What I believe: Jewish
We’re inviting people of all faiths and spiritual paths to answer five survey questions for
What I Believe. Answers from one of our friends are posted in this blog.
What religion or spiritual path do you follow, and how did you come to follow it?
I’m Jewish. The core teachings of Judaism are in the Bible. It’s been said that the five books of Moses can be condensed to one lesson: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I was born into an observant Jewish family in Florida. I attended religious school all through my public school years and was active in our youth group. I’m still active today, attending services, observing holidays and teaching my children our faith.
What do you love about your religion/spirituality?
The history, the way everything unfolded. When my teenage son and I went to Israel, we saw where all the Bible stories took place. Jerusalem, the holy city. The mountain of Masada, where Jews were persecuted. The Western Wall, which is a very sacred place. We also saw the Sea of Galilee and other places significant to our traveling companions, who were from different faiths. My son and I connected with something there. It was like finding the end of a rainbow. You know it’s there, but finally you see it. The trip strengthened our belief, and deepened our feelings about Judaism.
How does your religion/spirituality affect your everyday life?
There are things I must do every day, such as certain prayers and dietary restrictions. They continuously remind me who I am, where my ancestors came from, and how we got here. This makes me aware of the person that I am and why. I’m not just a product of what is happening around me right now. Also, on holidays we build sukkah’s, fast, or eat certain foods, etc. Very old traditional customs are still practiced today.
Is there anything you wish were different about your religion/spirituality?
No. However, there are laws and writings in my religion that I don’t necessarily agree with. But I don’t need to agree with everything I’m taught. I’m free to make my own decisions.
What would you want others to understand or appreciate about your religion/spirituality?
I would like more people to see that Jews are mostly celebrating the rich history of overcoming adversity and remaining faithful to one’s beliefs. Also, I feel that all religions are basically teaching the same thing: We all need to be kind to each other, to live our best life, and to promote each other’s growth. All religions are the same in this way, it’s just that we all go about it differently.
New York City