Ste­fanie Per­vos Breg­man is the edi­tor of the anthol­o­gy Liv­ing Jew­ish­ly: A Snap­shot of a Gen­er­a­tion. Ste­fanie, along with Liv­ing Jew­ish­ly con­trib­u­tors Rab­bi Jason Miller, Riv­ka Neho­rai, and Rachel Wright will be blog­ging here all week for Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and MyJew­ish­Learn­ing.

As a Jew­ish blog­ger and edi­tor, I always say that the peri­od lead­ing up to Jew­ish Book Month is one of my favorite times of the year. So many books come across my desk for review — I only wish I had the time to read them all. Each author, each new book, is not just a poten­tial arti­cle for my mag­a­zine or blog post. To me, every author — whether they write fic­tion or non-fic­tion— is a sto­ry­teller, adding their own piece to our col­lec­tive Jew­ish sto­ry.

This year the tables have turned, and I’m the one hop­ing and wish­ing that Jew­ish edi­tors and writ­ers will choose my book from among the great pile for review — the thought makes me feel proud, hum­ble and fright­ened all at once.

In putting togeth­er my new anthol­o­gy, Liv­ing Jew­ish­ly: A Snap­shot of a Gen­er­a­tion, I hoped to be a sto­ry­teller as well. In the Jew­ish world, engag­ing 20- and 30-some­things is a hot but­ton issue — ques­tions like How do we get young Jews to feel con­nect­ed to Israel? To affil­i­ate with tra­di­tion­al Jew­ish insti­tu­tions? To care about Jew­ish con­ti­nu­ity, rit­u­al and tra­di­tion?’ float around wait­ing to be answered.

As a mem­ber of this elu­sive gen­er­a­tion myself, I live and breathe these ques­tions in my per­son­al life and as a Jew­ish pro­fes­sion­al. As I recent­ly com­plet­ed my master’s degree in Jew­ish pro­fes­sion­al stud­ies, I became deter­mined to tell the sto­ry of my gen­er­a­tion.

To get start­ed, I sent out a call for sto­ries to my peers:

Are you a Jew­ish 20- or 30-some­thing with a sto­ry to tell? Do you want to be part of a col­lec­tion of voic­es that togeth­er tell the unique sto­ry of our gen­er­a­tion? 

With­in hours, my email box was flood­ed. I received close to 50 sub­mis­sions — all remark­able, rich and more diverse than I could have ever imagined. 

In Liv­ing Jew­ish­ly, I put these essays togeth­er to cre­ate a win­dow into our Jew­ish lives and iden­ti­ties. Each essay is beau­ti­ful, unique, bru­tal­ly hon­est and reveal­ing. In truth, it is my con­trib­u­tors who are the real sto­ry­tellers — with­out them, the sto­ry, the pic­ture, would not be complete.

I often think about what it means to real­ly be a sto­ry­teller. To me, this is not a title to be tak­en light­ly. With it comes cer­tain respon­si­bil­i­ty, not just to inform, but to do so art­ful­ly, shed­ding light on top­ics that may oth­er­wise have been left untold. 

While I don’t think I’ve solved the mys­tery of my gen­er­a­tion, I do have some insights into the types of sto­ries we want to tell. How­ev­er it is that we express our­selves Jew­ish­ly, I’m cer­tain that every Jew­ish 20- or 30-some­thing has an inter­est­ing sto­ry to tell — and maybe all we need is the oppor­tu­ni­ty to tell it.

Check back all week for more from Liv­ing Jew­ish­ly’s con­trib­u­tors and vis­it the book’s offi­cial web­site here

Ste­fanie Per­vos Breg­man is the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Direc­tor at the Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tion of Met­ro­pol­i­tan Chica­go, and found­ing edi­tor of Oy!Chicago. Ste­fanie earned her Bach­e­lor of Arts in Jour­nal­ism from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin-Madi­son and her Mas­ter’s Degree in Jew­ish Pro­fes­sion­al Stud­ies from the Sper­tus Insti­tute of Jew­ish Stud­ies. Ste­fanie and her hus­band Michael live in Chica­go with their bichon poo­dle, Bialy.