In the eighth grade I had this remarkable Jewish studies teacher. And one day he walked into the small nook in the library, our makeshift Beit Midrash, and pulled from under his arm the Talmud. And he said to us, as he set down on the table “This the Talmud. This is who we are. This is what we do. This is why we live—to argue. We interpret and we argue and we discus and then we argue some more.” He said, “there is no definite answer. We will never come to an answer. All we can do is study and learn and debate. That is what Judaism is. And we have the proof right here.” He said that god does not want us blindly, mindlessly, following religion and that in order to do that we have to keep the Torah alive. How we do that? He said, “be arguing.”
I don’t consider myself a Jew because my mother is a Jew. I don’t consider myself a Jew because I spent 12 years learning Hebrew. I don’t consider myself a Jew because I was Bat Mitzvahed. I don’t consider myself a Jew because often times I light candles and mumble a few words as I do so. I consider myself a Jew because I love to discus the Torah. I love to argue about it. Everything else is just a part but not why.
Many will disagree with me. Many will say I am not truly a Jew because I wear pants and show my elbows and don’t say the Shema everyday or say the special prayer for after using the bathroom. But that’s ok, at least for me it is. We differ in our views. I would love to have the strength and passion to commit to an orthodox lifestyle, but I don’t—someone else does.
I believe Judaism to be about questioning. I may live an extremely reformed life, but I still consider myself Jewish.
I don’t really know what brought this on but I wanted to say it. I’m proud of my religion.
Now my rant/essay thing is over.
Feel free to disagree with me.
Wait! Edit! I do know what brought this on! It was the comments’ section of John Green’s video on Religion and Gay Marriage and people always saying to me, “you’re, like, Jewish. You can’t believe in gay marriage.” But instead of telling them the above statements, I try to refrain myself from becoming a giant squid of anger.