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If you are new to ThinkingJew.com, my aim is simply to share with you meaningful thoughts (maybe 2 or 3 a month) to give you something powerful and hopefully energising and empowering to ponder upon.
7 Things To Love About Being Jewish…
So… I asked young Jews in Joburg, Durban, Cape Town and Pretoria to share with me something they love about being Jewish and I was blown away by the many beautiful ideas which they shared and which you will read below.
When I pondered these thoughts it brought to focus for me how rich and blessed I am to be Jewish. I hope that after reading through the list below you will feel the same way 😀.
So without further ado this is what some of the young Jews in SA had to say:
(By the way, for some of the answers I had multiple people saying similar points so I took the liberty of meshing the answers together as if they were written by one person for readability sake.)
1. Being part of a beautiful family
We, the Jewish people, are one large family. No matter where you are in the world, if you meet Jews there, you feel a connection, like you’re with cousins. It’s true, we don’t always agree with each other, but when it comes down to it, when our family is in trouble, no matter where they are, we rally to help them in any and every way we can and we know that they would do the same. There is something that binds us and unites us… and that’s what I love about being Jewish
– Thank you to Eden Goldenburg, Minah Mannie, Chana Swartz, Doron Levin, Michael Zeff and Avigayil Swartz
2. Learning – Questioning – Thinking – Truth seeking
I love Judaism because it encourages me to learn, think and question. We Jews don’t believe in doing things by rote, just because the society around us does them or even because the people in our shul do them. If you look in the gemora (a part of our Torah) you will see that every page is full of amazing sages who were leaders in their times and what do we read about them? We read about their investigating, their searching, their questions and all for the purpose of finding, clarifying and understanding that which is true. And that’s what I love about being Jewish!
– Thank you Josh Hazan and Natalie Spector
3. Giving me an identity
Who am I? Yes, I have a name, but is that who I am? Maybe I am my name and my age and my job or profession and where I live and the sports team that I support…? No! I don’t think that is who I am. The place I start when defining my identity is the fact that I am a Jew. Yes! Being a Jew means that there are many out there who will hate me, but I don’t care, this is who I am! And I am proud to be a part of the Jewish people… a holy people that stands for values such as loving kindness, truth and justice. A holy people with a holy mission. Being a Jew gives me an identity and that’s what I love about being Jewish!
– Thank you Stacie Samiya and Josh Levy
4. Being a part of tikun olam –
What I love about being Jewish is that I am a part of something awesome… Tikun Olam (Fixing the world). Our history reaches far, far back. And in every generation so many great Jewish men and women have sought to bring light to the world, to fix it and to elevate it. I am part of that chain, a link in our history and I too choose the goal to be a part of tikun olam, healing, fixing and elevating the world. I do this through the ‘big, idealistic’ projects and goals which I have taken on with others. I also do this through the ‘small’ choices I make each and every day when I try to bring out the best part of myself in the various situations that I find myself in. Being a part of Tikun Olam – fixing the world – is something that I love about being Jewish!
– Thank you Tovi Mirkin and Jonathan Levi
5. Torah and Israel
Because I am a Jew I automatically am blessed with two amazingly wonderful, special gifts: The first gift is the Torah, the second is the land of Israel. I relate to the Torah as an instruction manual for living. It teaches me about every aspect of life, how to bring out my light, how to connect with the transcendental. It means that I don’t have to work life out through trial and error. Everything is in it! And to me, Israel is different to every other country. It is our beautiful, holy homeland. Our only true home. Having been blessed with these gifts is a tremendous reason why I love being Jewish.
– Thank you Mathew Cohen & Sarah Goldberg
Every aspect of life is meaningful: Knowing that our Creator is with us and loving us every moment of our lives. Seeing the Divine in each and every person. Knowing that each mitzvah, each act of good that I do has eternal significance. This is what I love about being Jewish.
– Thank you Rabbi Sam Thurgood & Rabbi Samy Sandler
7. Your turn…
O.K. It’s your turn now. I want to ask you to think what you love about being Jewish. It might be that something that you just read resonated with you, or perhaps there is something else… I would be overwhelmed with joy if you would share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
But even if you don’t want to leave a comment you can still take a moment out to think what you love about being Jewish. It’s great to focus, once in a while, on how fortunate we truly are!
So let me thank you for reading this blog post. I hope you found it meaningful.
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Until next time 😊