"You're so Jewish..."
How many times over the years have I been told that? What makes it such a dead giveaway? I've always wondered.
Is it my inflection? Is it my personal philosophies? Is it my attitude to the world at large?
What makes one so Jewish? What is the connection?
I think it truly is the soul. As Jews we are all gifted with a Jewish soul. Some people might aim to do the utmost with their Jewish soul; others are still discovering that they indeed have one; while yet others try to deny that theirs even exists...or ever did, for that matter.
I have always had a Jewish soul. I was given the opportunity to observe Yiddishkeit from close and from far over the years, given the opportunity to learn about Yiddishkeit, and given the opportunity to delve into Yiddishkeit, whether that meant day schools, seminars, higher education, synagogues, youth groups, lectures.
Back in grade 12 (twelfth grade to you Americans) I took a class "Man in Society." One of our major assignments was to write about our "Canadian Identity" while using fiction and non-fiction to help us along.
I described the immigrant experience, as my father, and later my mother lived it. I described education, as I and my brothers experienced it. I described communities and how they developed in this city.
The common theme in all these descriptions was the Jewish point of view; I found stats about the Toronto Jewish community post World War 2; I found Jewish fiction by great Jewish Canadian authors who knew, understood and perfectly depicted what life was like for Jewish immigrants; I cited biographical information about Toronto Jewish leaders.
My closing statement talked about being a Jew first and being a Canadian second. At age 17, in a public high school with a mixed, but high-proportioned number of Jews, I was strongly Jewish.
I have always sought out Jews, not because I'm biased, but because of the commonalities that we share. We are MOTs (members of the tribe) who might be different in how we choose to live our lives, but when it comes down to basics, we share a most special gift: the Torah. This binds us together, just as the "mantel" helps bind the scrolls together.
As my dear father said many years ago, "Without Hashem, without Torah, we are like lost lambs without a shepherd."
This "soul sister" is pleased to be a part of this new blog and says, "Yashar Yashar Kadimah to you all." (personally translated as "Keep reading...you're on the right path!" or even better, "Keep the faith!")