How Judaism Made Me A Better Person
Start writing a post
Lifestyle

How Judaism Made Me A Better Person

You don't need religion to be a good person but it certainly doesn't hurt

145
How Judaism Made Me A Better Person
Anna Streetman

You don’t need religion to be a good person. I would be the last to argue that. However, growing up Jewish certainly didn’t do any harm.

I attribute much of how I am now to the lessons my religion taught me. Here’s a few of them.

1. It taught me compassion.

One of the biggest tenants of Judaism is compassion. We strive to be a mensch – to live a good life, do good deeds and be a good person. From a young age, I was taught core values – from a Jewish perspective. Things like giving to charity, or tzedakah, were introduced to me before I could even speak. To this day, I believe Judaism and its influence made me a better person.

2. It taught me empathy.

There was a part of Hebrew school growing up that I will never forget. It was called “Empathy in Tefillah.” During Empathy in Tefillah, we took the lessons that we learned from the Torah (our holy book, the Old Testament of the bible) and applied them to our everyday lives. We would speak about an instance where we put ourselves in somebody else’s shoes.

Growing up in a minority religion, where I was often bullied and teased by people who didn’t understand me, also helped me be more empathetic towards people. It was deeper than being able to sympathize with how somebody felt. I could actually feel it myself. Because I learned it. And I lived it.

3. It challenged me to think for myself.

Growing up, my religion was never a series of answers and commands, but a series of questions and individual thinking. In Hebrew school, we were encouraged to discuss among ourselves what being Jewish meant to us personally. Everybody had a different answer, and nobody was wrong. And as an adult, that trend continued. Everywhere I went, no matter what temple or Jewish organization, lively discussion and debate was encouraged, and all points of view were respected. There was never a “right” or “wrong” way to think – or to be Jewish.

Judaism taught me the importance of thinking for myself, instead of blindly following what everybody else said and did. It taught me how to think, not what to think. To this day, I don’t take things at face value. I think. I question.

4. It taught me hard work and perseverance.

Have you ever had to study for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah? Probably not.

I’ll go ahead and tell you: it is a lot of work. I studied for an entire year to be able to do everything I needed to do. At the age of 12, by the way. Looking back, it was the hardest thing I ever did.

Having a Bat Mitzvah, and being a part of Judaism, helped me learn that self-discipline and hard work will only ever bring you success in life.

5. It taught me the importance of family.

Judaism has tons of holidays, and they’re all vastly different. But the one thing they have the most in common? Family. Spending time in the home.

For Sukkot, we all sit around under the sukkah that we build together.

For Passover, we sit around the sedar plate as a family to celebrate our people’s exodus from Egypt.

For Rosh Hashanah, we dip apples and honey together to celebrate the sweetness of the new year – as a family.

For Yom Kippur, we go to synagogue as a family, and apologize to all those we have wronged that year, and ask for forgiveness together.

For Hanukkah, we eat latkes and applesauce and huddle around the menorah together as a family.

These countless family memories over the year have brought me nothing but joy. I feel a connection and closeness to my family. We all have this one, beautiful thing in common. Something that’s bigger and more beautiful than just us.

I’ll never forget the lessons my Judaism has taught me, and I will continue to live them for the rest of my life.

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

Where To Find The Best Coffee Drinks In America, According To A Survey

Here's the coffee shop where you should get your morning brew.

219060

Coffee, for billions of people, is one of the only things that can get us out of bed (after hitting snooze a time or two), especially in 2020. Because, if we're being honest, is there anything that beats a quality cup of coffee on those mornings when all we wanted to do is roll over and go back to sleep? The answer is no. And if you're headed to a coffee shop to pick up your caffeinated beverage, you don't want to sleep on the best coffee drinks in America.

According to LiveShopper Sassie's Coffee Project survey, when it comes to chain coffee shops, there are definitely preferred spots you'll want to hit up for your go-to order — whether you order the classic, frozen, or flavored coffee, an espresso, tea, or other. To figure out the hot spots, 1,000 coffee drinkers across the United States took to LiveShopper's mobile app, PrestoShopper, to answer various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

The Best Bagel Recipes For Every Personality Type, In Case You Need Another Excuse To Eat Carbs

I'll approve of pasta for breakfast any day, but this is more socially acceptable.

749
NBC

I've had times in my life at which I've told myself I need to cut out carbs. Those moments last about a minute or two before I start daydreaming about rice and pasta.

Bagels hold a special place in my heart — for many of my college friends and me, a bagel sandwich was the go-to breakfast after a long night of drinking. Years later, I still love to indulge in the occasional carb-filled breakfast. As much as I love putting in an UberEats order from bed, nothing beats the feeling of pulling some fresh-baked bread or pastries out of the oven.

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Survey: Which Issues Are The Most Important To You In The 2020 Election

If you're a first-time voter or voting by mail for the first time, we want to hear your story.

78176

The general election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, will decide not only the next president of the United States but also which political party controls the House of Representatives and the Senate. Young and first-time voters will play a crucial part in determining the result.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tips

Articles To Write If You're All About Saving More Money, And Waking Up A Little Bit Earlier

Get your day started right — and keep that budget tight.

215933

For all the young professionals, parents, and students out there who've been working, learning, or even teaching remote — 2020 has likely been the longest year of your life. If you didn't know (sorry), we've been locked down for over 200 days now, and chances are, you are ready for it to be OVER.

Keep Reading... Show less

Scrolling through Instagram can get stale after a while, especially if you're constantly refreshing in the hopes of finding something new and exciting. Should you be looking to add some inspiration to your timeline in the form of self-love tips, relationship advice, or love secrets, here are 11 relationship coaches you'll LOVE following.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

How Much Of A Coffee Snob You Are, Based On Where You Live

Your state may determine how picky you are about your coffee.

129774

When it comes to coffee, everyone has different criteria for what goes into their "perfect cup." Some caffeine lovers, though, are extra particular when it comes to their beloved beverage. One survey found that the state you're from (or the one you live in now) may play a part in determining how much of a coffee snob you actually are.

LiveShopper Sassie, the company behind this Coffee Project survey, received input from 1,000 coffee drinkers via their mobile app, PrestoShopper, to ask various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less

If you are a college freshman, or new to college, this is for you. If you are in a new time in life where you don't know where this change is going to take you, where you might not have your community yet, this is for you. Or even if you are stuck in a rut of everyday life where the new normal is quarantine and isolation, this is also for you.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

As Illinois Reaches Its Highest Death Toll Since June, I Urge You To Stay Home And Wear Your Mask

69 COVID-19 deaths were recorded in a twenty-four-hour period, the highest amount since June of this year.

148
Photo by Noah on Unsplash

As we are approaching colder weather, we are also approaching a spike in COVID-19 cases throughout the state of Illinois. On October 21, 2020, Illinois recorded its largest daily COVID-19 death toll since June of this year. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 69 deaths of people who contracted COVID-19 were recorded within a twenty-four-hour period, raising the state's death toll to 9,345 since the start of the pandemic.

Keep Reading... Show less

When "Mean Girls" said "In girl world, Halloween is the one time of the year where you can dress up like a total slut and no one can do or say anything about it," they were damn right. Halloween is the perfect excuse to buy that raunchy costume and show your partner that you're that B. Coming from a very single (yes, very single) 20 something-year-old, I have already got my Halloween costume on lock, and now you will too.

Not only are these 10 Halloween costumes dangerously sexy, but you can wear them in the bedroom whenever you want to give your boo a surprise, yes, year-round. Whoever said you can only dress up on Halloween is seriously disturbed.

Keep Reading... Show less

Ariana Grande released her first single called "positions" since "boyfriend" with Social House and it is a BANGER. This song is absolutely incredible and I am SURE you will agree with me once you listen.

I'm a sucker for a single with a video and that's exactly what we got. Ariana's been pretty quiet during the pandemic, and we all assumed she was working on some new music, and we were right.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Rejection Of Black Lives Matter Mural By Phoenix City Council Doesn’t Stop Gizette Knight

The Phoenix City Council rejected a proposal for a Black Lives Matter Mural in downtown Phoenix. But Gizette Knight says this is not the end.

231
Photo by Josh Olalde on Unsplash

Community organizer Gizette Knight, CEO of Reality Dreams LLC, is not giving up on the Phoenix City Council's rejection of the Black Lives Matter mural.

Keep Reading... Show less

For me, chai isn't just what I drink — it's a core part of who I am. Sure, I'll switch it up every now and then with a cup of English Breakfast, Earl Grey, rose, or Darjeeling, but I always come back to chai.

Nearly every tea lover has one tea they repeatedly drink and go back to, whether it's a daily morning ritual or an afternoon pick-me-up. One of my good friends has almost eight cups of jasmine tea every single day — she drinks more tea than water, actually.

Keep Reading... Show less

In a world where physical contact is a liability, the ease of slipping into despair and isolation has never been so tempting. Perhaps the greatest kindness we can lend to one another is reaching out to the people that meant something to us before everything changed. Here's why you should message your friend today.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments