The chief goal of this work is to present a cultural interview-based narrative with Rachel.
I meet her in the inter-university forum of the youth that was held some years back. My
interview with Rachel aimed to identify some of the cultural values and beliefs about Jewish
culture. After several hours of interaction with her on the Jewish culture, I realized that the
history of Jews is extensive. The interview was insightful because it made me understand the
socio-cultural and religious significance of the Jewish culture. Moreover, several other aspects of
her culture motivated me to recognize Jewish culture. The leading, motivating factor that I
learned about the Jewish culture from Rachel was the association with Judaism.
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Reflection on Interview with Rachel
It was a pleasure and privilege to interview Rachel because her culture is one of the
oldest cultures in the history of humanity. I meet her in a certain forum that connected university
students. Rachel told me that her identity is Half-Jewish and Half-Irish. At the time of the
interview, she was staying with her parents in Brooklyn. Therefore, her affiliation is highly based
on the cultural values and beliefs of Jews. Besides, she said that the Jewish culture had educated
her many aspects of life that make her feel a “whole” human being. In that regard, all her
activities in life are guided by the recommendations and standards of the Jewish culture.
Another critical aspect that we addressed in the interview was her family’s history.
According to Rachel, her family is affiliated with the Jewish community because her father is a
Jew. However, her family had moved to Africa when the Russians started to persecute Jews. She
says that Africa is excellent, and African culture is outstanding. However, she practices Jewish
culture even when her family spent time in Africa. After the Russians stopped Jewish
persecution, her family went back to Russia and later immigrated to Brooklyn.
Moreover, Rachel claims that many historical events impacted her family. The
persecution of Jews by the Russian government was one of the events. In other words, she recalls
how her Great Uncle fought in the Spanish civil war. Throughout this war, many Jews were
persecuted. The persecution of Jews did not even consider the state of women and children.
Persecution of her Jewish culture went on for a long time living millions of Jews dead. She also
recalls an event called Pogroms that meant the persecution of Jews by Russians. The last
historical event that impacted Rachel’s family is the Holocaust that mainly affected her distant
Another essential session of my interview with Rachel was her experience when growing
up and how it affected her education. In terms of her education, she joined a Jewish summer
camp to learn elementary skills. She also went to Jewish after school program in her elementary
education. Rachel claims that joining Jewish summer camp and other Jewish school programs
affected her life. Mainly, the program affected her education because she managed to learn a lot
about Judaism. In that regard, her experience in Judaism makes Rachel embrace Jewish culture
more than Italian culture or Catholic doctrine. Besides, her experience in elementary education
affected how she defined herself. In that regard, Rachel feels more Jewish rather than being Half-Jewish and Half-Irish. The leading reason why she defines herself as Jewish is more exposure to
Jewish culture than in the Irish culture.
In terms of culture, she felt more Jewish than religious. She even did not any religious
traditions such as bar mitzvah. She appreciated Jewish holidays and attending temple services
with her friends. The experience also exposed her to Jewish food and Hebrew songs. At times,
she could eat consumer kosher food to explore Jewish eating habits. Rachel enjoyed Jewish as a
culture and not as a religion. In that regard, she never enjoyed the Passover because it was
consuming a lot of her time when she was a kid.
Rachel also claims that teachers have a lot to do to assist children in society, similar to
her background. According to the Jewish community, the main emphasis on children is “you are
what your mom is.” However, this phrase would not be favorable to Rachel. In her experience,
many people in the Jewish culture would not consider her a Jewish because her mother is an
Irish. Therefore, it is biased for the teacher to address children based on the phrase, “you are
what your mom is” (Spring 78). Rachel feels that teachers should not follow the bias definition
of the child based on his or her mother.
I also interviewed Rachel about her take on the expression of group identity. Rachel feels
that group identity has changed over time. In her experience, she did not respect group identity
when she was young. In her younger age, respect for group identity was not a big deal. However,
things have changed for Rachel. As an adult, she has more connections and reference to it now.
Another exciting part of the interview was comparing and contrasting between Jewish
and U.S cultures. One difference is that U.S culture is polite when addressing a compromising
issue. For Jewish, they say it how it is because they consider a straight talk better than politeness.
Rachel gave an example of how both cultures would respond to an issue. If a fat person wears tight jeans, an American will tell him that he looks fine. A Jew will say to the person that he
seems obese and not to wear it. In terms of solving the conflict, Jewish culture believes in
persecution, while U.S culture resolves conflict through dispute resolution methods. In terms of
respecting guests, both cultures are hospitable and adoptive.
I also wanted Rachel to address issues she likes and dislikes about her Jewish culture.
According to Rachel, one of the most wonderful elements of her culture is questioning God.
Mainly, Jews do not take the word of the Torah for granted. She also thinks that Jewish culture is
open to debate and interpretation. Another wonderful concept about her culture is that Judaism is
not strict because it encouraged her to ask questions about her religion. She thinks that her
culture is a two-sided religion where Rabbi will treat people different than what a priest would
do. However, Rachel doesn’t like how people view it as a non-Jewish, and they even don’t
consider her as a half-Jewish.
Moreover, Rachel feels that her Jewish identity is worth passing to her children. Some of
the aspects she aims passing to her children include the Jewish foods, the Jewish nature of
hospitability, and the Jewish religion of worshipping in the temple. Her plans towards passing
these values to her children include taking them to Jewish elementary education systems that
teach about the Kingdom of Judaism.
I also interviewed Rachel about life barriers in reference to the experience of other people
in her cultural diversity. Rachel claims that she never faced such life barriers. As a white woman,
she was privileged to enjoy some benefits of white people in society. She has many opportunities
and advantages in life and does not resemble Jewish. Diversity has taught her how to interact
with all races and religions. Her respect for other religions and cultures is the main strength.
However, Rachel acknowledges that she is less understanding to people who are not open to others. Also, she prefers living a society comprising mixed races to living in a culture of the
The issues of racism, prejudice, and discrimination are prevalent in society (Spring 67).
Rachel explained how they dealt with racism when her grandparents immigrate. Her
grandparents were also discriminated against by their religion, which forced them to stay quiet.
Overall, Rachel doesn’t like how the media represent her cultural identity as anti-Semitism.
From Rachel’s punchline, she has no idea on how to fit hate.
Overall, cultural knowledge is a fundamental aspect that allows people to understand the
origin and history of others. Through my interview with Rachel, I realize that Jewish culture
sustained injuries during their persecution by Russians. Mainly, her religion has an etymological
meaning that retains linkage of society through their land, a study of Jewish texts, association
with the Kingdom of Judah, Jewish history, and practice of community charity. Throughout the
Interview, Rachel demonstrated that Jewish culture has adorable beliefs and values despite the
persecution of the Russians.
Spring, Joel. Deculturalization and the Struggle for Equality: A Brief History of the Education of
Dominated Cultures in the United States (Sociocultural, Political, and Historical Studies
in Education) (8 th Ed.). Routledge. 2016. Print.