After finishing my Easter celebrations, I’ve come to a new realization. I like Judaism. I’m not Jewish and do not intend to convert at any point in the future, but one thing is for sure. I like Judaism. I have not read the Torah, or even the entire Bible for that matter, but those facts matter little in my newly formed opinion. My opinion all stems from a conversation I had with a friend almost six months ago.
My friend, Sanford, and I were driving to Miami, and as one must do in long car rides, we had to talk. We covered every topic you could imagine. We talked about politics, girls, the weather, our jobs, our families, and of course religion. My friend is Jewish and I am not, and hearing a different perspective on religion and the divine is something I enjoy, so this was not a subject that could be missed. At one point, in the conversation Sanford told of how he really enjoyed how when he was younger his synagogue educated all of its pupils on Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and other worldly religions. He thoroughly enjoyed this education, and felt that that was something that other religions did not offer. I agreed, but the foundation of my agreement differed from his. Judaism has something that other religions do not. Judaism is a religion that is exclusive to an ethnic group. Jewish individuals are born into a religion. Therefore the religion has a consistent stream of followers and recruiting is no longer needed. The lack of recruiting is what I like about Judaism.
In synagogues around the world they can teach about the great attributes of many religions knowing that the risk of defection is slim to none. That is a fascinating freedom that many religions lack. American Christianity definitely lacks this attribute. There always seems to be a quest to add more flock to the fold. In a time, when people are constantly being marketed and advertised to, I would like the divine to refrain from bombarding people with billboards, t-shirts, hats, bands, etc. It makes me tired. It makes me tired when reasonable people engage me in religious conversations and must preface statements with “don’t worry I’m not going to convert you.” It gets to a level where recruitment interferes thought and tolerance. This makes me sad, and frustrated.
Essentially, I hope people find something to believe in as long that belief is not focused on eradicating my own beliefs. I want people to not care about my beliefs, but know that I try to help others with them. I want them to feel like they are a “chosen one” because of their beliefs, but to also feel that I am also a “chosen one” because of my differing beliefs. Judaism may not encompass entirely how I want people to treat each other, but at least their indifference allows me the time to breath and think, instead of constantly trying to avoid the cries for assimilation.
Thus, or thus far, I like Judaism.