Monday, April 20, 2009

Hot and Heavy, topic that is

Ok, I'm sure that what I am going to write about will stir up some controversy, just writing the title alone made me think twice. But I decided to go with it. The controversy that could result is just a by-product, NOT the purpose of this post. But I really feel like I need to get these thoughts I am having off my chest. That IS a reason that I started this blog.

Religion. That's what I want to talk about. And not just my religion. Which is why I think I might offend some people even though it is NOT at all my intention.

I have been reading other blogs on various topics that openly declare their faith. I think that is great. Talking and sharing about faith and beliefs help make up a person's essence and helps define who they are. For me, that is a reason to read blogs; I like reading about other people and learning new things. Also, I am nosy. I like glimpses into other people's worlds and their belief system is part of that.

However, what I don't understand or "get" is why other religions feel the need to make others believe the same way as they do. Why is my faith not as "good" as yours? Why do I have to be exactly like you? Diversity, including the fact that people practice many religions, are reasons to promote tolerance. Have good values. Live a moral life. When I speak about Judaism (to people who are not Jewish) it is not to tell people that they should be like me or that my way is the ONLY way. It is to educate and show that there is another way that people believe in G-D. I think it is important to be mindful that there are many belief systems that exist in the world and many ways to have a close relationship with G-D.

I chose to live the lifestyle of a religious Jew. I am not religious because I grew up that way or because it was the only lifestyle I knew. I had to make some hard choices that still continue to have consequences throughout my life. But I felt that I needed to live this way ( keep kosher, keep shabbos, etc.) in order to have the relationship with G-D that I wanted and needed. Maybe my background makes me too open-minded. I grew up in a small town where I was pretty much the only Jewish person in my grade. Passover? What's that? Chanukah, there was a little more exposure to because X-mas is around that time. I remember standing in front my class and telling everyone about these holidays and more. And not one time was I ever teased about being Jewish. I was teased about plenty of other things (I am very short-and my maiden name was Elfman, need I say more?). But I don't have any recollection of anyone making a rude comment about not having the same belief system as everyone else.

Another situation occurred recently. During this Pesach (Passover) holiday we are allowed to cook (unlike the Sabbath). However, our oven has an automatic shut-off after 12 hours and the holiday days were 2 days long. So after asking a Rabbi, we are allowed to get a non-Jew to turn on our oven. I asked my friend (love you E!) and she came over and turned on the oven. Well, she mentioned it to one of her relatives and he made a comment about how I am sending her to hell instead of me. And at first I didn't get it. What? Then I realized that he thinks that we consider everyone the same. And that is not true. I would never ask someone to do something that is wrong morally or ethically, or to do something that I would not do myself. But E had no obligation not to cook because she isn't Jewish. And she is not going to hell just because she is not Jewish. That is the obvious difference-we don't believe that everyone is supposed to be Jewish.

Of course, I am not any sort of authority on Jewish matters, so please correct me if I am wrong. I am just speaking my opinion and what I know to be true in my own life. Ok, getting off my soapbox. I hope I made sense. Lots of different viewpoints out there-Let me know what you think!


Orah said...

I think it is well said. (And I assume that means your oven does not have a shabbos mode).

Michelle said...

Look at your new blog! I love it. Much easier to read and so excited to see pics of the girls! As for the post, I think diversity rocks and I am proud that you feel that way too. As for the people that feel like we all have to be like them, well, they are probably the same people that feel that a box of crayons should only contain one color. I say, one color is BORING! By the way, did you see the Hallmark movie last Sunday about the Polish Christian woman who saved approx 2,500 Jewish children during the Holocaust? Bawled my eyes out through the entire thing...but it was really good! Your post made me think of it, because she was able to look past labels and see the beauty and preciousness of the individual human spirit.

mom said...

There will always be close minded people and open minded people. However, you will never be able to explain anything to close minded and the open minded see and understand because they are open minded.
This new template is not bad - you always liked brown and the white lettering is easy to read especially for your OLD mom.