A 5,000 year old Religion. Many of the customs seem dated, and a lot of Jews do not even practice. Some are even hostile to the idea of being classified as being called Jewish. Why?
In his book This is My God, Herman Wouk lays out the foundation for Orthodox Judaism. He does this because he is an Orthodox Jew. Rabbi Harold Kushner is more liberal in his views of their shared faith in his book To Life. Underneath their separate views, though, they are still brothers under the banner of Judaism. The basic tenants are the same, regardless of what movement the Jew follows.
But what makes a Jew? Is it Lineage? Faith? What? The old saying is ask two Jews the same question, and you will get ten different answers. I was born Jewish, but not raised Jewish so my Rabbi insisted I complete the conversion process (see the post My Journey to Conversion).
I have sat in the pews of Reform, Orthodox, Sephardic, Conservative, and Reconstructionist congregations. All of them are very different, but they all share a common bond: the faith.
I studied a lot in my decision to settle with Judaism. Yes, it is part of who I am, but I wanted to make sure. I had attended a Catholic school that left me cold to Christianity because a lot seemed outdated. Even more liberal forms didn’t fit.
However, when I began reading about Judaism, something clicked. It may seem silly to most to keep Kosher. Some people even have this notion that it is all about health reasons. Perhaps the original intent was. Now, it’s about awareness. If you are aware of what you eat, something so simple, then you have just made an act Holy.
In Judaism, there are 613 Mitzvot that rule everything from food to sex to work to health care. Many people don’t even bother with these laws, feeling they no longer apply. But what about sex? Waiting a week to have sex until after the woman stops menstrating can make it that much more Holy.
There is so much that is still important to today if you just look.