Proud to Be a Jew

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By: Esther Jones

I love my Judaism. Without it, my life would not be the same. I could never envision my life without it.

When I first became interested in Judaism and started becoming frum, it was mainly because I saw it was the truth. Nothing else makes more sense to me than the truth that Judaism teaches.

It is the only religion in which there is no intermediary between you and G-d. In Judaism, there is only one G-d, and this is the foundation of our faith.

It turns the ordinary, everyday routine into something holy.

In the darkest of days, it gives me hope. Those days when you are just having a no-good-very-bad day, but then you realize that BH, G-d has given you so much. You daven or learn Torah, and suddenly everything seems a little better, and you know it will all be ok.

And there are the days when you hit rock bottom, or you have the very unfortunate experience of seeing humanity at its worst. But still, you know everything will be alright. Because through the common practices of Judaism, your soul is elevated.

This idea has encouraged me to be a better person. Doing mitzvos and learning Torah brings one closer to Hashem, and in doing so, shows clearly who one is.

I’ve learned that it’s ok to fail. That Hashem is forgiving, more than I had ever imagined.

To question everything, and to always be learning, is a foundation. This has been a saving attribute to me—to encourage me to use my brain and attain knowledge I never knew existed.

Judaism is the only religion I know of that is really actually ok with other religions. They do not condemn you to hell if you don’t believe the same thing. In fact, they do not seek out converts or really encourage them. Because it is not an easy way of life, and it is definitely not for everyone. And that is ok, because not being a Jew does not mean you are wrong. In fact, Judaism has helped me to see humanity in a whole new light. To be more sympathetic and caring toward everyone.

There is no way I could see my life without Judaism. So it was something that I chose to take on.

While in the process of becoming a Jew, they asked me, “What if something like the Holocaust happens again, G-d forbid? Would you still want to be labeled as a Jew?”

And I would. (G-d forbid anything like that should ever happen again. And may we only see peace.) Because if there’s only one life to live, then why not live it right and always be proud of who you are? Maybe I am just stubborn and proud. Holding your head high in rough times has always felt oddly satisfying to me. Perhaps I’ve just grown tired of trying to fit into the mold that society wants.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the whole world will ever really get it. The world we live in is so backward, and there are things I will truly never understand. There are some people who will always judge and try to put us down. But that’s because we are different. We don’t subscribe to the ways of the world. And that bothers some people.

But we have to continue on and never lose hope. We cannot let the darkness of this world dampen our light.

Even when you may feel like you’re not making a difference, trust me, you are. There’s always someone whose life you’re touching in some way, even if you don’t realize it. There’s a reason why we, the Jewish people, are described as being like stars. Just like the stars, each and every one of us is a wonderful and magnificent creation with a unique purpose in this world. When we work as a whole, our purpose to bring light to a dark world is attained.

And we do—in times of joy, but also in times of deep dark pain. We come together as a nation, and we are there for those in need. The connection of the Jewish people is not affected by geographic border or time or space.

We have G-d behind us, as we have had throughout history. To me, that is a huge blessing, and it is more than enough. And so, we must keep holding our heads high, working together as a community, and shining our light.

 
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Esther Jones

is a stay-at-home mom to her beautiful daughter. She enjoys writing, photography, and good coffee. The coffee part only came after she and her husband moved to Seattle 6 years ago from Montana. You can read her blog at outoftownjew.com.

Rochel Lazar