Dear Friend,

They tell the joke of two Jews on an airplane. One was a hunchbacked fellow sporting a kipppah on his head and a scraggly beard on his chin. The other man, wishing to hide his Jewishness, made sure not to be seen near the first man. At one point, the two met.

“I have a secret to tell you,” whispered the second man, “but you must promise not to tell a soul. I’m a Jew.”

“I also have a secret to tell you,” replied the first man smilingly, “I’m a hunchback.”

This week’s Torah portion is called Shemot, which literally means “names.” The Midrash tells us that one of the reasons our ancestors merited to leave Egypt was because they clung to their Hebrew names in spite of the overwhelming Egyptian culture that surrounded them.

So be proud of your Jewish identity. Use your Jewish name with pride. And even if you sometimes find yourself in an environment that doesn’t lend itself to expressing your faith, take a lesson from this week’s Torah portion and never be ashamed of whom you are.

Mendy Kaminker
on behalf of the Editorial Team