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7 Reasons I am Grateful to Be a Jew

November 12, 2015 | by Debbie Gutfreund

Why I am grateful to be a Jew today.

My family and I are sitting at the Shabbos table and everyone is taking a turn describing the best part of the past week. Someone mentions a school trip. Another child speaks about a great grade on a test. My husband talks about the family outing to the library and ice cream shop. And then my youngest shouts out, "Getting the Torah!"

There is a tiny moment of silence before one of his siblings says, "That wasn't this week. It was a long time ago."

My son shakes his head, looks around the table and says, "Not true. We get the Torah every day."

And as I stare at the reflection of the Shabbos candles in the living room window, I realize he is right. We get the Torah every day. Every day we are given the gift of Judaism, and here are seven reasons why I am deeply grateful to be a Jew today.

Wisdom. It would take many lifetimes and countless mistakes to figure out the blueprint for life that the Torah gives us. It teaches us not only right from wrong but also how to keep growing and moving forward in the right direction.

Family. Judaism teaches us that our family is the top priority in life and gives us the clarity to place our relationships first. It creates a haven of safety and warmth not only for children but for parents as well.

Community. Celebrating joyous occasions together. Being there for each other in hard times. Sharing carpools and meals and conversations. Judaism gives us a beautiful, authentic community that helps us give and grow.

Israel. Every day Israel is a precious gift given to every Jew across the world. Even if we are not there, it is a spiritual place in each of our hearts. The sanctity and beauty of Jerusalem. The cities. The mountains. The streets. It is a home we all know that we can return to, and it where we direct our hopes and prayers.

Shabbos. Every week we receive a special recovery day from God. It renews our strength. Repairs our spiritual muscles. Gives us crucial perspective in our lives. It reminds us how incredible creation is and how amazing it is that God creates the world anew each day.

Miracles. God has sustained the Jewish people through countless miracles, and He continues to do this every day. I see it in the news. I feel it in my own life. Miracles are everywhere, and the Jewish nation lives on them.

Persistence. Not giving up is in our DNA. We have each received a spiritual inheritance from our grandparents and great grandparents who lived and died for their Judaism and refused to give up their values no matter what stood in their way. This gives us each a special gift: Jewish grit, the ability to persevere and the refusal to let obstacles stand in our way.

Thank You for making me a Jew today.


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