OyChicago blog

Our kids are all right

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08/14/2012

Our kids are all right photo

One is a young man and one is a young woman. One is a musician and one is an athlete. One wears a kippah and the other wears Lycra.

U.S. Jewish Olympians are on fire photo

But Edon Pinchot and Aly Raisman are both young Jews on TV, making Jews everywhere proud.

He is a contestant on America's Got Talent best known for using his piano skills and powerful voice to turn pop songs into power ballads. She was a contestant at the 2012 London Olympics, best known for using her gymnastic skills and powerful presence to turn "Hava Nagila" into an anthem of solidarity with the Munich 11… and Olympic gold.

Another thing they have in common is how openly, proudly, and comfortably they wear (in Edon's case, on his head) their Judaism. In an era in which Jonathan Stewart Leibowitz, also very openly Jewish, still goes by "Jon Stewart," we don't see Edon saying "Call me Ethan," or Aly competing as "Aly Ray."

This is important, as it allows others to be more openly Jewish in their presence. Howie Mandel never (as far I as know) brought up his Jewishness in five years on Deal or No Deal. Yet, when praising Edon, he said— on national television— "From one to another, Jew are terrific!" 

We adults in the Jewish community— whether we are Jewish professionals, parents, or both— often wonder if we are making a dent. Are we getting through to our kids? Are we being heard at all among all the other voices being shouted at our teens today? Is anything that we present as Jewish as attractive as the flashy new toys and screens being shoved in their faces?

Then we hear Edon belt out a hit by some act that's hot right this minute (and not a minute before!) to then have Mandel ask him if he got a standing ovation at his bar mitzvah.

We see Aly literally leap over her competition and then answer questions about Israeli athletes who were killed more than 20 years before she was born.

And we smile and cheer. Because, yeah, our kids are all right. Our future is in the hands of teens who are bright and talented. Charismatic and confident, yet humble and mensch-y.

Edon and Aly are proud tell the world they are Jewish. And we are proud they are, too.

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