November 29, 2018
I am an Orthodox Jew because I believe in the unbroken chain of Jewish Law for the last 3,300 years.
I am a Hasidic Jew because I believe in serving God with joy and love.
I am a Haredi Jew because I believe in serving God with fierce devotion and loyalty to tradition.
I am a Modern Orthodox Jew because I believe in engaging with the world and making it a better place, while remaining true to my Judaism.
I am a Reform, Conservative, Progressive and Egalitarian Jew because I believe that Judaism must be able to adapt and be applicable to new times and new technology — but I believe that you don't have to "throw the baby out with the bathwater." And, I too wish that the nations of the world would accept me: but for who I really am — a proud and dedicated Jew.
I am a convert to Judaism because I believe in seeing the world through fresh, new eyes of wonder at discovering the truth about God, morality, creation, existence, and righteousness. Because I believe that there is always more to learn, to discover, to marvel at, and to stand in awe of.
I am an open-minded Jew because I believe in listening to other people.
I am a close-minded Jew because I believe in total fidelity and loyalty to my people, our Torah and our Holy Land. And, I believe that: "If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything."
I am an artistic Jew because I believe in creativity and using my God-given talents to fulfill my purpose and mission in life.
I am an intellectual Jew because I believe that knowledge is power; that the study of Torah brings one closer to one's full potential in every aspect — physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Knowledge is the basis for all action, faith, and change.
I am a questioning and seeking Jew because I believe that you have to ask the questions if you want to get the answers.
I am a wandering Jew because I come from a people that has been driven to the four ends of the earth — by foot, donkey, camel, boat, train and plane — and yet we always found our way back home.
I am a happy Jew because I believe that God loves me and that I belong to the greatest nation on earth. I view this not only as a great privilege, but as a tremendous responsibility to all of the other nations on earth; to be a light unto the nations in every realm.
I am a frustrated Jew because I believe that the Jewish people, myself included, and the world at large have such a long way to go; that the world is filled with far too much suffering and confusion.
But, at the end of the day, no matter what label you wish to pin on me, I am a Jew. Plain and simple. Now that is a label that I am proud to wear! And if you are a Jew, which means you wear it too, I am proud to call you my family.
Please join me, my dear Jewish brothers and sisters, in wearing our family name proudly.
Join me in loving one another no matter what the label. Let's put aside our differences and work, learn and grow together! As the famous saying goes: We have so much more that unites us than can ever divide us.
I am dedicating this essay to the victims of the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting — who proudly went to pray as Jews — on the shloshim (30th day of the mourning period); and to Yaakov Don (whose yahrtzeit was this past week), Erez Ohrbauch and Ari Fuld — who were all murdered for being proud Jews and proud Israelis; and to every Jew who has ever lost their life for the privilege of wearing our family name.