about recognizing them as a tool to educate and connect. It’s essential that these stories don’t get lost in the winds of our everyday dialogue. We’re in a digital age where we can finally create a platform that allows even the most inarticulate become a storyteller and educator. For my final iFellows project, I am working on an interactive platform (soon to be revealed) with the hope that the weight of responsibility to our Jewish Moments will be spread across the shoulders of Jewish generations to keep these, our stories pulsing.

What's a personal story that you wish you could share with every Jew around the world?