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Not them anymore, but us.

November 24, 2016 23:05

Hi there,

I have noticed lately that I do not say 'them' or 'you' anymore when talking about the Jews, I say 'us', 'we' and 'I'. It's wonderful. Below is what I wrote for 'Our Congregation', our community newsletter.

Beauty, Peace and Responsibility: Choosing a Life as a Jew.

I first entered BSS about one and a half years ago. After a long and rather painful quest I had finally found the right place. Not too long after that I met with Rabbi Altshuler and through his support and teaching I knew that my wonderful and exciting journey towards becoming a fully-fledged Jewess had formally begun. Since then, I have made many new friends who have all asked me: ‘Why Judaism?’ I feel I have not yet given a proper response to this question. I would sum up my ever-growing love for Judaism with three words; beauty, peace and responsibility. In these words fit many, if not all, aspects of Judaism that touch me the most.

Judaism teaches us responsibility. While many faiths focus a great deal on the afterlife, the tragedy of the human condition that we are all born sinners, or that we are subjects in a rather chaotic world, Judaism emphasizes life above all, and is a true monotheistic religion. The consequences of this are that there is order and purpose in the world, instilled by a one and only omnipotent and omniscient God, making all human beings equal. We are not born sinners and we are not hopeless. We cannot be redeemed through our belief in anyone but only through responsibility. We are each responsible for our own beings; how we decide to live our life and how we treat others. The notion that ‘we were made in God’s image’ suggest that the responsibilities are not there to constrain us but rather to enable us to know morality, to choose good from bad and to be ‘a light unto the nations’.

With taking responsibility comes peace. To me, Judaism is the religion of peace; inner peace and peace between people. The strong focus on peace within the family, community and with God moves me. For example, I know of no other faith that places such emphasis on the human responsibility to ask for and to grant forgiveness, in other words, the ability to make peace. This is how we celebrate our new year! We spend a seventh of our year being reminded that after ‘God saw what he had made and it was good…’ he rested. So when we celebrate Shabbat we celebrate the goodness and wisdom of peace, and Shabbat is the most holy day of them all.

With peace comes beauty. To take the gift of Shabbat and share in its meaning when you stop and pull back from everyday duties and habits in order to take delight in your family, community, Torah and in nature is truly beautiful. Being able to see the beauty and the holy in the mundane is a deep value in Jewish thought. Once one can see the world a bit more through those eyes, oh how the very good will become almost overwhelmingly beautiful and precious.

So there it is, put briefly, the answer to your question. I choose Judaism because I believe that this is the most beautiful way to live one’s life.

Shalom and all the best,

Sara Elin

Ruth, probably the most famous convert to Judaism said to her mother-in-law, Naomi... "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me."

November 24, 2016 23:05

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