Pssst….it’s time to share your secret!

The following post was written by guest blogger Suzanne Moscovitch.  A past intern in the Outreach and Engagement department at CJA, Suzanne has been working on her project, Signed, Anonymous, since March 2011.  Here is the story behind the interactive art exhibit, which will take place this Sunday, September 25th at EM Café (5718, av du Parc, Montréal), from 6pm-9pm.

After completing my undergrad over a year ago, I was starving for a change. I had a vision of moving to a new city, meeting new friends and landing an awesome job- something that would allow me to get creative. Eventually, I made the move to Montreal, a city I’ve been in love with since I was old enough to appreciate its vibrant artistic culture. Within months of non-stop networking and exhausting my resources, I landed an internship working for outreach and engagement within the Jewish community. Question: What in the world did that even mean?! Better question: What in the world did I know about being Jewish?!

I was born and raised Jewish, but never had I attended a Jewish day school, gone to Jewish camp, or had a Bat Mitzvah. The most I could say about Judaism was that I loved getting presents on Chanukah.

I showed up for my first day of a brand new internship full of confidence… on the outside. On the inside, however, I felt like a fraud. There I was, shaking the hands of prestigious leaders in the Montreal Jewish community and holding onto one giant secret: I identify as a Jew, but I know nothing about Judaism.

I was rattled. What was I doing working for an initiative I couldn’t even relate to? Looking for comfort, I turned to my one true addiction: PostSecret. For those of you who have followed Frank Warren’s PostSecret blog for as long as I have, you are aware of the hours one can spend scrolling through people’s anonymous secrets and laughing, questioning or thinking “OMG ME TOO!”.

In 2006, Frank Warren dedicated his second PostSecret book to “every other young person making their journey from the home they were born into toward the home they will create for themselves.” Inspired by these words, I made it my goal to explore and redefine my Jewish identity in a way that would allow me to reach out to other young adults who were just as confused. How is that for outreach and engagement?

There was born Signed, Anonymous, a community art project inspired by Frank Warren’s PostSecret. I spent the next three months handing out blank postcards to friends, family, and total strangers. I asked them to anonymously share a secret that related to their Jewish identity and experiences. Participants were encouraged to get creative and use the blank postcard as their canvas. They would then mail their secret postcards to me, anonymously.

Three months later, I have received over 100 secret postcards that reveal Jewish secrets of desire, confession, belief, disbelief, regret, fear or embarrassment. The best part is: not all of them were sent in by someone Jewish!

I invite all of you to check out these secret postcards at an interactive art exhibit that will take place on Sunday, September 25th. These postcards will have you laughing, questioning and thinking “OMG ME TOO!”. The exhibit will take place at EM Café (5718, av du Parc, Montréal) from 6-9pm. Enjoy a complimentary drink, live DJ, and a chance to win free tickets to The Season – a Socalled/POP Montreal musical premier later the same night.

Wondering what a Jewish secret looks like? Check out our online album of secret postcards at www.facebook.com/signedanon

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Posted on September 23, 2011, in Arts and Culture, Community, Feel-good, Montreal and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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