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R09_0021MaryKBogotMary K. Bogot

How Do You Know the Word Shlep?  You’re Not Jewish!, by Mary K. Bogot (broadcast 6-17-2013)

In 1956 Mary K. married Edward whose family owned a number of clothing stores on the Main Street of their small Virginia town of 15000 population.  At first glance this is a simple story – a young woman from a family that attends church regularly marries a young man from a Jewish family that only goes to synagogue on holidays and puts up a Christmas tree every year.  It sounds like there may be a few bumps but nothing likely to be a major upset.

However as Mary K. relates her personal story, concepts and emotions that run very deep begin to show themselves in ways both unexpected and complex.  The birth of their first child brought issues to the forefront about faith, culture and family that were to change many lives.

The reader learns about the process of religious awakening, about how conversion to her husband’s religion sets the stage for the end of her first marriage, about Ger Toshav and Ger Tsedek “a stranger among us”, about Aliyah and the Law of Return, and about a daughter who declares “My commitment to humanity is where you need to look for my Jewish commitment, not in my ritual” in addressing what it means to be a Jew.

In all, the story tells us how one woman decided to become a Jew despite the many questions this raised for her and for others.  This is her answer and her reason.  It is a book well worth reading both for the answers it gives and the questions it leaves for us to consider for ourselves.  Find out more at


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