November 8, 2015
On Day 4, I wrote about how the JWRP experience is oozing with confident, beautiful women who are comfortable in their own skin. While I certainly have my insecurities and probably always will, being totally comfortable in my own skin – including my own way of bringing Jewish customs and traditions into my family – is a big part of the end goal. The 10,000 feet goal? Leading a more meaningful and spiritual life with stronger connections to my family and my community, and being a good Jewish Mensch. A little too long for a bumper sticker, but it works for me.
So, on Shabbat (typically the day of rest, but today two hundred minds were working overtime with all the inspiring content coming our way), when we explored the Jewish principles of not judging another person until you’ve come to their way, not being about all or nothing, and that it’s better to know and not do, than not to know, it all started to come full circle – back to my Day 1 blog post about being “Joyously Jewish.” In that first blog, I described how I related to that term, creatively coined by one of our trip leaders, Susan H. For me, my relationship with Judaism and how I choose to live a Jewish life is not about a label that describes “how Jewish” I am (though there are many labels to choose from!). And based on what I learned on this Shabbat, my thinking is right on track. In my gut, I know that my and my family’s Jewish journey is not for anyone else to judge. But it did feel pretty great to know this: Judging simply isn’t the Jewish way.
And I can pretty much guarantee I was not the only woman in the room who did a silent cheer in her head when Adrienne G. uttered the words “Judaism is not all or nothing.” Again, I don’t think I should even need the confirmation or reassurance from a lecture (not even one from Adrienne G.), but it was pretty powerful to know that my trying and my being open to learning and growing is what’s really important.
If G-d is watching (and I’m told He is), He sees that I am not only on the ladder headed up, I’m doing so with an open mind and heart. With an appetite to learn and grow both spiritually and intellectually. With a genuine curiosity. And with a pretty lofty end goal in mind.
It’s my Jewish journey and I’m proud of it.