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What Is an Ideal Jewish?

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I am a Jewish Atheist. I don't believe that a g-d exists, but I do believe in the use of g-d as a figuration of human connection. What that means is that Judaism is about knowing and identifying with a history and a people. Unless you have taken the time to truly understand the simultaneously beautiful and tragic past of the Jewish people you have not understood the essence of Judaism. Cultural and religious aspects of Judaism are often seen as hallmarks of the lifestyle, yet I see them more as focal points for a larger concept of human benevolence and interrelation. G-d is an idea constructed to give people a sense of connection, clarity, hope and faith. This is a placeholder for true human connection and understanding. Once one can truly find their place among their peers, then one can achieve that hope and that stability which they would otherwise turn to g-d for. Human emotion can take the form of a spiritual connection, which is what people search for in G-d. I don’t believe that having a higher power is a part of mysticism or a part of an enigmatic, distant entity. The higher power which many Jews believe in is, in reality, the pneuma of the community. This does not negate the valid and fervent movement for a G-d centric version of Judaism. I do understand the purpose of G-d and why there are those who believe strongly in her/him. One who believes in g-d looks for a higher power through prayer and piousness rather than through the community. Judaism is all about reaching one goal—no matter which path of understanding you take to get there -- obtaining true identification with a community and a history. In doing so, one is reaching a more enlightened, spiritual level -- a level which many personify as g-d. Achieving this higher level of existence does not come by naturally, one must ready and prepare themselves for it. Jewish tradition, culture and prayer can allow us to be prepared. Tradition and culture are the product of decades of Jewish history. Having a common past with roughly 14.4 million other human beings in the world gives a sense of greater purpose-- as if there is a higher power that emanates from our Jewish kehillah (community) which stems from our historical past. That power allows us to grasp at what it means to penetrate the superficial veil of the world and find a true, deep connection to people. This is why it is of utmost importance to comprehend Jewish history. Also, by abiding by the mitzvot and by striving to be a good human being in accordance with the teachings of Tanakh, we are deepening our and our peers’ capacity for love and thus our readiness to connect with others on a spiritual level. An ideal Jew is someone who commits themselves to this journey of tikkun olam and of following the mitzvot. They strive to transition from their accustomed lifestyle to an enlightened way of living in which they can truly connect with others and as a byproduct receive hope, clarity, and stability in their lives.

I believe I am an ideal Jew. As a said before, an ideal Jew is someone who has committed themselves to the journey of Judaism, not necessarily someone who exemplifies a concrete ideal of perfection or checks off specific boxes on a checklist. I have come to Alexander Muss High, that is the first step in my journey to an understanding of Judaism. In learning Jewish History, I am actively taking strides to achieve a higher level of human understanding and connection. History is one of the crucial aspects of the Jewish lifestyle because it unifies people, creating greater possibility for relationships to build and kehillah to form. With this action, I am an Ideal Jew. Another factor which classifies me as an ideal Jew is that I affiliate myself strongly with the land of Israel even though I don’t physically live there. I agree with cultural Zionist Ahad Haam in that it is unrealistic for all the Jews to live in Israel. Nevertheless, they should still feel an inalienable connection with the land through it acting as a cultural beacon. This has two major benefits in the grand scheme of Judaism. One, having a single land where the Jews have a safe haven amplifies the bonds between Jews and creates a sense of unification. Two, although Israel is a land and not a human being, loving Israel inside-out for its history and innermost workings, prepares one’s heart for connection with other people. Therefore, support and admiration for the land of our ancestors is essential to the internalization of Judaism. I plan to practice this concept in my life by joining the IDF. Joining the IDF has been in the back of my mind since I had first heard about it. The idea has reverberated in my head, especially during my last visit to Israel, but it was never more than a far-fetched dream, divorced from reality. Since coming on this trip, it has become abundantly clear

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