We Have Been Chosen

by Arliene Botnick, April 29, 2017

We have been chosen.

Yes, that’s right. About one- third of our congregation has chosen us; they have chosen to join the Jewish people. And we are so blessed!

They come from all walks of life for a huge variety of reasons. They study for 30 weeks in The Jewish Information Class, learning about what it means to be Jewish. They acquire basic Hebrew skills, celebrate holidays and Shabbat with us, and then, as Ruth said to Naomi – they affirm “Your people will be my people, Your God my God”.

Some take the course and do not convert, but they have shown dedication and commitment and now have a much stronger understanding of Judaism.

Why do people join the course? Some because they have met their bashert (or besherta) their beloved, and need to understand their partner’s essence. Some have discovered their long lost Jewish roots and want to reconnect. Some are just trying to find a spiritual/community home.

Whatever the reason, those who take the JIC course become an integral and valued part of our community. They are teachers, our board members, our volunteers. Solel is enriched by their presence.

During the course, they are asked to think about (and we discuss) some very important questions; for example:

  1. Is Judaism a religion or unique People (family) or both?
  2. How can I effectively transmit to my children the traditions of Shabbat and the festivals?
  3. How does the value which Jews place on learning influence Jewish survival?
  4. How do I handle my reactions to anti-Semitism as I move from abstract to real?
  5. As a People, what are Jews doing to create a better future for all humanity?

These are just a few of the many questions that Jews by Choice are asked to contemplate.

And, since in today’s world, I’d suggest to you that at a very powerful and significant level, we are all Jews by Choice, and we need to seek out answers as well.

How do we actively choose to live our Jewish life? Do we commit ourselves to ongoing study, involvement in and support of our community? Are Shabbat and the holidays part of our lives? How would we answer the 5 questions above?

Something to think about!

Chag Sameach – see you on Shavuot, Tuesday evening, May 30th and Wednesday morning, May 31 as we “stand” together at Sinai and affirm Ruth’s words.

Your people are my people.
Your God is my God.

Filed under: Educator's Message

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