Monday, February 17, 2014

My favorite quotes: Mamie Gamoran

When did people start talking about post-denominationalism and identify themselves as "just Jews?" Could it perhaps have been as long ago as the 1930s? Let's see what Mamie Gamoran, author of "Hillel's Happy Holidays" and the wife of Emanuel Gamoran (the first director of education for the UAHC, now the Union for Reform Judaism) has to say on the subject:

“We were liberals in our thinking, in our children's education, in our religious practices. Nevertheless, we erected a Sukka on our wide, open porch each Sukkot holiday, and served wine tea and cake to as many as two hundred visitors. Some guests shook the lulav and said the blessings for the first time. I used to say jokingly, 'the Reform say we are Orthodox and the Orthodox say we are Reform.' But we wanted to be Jews without a label, and I think we had a real Jewish home.” 

From Mamie Gamoran's manuscript, "A Family History," in the American Jewish Archives, cited in Jonathan Krasner's "The Benderly Boys and American Jewish Education" (Brandeis University Press, 2011).