Friday, May 22, 2009

Why Am I Jewish?

Jack asked the question. Here's my answer in short:
Birth for a starter. I wasn't raised in a religious home, but we knew we were Jewish. I could have turned away into an American universalist. In my childhood days, most people had religion, except for the rare intermarried family.

Today no religion is more common.

I'm the type who likes to be part of something, and if I'm part of something I take it seriously. So, today I'm a Torah Jew, aka Orthodox.

It's a good question, and I'm sorry that I don't have the time and energy at the moment to give it a better answer.


Anonymous said...

"Why Am I Jewish?"
Because the spiritual soul granted to you by G-d defines you as different from the rest of humanity, belonging to this specific nation.

It gives you the potenntial to accomplish your tasks of responsibility in this physical world, as an individual and as a member of your people.

Those tasks are generally defined in Parshat Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9), i.e., the love of the universe's Creator and the implementaion of Hashem's Torah and His commandments.

Batya said...

shy, that's in theory

My sister is married to a goy and my nephew didn't have a Bar Mitzvah.

I have a very strong spiritual need/level however you want to define it. Just like some people are more musical, some people are more spiritual.

B"H, I'm a Jew and proud of it.

Keli Ata said...

My mother would often ask "Why Jewish?" whenever I would talk to her about my attraction to Judaism and desire to convert. Sadly, she died before I could give her a satisfactory answer--the desire to get close to Hashem and know and serve Him; of how wonderful it is to have a relationship with the Master of the Universe who is both beyond investigation and yet so close and intimate.

OT but since Shavuos begins this week, I wanted to post this, which was in an article written by R' Heschel Greenberg of the Buffalo Jewish Discovery Center:

"Of course, a convert to Judaism, who is prepared to accept all of Judaism’s dictates is accepted as a full member if the Jewish community.

In one important respect, the convert is superior to one who is born Jewish.

The Jew, for better or worse, is the beneficiary of generation of tradition that traces back to the Patriarchs and Matriarchs.

The convert’s connection to Judaism is entirely voluntary. There is no family tradition and no Mount Sinai hovering over his or her head that compels him or her to embrace Judaism.

It is the most free, independent and volitional commitment. In Maimonides words to a convert who experienced discrimination, “While we trace ourselves back to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, you have a direct link to the Creator.”

Batya said...

keli, thanks for sharing

I'm born Jewish, but my family wasn't religiously observant and my parents were upset when I decided to be.