A thought after listening to Dan's messages again:
Many Americans come from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. For families who have been in America for multiple generations, a distinct heritage separate from being "American" often doesn't really exist. Or at least that's how it is in my family. My brother has done some family lineage to find our English and -- to our surprise -- Irish roots. But that really has little to no influence on how we think of ourselves. So, for people with this melting pot heritage (and I suppose they could be from any country, although America certainly has a good number of mutts like us), what role does this non-heritage have in how people respond to discovering their Jewish roots?
We've talked about how, for those of us from non-denominational backgrounds, part of the allure of Jewish studies is the rich history, the tradition, the grounding in something older and larger than ourselves. But I wonder if it isn't just a time issue or a non-denominational issue. Maybe it also taps into our lack of connection to a unique ethnic culture. How can you be excited about being one of the nations when you have no strong ethnic identity? Which of the nations would you belong to?
So a mutt who grew up in a non-denominational church might be doubly susceptible to ignoring the Gentile/Jew distinction. What do you think? How do you relate to being one of the nations?