• Utah’s thriving religious communities exist right under our noses
When it came time to select a topic for my enterprise story, I didn’t have much of a struggle. I set out to write the story that I wanted to read.
I’m part of the local Jewish community, and I’ve spent years feeling like an outsider here in Utah, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the accompanying culture is the norm. It occurred to me that if I’m feeling this way, then other people from other faiths must be feeling those same pressures.
I sent some emails. I immediately heard back from Rev. Martin Diaz, who arranged for me to go meet him downtown at the beautiful Cathedral of the Madeline. Having never been to a Catholic church before, especially not one that large, it was somewhat of an intimidating experience walking through those big, ornate doors. However, speaking to Diaz made that all go away. He is a warm, kindly man, and I really appreciated the opportunity to talk with him.
Getting in touch with other sources proved to be somewhat difficult. As part of this project, I really wanted to speak with Rabbi Avremi Zippel, because he is Utah’s only rabbi who was born and raised here. He is a rabbi with Chabad Lubavitch of Utah, which is not my synagogue, so I was really looking forward to the opportunity to get to pick his brain. However, it ultimately fell through, since he wasn’t available to speak with me before my deadline.
However, Elana Fauth came through, and I was thrilled to have an in-person conversation with her, where she provided some really valuable insights.
One of the challenges of my writing was attempting to navigate how to write about Judaism for a gentile audience. One would think that I would be better at that, having lived in Utah for most of my life, but trying to communicate about my religion is something that I’m still learning how to do. I have so much to say, and I often don’t even know where to begin.
Through writing this story, I learned a great deal about the different faiths that exist here in Utah. But perhaps more importantly, I have helped to shed light on something that isn’t talked about very much. Hopefully, my piece will inspire others to reach out and start having those conversations.
I am from Sandy, Utah, and I currently live at home with my wonderfully supportive family. After graduating from Alta High School in 2020, I came to the University of Utah to study journalism, with the ultimate goal of becoming an investigative reporter.
In addition to my work in journalism, I have a background in musical theater, which I pursued for a number of years before starting my university work. I was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Utah High School Musical Theatre Awards for my role as the Earthworm in “James and the Giant Peach.”
In my spare time, I enjoy watching “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and engaging in discussions about pop culture.