Boaz Yakin has been blog­ging here all week for JBC and MJL. Edi­tor’s Note: The views expressed by Vis­it­ing Scribes are their own.

Hey, I have a ques­tion for you: How impor­tant is it for you to iden­ti­fy as a Jew? As a lib­er­al or con­ser­v­a­tive one? As a Zion­ist or anti-Zion­ist? As reli­gious or sec­u­lar? How impor­tant to you is your trib­al iden­ti­fi­ca­tion? How much room does it inhab­it in your psy­che? How much pow­er does it hold in those parts of your mind that employ lan­guage and struc­ture and iconog­ra­phy to help you sit­u­ate your­self in the moment and pro­vide you with a map, a com­pass, a barom­e­ter, so that you might feel you know who and where you are at any giv­en point in time? Do you ques­tion it much, or do you sim­ply accept it as a use­ful base from which to oper­ate? And speak­ing of use­ful­ness, how’s it work­ing for you? Is it help­ing you? Bol­ster­ing your strength, both inner and out­er, aid­ing you in achiev­ing warmth and inti­ma­cy and con­nec­tion in your per­son­al rela­tion­ships, allow­ing you to live your life as ful­ly as pos­si­ble? Or is it hurt­ing you? Giv­ing you some­thing easy and pre-fab­ri­cat­ed to fall back on and iden­ti­fy with rather than mak­ing an effort to expand your­self out­ward, lim­it­ing your rela­tion­ships, cir­cum­scrib­ing your life? Is it just a use­ful or unuse­ful label to stick on your­self, or is it much more than a label, an entire ecosys­tem of biol­o­gy and behav­ior both born and bred that com­pris­es what makes you you as tru­ly as the par­tic­u­lar com­po­si­tion of atoms into mol­e­cules into cells etc etc etc that define your shape, as muta­ble and imper­ma­nent as that might be? Is it a com­fort­able niche to sit it, because nich­es are com­fort­able, even when they might sub­ject you to all man­ner of tor­ture and afflic­tion, because despite all that, noth­ing is less com­fort­able than stand­ing in the mid­dle of a vast noth­ing­ness with no land­marks or archi­tec­ture to give you a sense of place or belong­ing?

I’m ask­ing you this — but it’s actu­al­ly a ques­tion that, on the occa­sion that I think of myself as a Jew, which occurs often enough, I tend to ask myself. And I can’t say I’ve come up with any kind of defin­i­tive answer for it, or believe that I ever will.

Boaz Yakin is a screen­writer and film direc­tor based in New York City. Yakin stud­ied film­mak­ing at New York City Col­lege and New York University.

Boaz Yakin is a screen­writer and film direc­tor based in New York City. Yakin stud­ied film­mak­ing at New York City Col­lege and New York Uni­ver­si­ty. As a pro­duc­er he has been involved in bring­ing projects as diverse as Hos­tel and the award-win­ning Bom­bay Beach to the screen. His most recent graph­ic nov­el, Jerusalem: A Fam­i­ly Por­trait, illus­trat­ed by Nick Bertozzi,will be pub­lished lat­er this month.