I’ve been looking forward to this afternoon, for the moment when I would join the fold of recent Q&As on The Forward‘s Web site. I didn’t get the Luke Ford treatment (not that I deserved it), but The Forward has posted that Q&A/profile with yours truly.
It’s pretty odd to be on the opposite side of the looking glass. I was certain I would say something that would culminate with me packing my desk—my wife is in PR, but I’ve had little media-training, except, of course, being a member of the MSM . But I think I survived.
Here’s the article’s lede, followed by three portions of the Q&A:
It’s not surprising that a major Jewish newspaper would have its own “God Blog.” One might be surprised, however, upon learning that a Jewish newspaper’s “God blogger” is a church-going Christian. And one certainly wouldn’t expect said Christian to have a last name that starts with “Green” and ends with “berg.”
You describe yourself on your blog as a “God-fearing Christian.” What does that mean?
To me that means that I’m somebody who believes in the Bible as the word of God and somebody who believes specifically in the divinity of Jesus and that Jesus was the Christ. It’s something I am upfront about because I don’t want it to be some kind of secret that comes out in forms of rumor or innuendo. I put it out there because I think it’s important that people know that this is what I believe, and that it’s no something that affects me as a journalist.
Has your background posed any unique challenges for you in covering the Jewish community?
I know that on it’s face it makes parts of the community queasy. If my name were “Mitch Hennigan,” it wouldn’t really be an issue. But everybody assumes that if my name’s “Greenberg” and I’m Christian, I must have converted out, which isn’t the case. When I started this job, everybody I talked to was like, “So, are you a Jew for Jesus?” And I was very clear: No, I’m not involved in Jews for Jesus. No, they have not slipped a mole into the Jewish Journal. I don’t have a special calling to baptize all of “those pagan Jews.” I think when people understand who I am, when they see the sensitivity of my reporting, and the fact that I am just a really curious journalist who does care about this community and is interested in the stories that are affecting it, I think it breaks down those walls.
You’re halachically Jewish. When Jews find out that you’re a practicing Christian, do they ever try to bring you “back to the fold?”
I think that may be subtly going on. It hasn’t been anything that overt. I’m sure that a lot of people think that because I’m at the Jewish Journal, I think there is a perception that I’m here because I want to return to the community. And in ways I want to be able to identify with the community. I’m kind of struggling with how that can be done, how I can be Jewish while not adhering to the religion. But this is a thousands-year-old problem, the question of who is a Jew. I don’t anticipate being the answer.
Read the rest here.