My English teacher insists that we try not to start off essays with questions. I can’t remember the exact reason why he tells us this, but it has prevented me from starting off this blog with what I was originally intending to say: “what is the one word that can almost sum up how Jews react with one another?” But I did work that question in nicely, didn’t I?
In case you’re wondering, the answer is “community”. Community is the one word that best represents what happens when Jews get together and interact with one another. Think about it, how many times have you been in a room full of Jews, most of whom you hardly know, and you just felt at home? Plenty, right?
I went to a BBG meeting the other day (the girls division of the Jewish Youth Group BBYO), and there must have been 15+ girls there (and that wasn’t even the entire chapter. Some didn’t even come). They all greeted me warmly and spent the time trying to get to know me, and they all genuinely acted like they wanted to be my friend. In fact, they acted like we had already all been friends since forever. It was pretty awesome (and I say that because girls are usually catty and don’t get along well with the “new girl to the group”), and this whole experience got me thinking about all of the other times that I had felt at home with other Jewish people. There was the time I attended a new synagogue (actually, a few new ones, with all of the same results) and everyone greeted me with “Shabbat Shalom” and took the time to get to know me and how I had ended up at their shul, or the time I went to New York and ended up chatting up a fellow Jew about religion, etc.
It’s such an awesome thing to be a part of a community that actually acts like just that-a community. No matter where I’ve ended up in these past few months on my path of The Jewish Journey Less Taken I’ve always felt like old pals with other Jews that I have met. And that is such a great thing, isn’t it, to be a part of such a loving community when the rest of the word can feel so full of hate sometimes? And I must admit, not every religion (and yes, I realize this is generalizing) offers a feeling such as this. I was raised in a predominantly Christian household, and going to church or attending Christian youth groups (and trust me, I went to plenty of each) never felt quite as inviting as it does within the Jewish world.
My assignment for you is to go try out a new Jewish Group (such as something at the JCC, etc.) or go to a new shul and test this out. I can almost guarantee you that you’ll feel welcomed and loved, and you’ll walk out with a feeling of togetherness.
With so much love and adoration,
Kristin the Jewbie
(I would just like to add: Baruch Hashem that we are able to experience such a feeling of community among other Jewish people, because the absolute, pure awesomeness of it is truly beyond words.)