Erica Frankel

Harlem, NYC

Why are you a Jewish educator?

I had powerful mentors and rebbes who inspired me and I see that I am able to lend my own unique strengths, talents and skills to create other opportunities for others.

When have you sojourned?

Every summer from the time I was born my family pitched a tent on a small plot of land outside of the Flathead Reservation in Arlee, Montana. I still feel like a sojourner in jewish community and jewish life. As someone who affirmatively chose to build and live this kind of community as an adult. At our best, we are choosing to sojourn at each moment.

What is your own community like?

I’ve been fortunate enough to build many of the communities I’m part of here in my own beloved neighborhood of Harlem. These are communities that are eclectic, creactive, diverse, inspiring, deeply rooted in Jewish tradition and outward facing to the world.

What does becoming a Jew mean to you?

It means affirmatively choosing to be part of a family with all of its sweetness and conflict and warmth and challenge. It means that family laying a claim to my life and how I move through the world.

Three people you’d like to invite to Shabbat lunch, and what you’d like to talk about together.

Tricia Brown, Evonne Reyner, and Merce Cunningham are in for Shabbat lunch and we’d talk about the heyday of postmodern dance in downtown New York City in the 1970s.