An American journalist named Ben Harris, who works for Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), is traveling the world in search of stories about Jews in their various communities. This lively interview with Harris, the "Wandering Jew", about his travels and traveling, was done mostly by email, with two conversations via webcam on Skype. When this writer spoke to Harris off the record for background, he was in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency offices in New York City, but the reported interview via email comes mostly while he was abroad.
Harris reports in his blog about getting the assignment:
"Imagine this: Your boss calls you up one day. He tells you he wants to send you on a trip of many months, pretty much anywhere you want to go to write about ... well, pretty much anything you want to write about. You will be blogging, making videos, Twittering, and writing that old standby, the feature story. Starting now, he says, you are to spend your days scrounging up great stories of Jewish life and dreaming up interesting ways to report them around the world. Amazing, right?
"That's more or less the genesis of The Wandering Jew, a new JTA project that will take me across Europe and North America in the coming months, searching out stories that illuminate the many ways people express themselves Jewishly. Along the way, we'll hopefully shed some light on some larger themes of Jewish life in these early years of the 21st century."