A Jew Named Christopher

JOI’s associate executive director Paul Golin has an op-ed in today’s Jerusalem Post called “A Jew Named Christopher,” in which he looks at the Jewish community through the eyes of his unaffiliated friend and spells out some of what we at JOI have been working toward:

We need to learn who unaffiliated Jews are, find out what they might need from us, invite them to something else they’d find relevant, and then follow-up with them personally rather than dumping them on a mailing list or, worse, soliciting them for membership or donations. They need to get to know us, and we need the sensitivity not to inadvertently turn them away again.

Jewish programs are only as good as the Jewish professionals running them. To reach Jews like Christopher, we need the sort of trained army of outreach workers that Chabad has built, but have them offer countless additional paths into Jewish meaning.


  1. It took Christopher to figure out that Chabad is doing something right?

    Comment by Moshe — July 17, 2005 @ 10:51 pm

  2. Too bad the article used Christopher, who is Jewish according to Jewish law, and should have been accepted by the Jewish community [and would have been accepted in any Orthodox synagogue I’ve ever attended], to justify trying to raise Christopher’s non-Jewish children as Jews.

    …another example of taking a non-controversial example and using it for political advantage in an unrelated area.

    Comment by Marc J. — July 18, 2005 @ 9:33 am

  3. Perfect site, i like it!

    Comment by phentermine — March 20, 2007 @ 3:26 pm

  4. Hmm, A Jew named Christopher? WELL, YES, IT IS TRUE…WE DO EXIST!!! And why not, there are Christians named David :-)

    Comment by Christopher Petersen — September 5, 2009 @ 12:10 am

  5. I’m currently taking a Intro to Judaism course. My name is Chris and I was brought up Christian but may want to convert. I don’t plan to change my name even though it’s probably one of the most obvious Christian names next to Jesus. Is this a problem for a potential convert??

    Comment by Chris Cowan — July 5, 2012 @ 12:29 am

  6. First, I welcome you to the community. As to your question, while there are few Jews named Chris or Christopher, whether born Jewish or as Jews-by-choice, there are those with that name. Sure, you may be subject to questions or even unfortunate taunts by insensitive individuals but your name also reflects the path you have chosen. So wear it proudly. And if you choose to adopt a new name that reflects your new identity let it be an organic choice and not one that you are forced to take on.

    Comment by Rabbi Kerry Olitzky — July 5, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

  7. Thank you so much Rabbi Olitzky for your kind words. I do plan to convert to Judaism and will go before the Beit Din in August of 2013. I will wear my name proudly as you suggest. Shalom.

    Comment by Chris Cowan — March 12, 2013 @ 9:57 pm

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