Personal History Questions for Jews

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Creating A Personal History go to Personal History Questions for Jews

How many Jewish Mothers does it take to change a light bulb? "Never mind, I just sit here in the dark. I wouldn't want to bother anybody."

If you grew up Jewish here are some questions for you. Please feel free to add additional questions that would help a Jewish person write a more complete personal history.

  • Did you grow up in a Jewish or in a Gentile neighborhood?
  • Did you feel comfortable in Gentile neighborhoods?
  • Was your Jewish neighborhood a close one?
  • What languages were spoken in your Jewish neighborhood?
  • Did you only associate with other Jewish kids growing up?
  • Who were they and what are they doing today?
  • Why did your family settle in the area where you grew up?
  • Did they want to live somewhere else?
  • Being Jewish, did you feel separate from the community?
  • Did you very suffer any discrimination either in public schools or otherwise?
  • Did you ever wish you were not Jewish what may have made you feel that way?
  • How did you celebrate the various Jewish Holiday’s?
  • Which one is your favorite and why?
  • How did your family deal with the various non Jewish religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter?
  • What are your favorite Jewish foods?
  • Did your family eat “kosher”?
  • Do you do so today?
  • Describe your “Bar Mitzvah” or “Bat Mitzvah”?
  • Was there any occupations you could not go into because of your Jewish upbringing?
  • Was a “matchmaker” ever talked about in the selection of a spouse for you?
  • Did you ever know any family members married with the help of a matchmaker?
  • What domination (Orthodox, Reformed, etc) were you growing up?
  • What domination are you are present?
  • If different, why the change?
  • What is your feelings about other Jewish dominations?
  • Any remembrances on how some Jewish dominations treated other dominations?
  • Which Synagogue did you belong to as a child?
  • Do you belong to one today?
  • What is your activity in Synagogue today?
  • Did you or do you now wear any special articles of clothing?
  • Did you attend Hebrew school?
  • Can you read Hebrew now?
  • What is you attitude of the non-Jewish people?
  • Was there any particular family member that had the greatest influence on you as far as your attitude toward Judaism today?
  • What was the Sabbath like in your home? Describe in detail.
  • Have you read the Torah or any other sacred books of Judaism?
  • Any Rabbis you remember in particular and what was their influence?
  • Did you ever entertain the thought of being a Rabbi?
  • Did you ever investigate any other Jewish dominations and why?
  • Did you ever investigate any Christian dominations and why?
  • Did you ever investigate any other religions and why?
  • Did you ever attend any other the services of any other the above?
  • Describes your thoughts and feelings about your investigations.
  • Any feeling towards those who converted from Judaism to other religions?
  • Did you family change its name from the old country when they came to the US?
  • What was it?
  • Who changed it?
  • Did your family take pride in now being American Jews or did they still continue to look upon themselves as Russian Jews, Polish Jews, etc.
  • Was it easy for your ancestors to except the American culture?
  • Did your family ever talk about immigrating to Israel?
  • Do you have such thoughts? If not, why not?
  • Have you been to Israel and how did you feel being there?
  • How does having grown up in a Jewish family effect you today?
  • How would you characterize your family’s activity in Judaism as you were growing up?
  • How would characterize your family’s activity today?
  • Did it have any influence on your school activities that take place on Friday night?
  • Any relatives victims of the Holocaust?
  • Tell what you know about them and what areas they came from?
  • Any of your family past or present active in Zionism?
  • What is your attitude about the problems in the middle east?
  • How do you feel about your arab cousins
  • Other questions and notes: