Creating Our Future
You would imagine, for a Jew, living in Israel, being Jewish is a non-issue. Israel, the birthplace of our ancestors, the land they walked upon, lived out our biblical stories – just breathe the air, feast your eyes on the scenery and tread upon the land. You speak and read the newspapers in Hebrew, the street signs are the names of heroes, biblical characters, famous sages and rabbis; your kids go to school, study our history and the bible, learn the meaning of the holidays; work stops on Shabbat and holy days.
One Friday, preparing dinner for my family, I came to the strange realization, that if being Jewish, carrying on our traditions, being an integral part of our history and living by Jewish values are critical to me, then educating my family is MY responsibility. There’s no one out there who will make it happen; living here is not enough. It’s not the language we speak, the scenery, the schools or the calendar – none of this can instill a sense of connection, a bonding to the Jewish people. What creates a Jewish child, is how we choose to be parents, how we live, celebrate tradition, the stories we tell, the atmosphere we create in our homes, the bringing together of family, encouragement to participate, foster dialogue, share feelings and ideas – all this and more – are the necessary elements for the creation of a committed individual, for the continuation of Jewish peoplehood. In the words of John Schaar, futurist, “The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination.”