The Most Important Things I Have Gained From Being Jewish
Start writing a post
Lifestyle

The Most Important Things I Have Gained From Being Jewish

"My belief is that I wasn't born into Judaism by accident, and so I needed to find ways to honor that." — Ram Dass

629
The Most Important Things I Have Gained From Being Jewish
Lizzie Grossman

I am Jewish. Although I am not very religious, Judaism has undeniably played a role in developing my identity. Being Jewish has provided me with many opportunities and experiences that have been some of my best memories, introduced me to many amazing people who play a large role in my life, and taught me some very important values that influence my life every day. Although I may not always be thinking about my religion, I definitely give Judaism credit for many of the values that have shaped me. Here are the most important things Judaism has given me.

1. Strong sense of community.

This is honestly the most valuable thing I have taken away from being Jewish. Much of my Jewish identity has been strengthened by the wonderful Jewish communities I have been a part of, such as my family, youth group, summer camp, and Brandeis, my current university, which is roughly 45 percent Jewish. As Jews, we practice as a community — we are all a family.

With every prayer I say or holiday I celebrate, my love for my religion grows because of the people surrounding me. There is just a sense of magic in the Jewish community that cannot be described. It is not necessarily due to similar beliefs or backgrounds, but just the special feelings that come from everyone praying and celebrating together, as a group. Judaism has taught me that everyone is an integral part of the Jewish community and that joyous times — as well as hard ones — are to be shared with one another.

2. Family values.

Similar to a strong sense of community, Judaism has undeniably played a role in my family's bonds. The culture and celebrations we share together are unforgettable. For instance, my extended family has a Passover seder every year. We do not take it very seriously, but it is an opportunity for all of us to be together as we reflect on the history of the story and laugh together.

In addition, Judaism has taught me a lot about my family and its history. Every time I learn more about Jewish history, I am eager to know more about my ancestors and what their role was in the Jewish community. I have done a few school projects on my family members, and as a result, their stories become a part of me. They remind me of the large network I am a part of and make me feel like I can make a difference in our community.

Me and my family at my Bat Mitzvah

3. Selflessness.

While I have flaws just like everyone, Judaism has very much helped me put myself in perspective of those less fortunate than me. A key value of Judaism is tikkun olam — repairing the world. I have participated in several community service projects over the years, and each time my appreciation for the world around me and my awareness of others grows stronger. Many of the Jewish holidays inspire me to test my selflessness. On Yom Kippur each year, I fast for the day, as many other Jews do. I do not because I feel like I have to, but because it is an opportunity to humble myself and remember that life is not always easy. I do not get any fancy rewards for performing these actions — just an unmatchable feeling that I have done my service as a Jew.


4. Going to Israel.

Both of the times I have been to Israel — with my family and on Birthright (who would not want a FREE trip to Israel for 10 days?!) remain some of my favorite memories to this day. Getting to meet so many new people, learn even more about my culture, and appreciate my homeland has been one of the most valuable experiences I could ever ask for.

5. The food!

Okay, maybe Judaism has made me more selfless (see number 3), but that does not mean I cannot appreciate all of our delicious food. There is a running joke in the Jewish community that the summary of every Jewish holiday is "They tried to get us, we won, let's eat." We just love food! Challah, matzo ball soup, falafel, latkes, bagels — being Jewish has introduced me to a wide variety of foods, and whenever one of my non-Jewish friends tries one and praises it I beam a bit. Yes world, our holidays are responsible for many of the delicious foods in the world. You're welcome.

6. One big family.

Being Jewish, I have gotten many opportunities to meet other Jews, many of whom are my best friends. It is hard to explain what makes us click with one another, but we are truly one big family. Jewish geography — a "game" in which Jews find out whether or not they have mutual Jewish friends with each other (and the answer is almost always yes)--proves that we are really all connected to one another more closely than we think. We are a small group, but huge at the same time — we all feel connected, but at the same time know that that we are part of something big. Being part of the Jewish community has provided me with a huge family — whether or not I know them personally, I know that they always have my back.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
relationships

I Didn't Know That I Would Lose My Best Friend To Her Boyfriend

I didn't know that you would stop doing the things that make you happy. The things everyone used to judge you for. You are the type of person who does things on YOUR terms and now they're on his.

3044
I Didn't Know That I Would Lose My Best Friend To Her Boyfriend
unsplash.com

As your best friend, all I ever want is for you to be happy. Because as best friends, we know exactly what makes the other happy. I know all your weird and quirky lingo. I know how much you hate certain foods and most of all, I know the things that are important to you in life.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How to Celebrate Valentine's Day Without a Valentine

You know YOU are not determined by your romantic status

7603
How to Celebrate Valentine's Day Without a Valentine
https://www.southbostontoday.com/celebrating-valentines-day-in-southie-next-thursday-of-course/

Although the most romantic and love-filled holiday is right around the corner, it's important to know that Feb.14, the middle day of the shortest month of the year, doesn't need to be determined by your current romantic status. With that being said, you can either choose to sulk over the fact that you're single or you can make the best out of Valentine's Day without even having one.

Here are a few ideas to celebrate the day:

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

7 Fun Facts About The Eiffel Tower

The iconic landmark is reinventing itself with a splashy new color.

9388
Eiffel Tower

Soon, the 2024 Summer Olympics are coming to Paris, and the Eiffel Tower will be in the spotlight.

Embedded so much into Paris's identity, the iconic landmark is no stranger to historic events and world-class gatherings over the years. It is sure to shine again.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Blue Skies Weren't Always Blue

You don't just start as the person you are meant to be; there is a journey full of ups and downs that mold a person, so this is my journey.

7456
Blue Skies Weren't Always Blue

Overall I'd love to say I grew up a happy overly enthusiastic child that was taught to love herself and be loved by everyone else, but I can't say that and I never will. My smile wasn't always as bright as it is today, but this is the story behind my smile, the story about how I got here to the happiest place I'll ever be. I'll begin at freshman year of high school.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Heart Wants what the Heart Wants

Just remember sometimes it is gonna hurt, whether we want it to or not!

9008
The Heart Wants what the Heart Wants
Where to start...... Let me start with the cliche that life throws us curveballs and what we do with it is what counts.

One day he walked into my life. UNEXPECTED! And one day he walked out!

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments