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June 23, 2009

The God Blog and GetReligion getting together

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/the_god_blog_and_getreligion_getting_together_20090623/

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Since I started The God Blog two years ago, I’ve contributed to a variety of other sites, Christianity Today, Beliefnet and Jewcy.

Now I’ve been invited to complement my daily God Blogging by joining the part-time staff of GetReligion, a blog that I’ve been reading since I started writing about religion. Yesterday tmatt published a 5Q+1 with me on the state of the Godbeat, and today I offered my introductory post, a reflection on my life as a Jew-ish journalist.

Here’s an excerpt:

I’ve always felt that if we reporters were going to ask such personal and private questions we should be willing to open windows into our own souls. For me, this has meant being willing to explain something that for most people doesn’t compute; I can still hear the security guard for El Al Airlines saying “but your name is Greenberg” when I said, during passenger screening en route to Israel, that I never became bar mitzvah and that my family celebrated that other December holiday.

It was also humorous when, covering a church-state issue in the city of Redlands, Christians who were opposed to removing a cross from the city seal assumed I was in bed with the ACLU because of my byline. Or when, as a reporter for the LA Daily News, sources would say, “Well, you understand. You’re Jewish.” Short answer sure; long answer no, with a but …

The truth is I grew up in a conservative Christian church and still attend Bel Air Presbyterian most Sundays. At the same time, I’ve never been able to walk past a Chabadnik without getting invited to put teffilin on. My name, my facial hair, my poor eyesight — each scream Jewish. So, too, do my cultural inclinations, which is why I like to tell people that I‘m Jewish in every way except for that whole Jesus thing — and he’s a kind of a dealbreaker.

You can read the rest at GetReligion, where three times a week I’ll be taking a look at the way religion is covered on the West Coast and in sports and entertainment.

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