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Reform Magazine | July 13, 2024

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I am… an irreligious Jew - Reform Magazine

I am… an irreligious Jew

Rio Goldhammer considers his identity

This photo was taken at the soundcheck to my band 1919’s gig at the Dublin Castle in Camden. I became something of a rebel in my teenage years and was drawn to punk and metal, and though the former has made more of a lasting impact in my creative output, there was a special importance for some bands in the latter category: KISS, Twisted Sister… Not only larger than life, but they looked like me too.

I grew up about as oblivious to Judaism as was possible with a name like Goldhammer. I attended the nearest primary school to where I lived as a child, a C of E school round the corner from my grandfather’s house in North Yorkshire. He was a Polish Jew born in 1933. As my brother and I were from a family where my mother was the lone parent, my grandfather was the main patriarchal figure…

Rio Goldhammer lives in Leeds and is a contributor to What Does a Jew Look like? The book is edited by Keith Kahn-Harris and Robert Stothard and was published in April by Five Leaves Publications (£20 hardback).

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This is an extract from an article published in the May 2022 edition of Reform

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