Flickr photo by Thor

Ask A Jew: Has your religion influenced your writing?

What questions do you have about Judaism? Submit them online, or fill out the form below.

Has your religion influenced your writing in any noticeable way? If so, what would you say is the most influenced aspect?

By Neal Schindler

I think Reconstructionist Judaism, the tradition in which I was raised, has significantly informed my sense of humor, my belief in the importance of social justice, my interest in interfaith work and community, and my love of learning. I should give some credit to this progressive branch of Judaism for my involvement with SpokaneFāVS, my wonderful interfaith family, my decision to enter the field of social services, and my career in journalism, which gives me a great excuse to research topics I know nothing about and talk to people I might not otherwise meet.

Above all, I try to use humor in my writing as much as possible. It makes the process more enjoyable for me, lets me put more of myself into my work, and hopefully renders my thoughts a bit easier for readers to digest. During our recent, agonizing election cycle, one of the most effective think pieces I read — and man, were there a ton of think pieces — used irreverent humor to support powerful insights about American society. Where was this masterful essay published? Cracked.com, the online-only spawn of an erstwhile Mad magazine knockoff. And who founded Cracked, back in 1958? A Jew, of course: Sol Brodsky.

About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Scholarly Assistant Professor at Washington State University.

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