NPR

'We Believe Deeply In Lox And Bagels': What It Means To Be A Secular Jew

In his new one-man show, On the Media host Bob Garfield grapples with questions of identity and belonging. "I've been running from the religious part of my religion for my entire adult life," he says.
Bob Garfield's one-man show, Ruggedly Jewish, debuted in Philadelphia earlier this month. Source: David Waitz

For many people, the Jewish High Holidays are a time of celebration and spiritual renewal. But for those who have a more ambivalent relationship to their faith — those who might identify as culturally Jewish rather than religious — this time of year can be challenging.

Bob Garfield, co-host of , is one such person. His new one-man show, , grapples with thorny questions of identity and belonging. Why does he use the word "ruggedly"? "It's a joke," he says. " ... There is nobody who has ever met me and walked away going, 'Wow, he is a rugged Jew.' "

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR2 min readSociety
Illinois Gunman Opened Fire When He Learned He'd Lose His Job, Police Say
Shooter Gary Montez Martin, 45, wasn't legally allowed to own a gun, police say. But he never complied with a demand to relinquish his firearms.
NPR3 min readPolitics
Trump's National Emergency Sets Up Legal Fight Over Spending Authority
Does Trump have the constitutional power to ignore a congressional vote that did not provide him all the money he wanted for a Southern border wall? That issue could be decided by the Supreme Court.
NPR3 min read
Real Life Provides The Origin Story In 'Comics Will Break Your Heart'
Faith Erin Hick's sweet new YA novel is reminiscent of the real-life conflict between Batman co-creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger — and asks what happens when the next generation meets up.