You Shall Pursue

April 8, 2014

Why Jewish Ritual? Because of Stories Like THIS

Filed under: Uncategorized — marleyweiner @ 1:30 pm

There is a beautiful series up right now on New Voices, a blog for Jewish college students to share their experiences and life lessons. In this series, writer Jourdan Stein speaks movingly of her struggles with anorexia, and how she began the long road to recovery, through the help of the rituals and community of Shabbat (Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here). Reading her words, my heart swelled with emotion, and I remembered all over again why I do this work.

Our lives, are full of challenges, every last one of us. We are none of us whole, none of us so perfectly together and self-sufficient that we can undertake the incredible challenge of a life worth living all by ourselves. At its very best, Judaism is about community, about helping those who are broken to find healing and unconditional love, about creating a system of ritual and obligation that serves as a prop when we are too weak to go on unaided.

And it is so incredibly important that when we do this work, we do it well. That when we Jews reach out to other Jews, that we do it from a place of selflessness and compassion. Because Judaism has the power to help save lives. And if we cut that message off, if we cloak it in self-righteousness and pettiness and exclusivity, we have done those who might benefit from the beauty and meaning of the Covenant a grave disservice.

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