For 25-year-old Vermont state legislator Kesha Ram, life is about much more than just politics. As the daughter of a Jewish mother and a Hindu father, Ram was raised to cherish and respect both religions. Having already visited India several times, Ram, at the suggestion of her brother, recently visited Israel as part of a Taglit-Birthright trip.
While in Israel, Ram says “it’s important to see ancient spaces and to understand history where it happened.” Spending time in Israel allowed her to reconnect with her Jewish side, and also to bring some political ideas back home. In addition to learning about Israel’s use of solar energy, she would also like to see the United States adopt a voluntary service model similar to the Israel Defense Force’s.
Growing up in an interfaith family in which both religions claim her as their own (Judaism uses matrilineal descent while Hinduism uses patrilineal), has helped shape Kesha Ram into the person she is today, which is, in fact, the youngest state legislator in the country. Ram’s college rabbi attributes this to her open ear and open mind, and I believe that by being raised essentially in two cultures and two religions, she has a greater understanding about not just keeping that open mind, but accepting others’ beliefs and opinions as well.
Here at JOI, we see the adult children of intermarriage as an important part of the future of the Jewish community. 20-somethings like Kesha will help shape this future into a positive, nurturing, and welcoming Jewish community in which all sorts of Jews will be included.
No comments yet.